By Chimwemwe Mwanza
Self-deception is defined as the act of lying to oneself or making yourself to believe something that isn’t true. There is absolutely no wrong in deceiving oneself, except it becomes problematic when individuals begin to twist facts in their pursuit to achieve a narrow agenda.
More often than not, detachment from reality – which is a culmination of self-deception does have consequences. For context, nothing reminds more of this analogy than this chant ‘Alebwelelapo’ adopted by some party zealots in the build-up to last year’s Presidential elections. As tears flowed in the aftermath of results, the biggest lesson from the polls was that it is harder to ignore the reality or collective will of a disgruntled people. Which is why it boggles the mind that most politicians still fail to grasp the exact moment when the electorate would have abandoned them until, they are voted out of office.
It is nothing but an insulation from society that makes our leaders tone deaf to reality. To the point, the timing of the tweet by Musa Mwenye SC in which he advised government to ignore its praise singers – some of whom are self-appointed, could not be more appropriate. This advice from an eminent jurist recently appointed by the President to chair the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is sobering. What prompted this tweet though is still a mystery but this coming from an individual that is enmeshed in the state’s machinery in the fight against corruption could well be construed for a tacit attack on government’s uncomfortable proximity to lies.
So why unleash such a loaded message when a simple drive to State House and deliver this to the Head of State in person could have been a better option? Mwenye after all and by virtue of his position as ACC chairperson has unfiltered access to the President. Could it be that the mighty walls of Jericho have suddenly been erected at State House barring access to the President or that the proverbial element of self-deception is now cementing its roots in this new dispensation? Is this tweet reflective of whispers emanating from those whose reality has just dawned that all politicians have feet of clay?
A political heist unfolding in broad daylight
It is a fact that the elephant in the room is the choreographed event that led to the postponement of the Kwacha and Kabushi bye-elections. That government’s nose has been bloodied by two scathing judgements that paved way for Bowman Lusambo and Joseph Malanji to re-contest their annulled seats and the second – the High Court’s postponement of the two bye-elections is a tacit rebuke to Judicial overreach by the state-controlled Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ). And the fact is that machinations to steal these two seats from the opposition are becoming all too naked to the public.
The first stage in setting the motion to steal required the state to jettison ECZ Chief Electoral Officer Kryticuos Nshindano from his position. This execution was swift with some electoral commissioners following him through the exit door. With this goal achieved, the leaderless ECZ is now being remote-controlled. By whom is anybody’s guess? What is certain though is that instructions were delivered to the electoral body to reject Lusambo and Malanji’s submissions way ahead of nomination day. To be more candid, this electoral abuse goes against the political chicanery that the youths who queued up in the wee hours of 12 August 2021 voted against.
The Constitutional Court’s judgement allowing the duo to re-contest their seats was unambiguous. There is no need for the state to gaslight its citizenry under the guise of non-existent lacunas in the Constitution. Surely, how can this Constitution work when those entrusted to uphold seem readily prepared to break it? Even more puzzling is the government’s obduracy to conceding defeat to what is otherwise a straightforward case. These machinations are nothing but a brazen attempt at a political heist – in broad day light for that matter.
The fact that Lusambo and Malanji are persons of interest in the state’s on-going fight against graft or that they belong to a political party that is tainted with corruption is no justification to robbing them of their right to justice. In the words of the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, ‘If you are neutral in situations of injustice, then you have chosen the side of the oppressor,’ period.
Back to Mwenye, his tweet also serves an apt reminder for sycophants to guard against blind loyalty.