Standards are not cheap. The standards of treatment and care for a former Head of State in a democratic state aren’t cheap nor low. Former Zambian President Edgar C Lungu, aka ECL, may not be the best gentleman in Zambia, but he is just one of the two living former Republican Presidents. The country will do well to accord him and Rupiah Banda, aka RB, the highest standards of care and respect befitting of the office they held.
Unless there is a matter, backed by overwhelming evidence, showing that he committed a major crime, it would be in national interest to leave ECL alone and allow him to quickly organize the official office of 6th Republican President. There’s a lot of productive work awaiting him at home and abroad. He is now an elder statesman who should graduate to playing the counseling and ceremonial roles in the country, in SADC, in AU and Commonwealth the same way Mbeki, Obasanjo, Chisano or Kikwete are doing. He is still reletivly young, very energetic and very intelligent to be able to function in the new role.
I am sure there were many people that didn’t realize the importance of former President RB until we had a potentially dangerous situation in our midst before, during and after elections. RB spoke before elections and advised that the loser should accept the verdict of the people and the constitution must be obeyed. Among those that listened to this moral voice were the leaders, the voters and the army. In the aftermath of the elections, there was tension in the country, there was a group giving ECL wrong advice (as evidenced by the statement from State House declaring elections as not free and fair); there were heavily-armed soldiers deployed across the country. Once again the elderly statesman rose to the occasion to provide counsel, diffuse the tension and restore constitutionality.
RB’s energy is weaning, his age is advancing and his time is slowly running out. It’s time for ECL to grow and take up his rightful place in the community of elders. The State must assist, not disrupt, ECL to take up his position. He should even be helped to start thinking and behaving like an elder statesman. Simple assignments such as being a representative of Zambia at the funeral of FW der Klerk could be a great warm up for bigger roles in future.
Talking of lifting immunity or arrest are bad habits of yesteryears. Lessons ought to be learnt from the treatment of HMK and SMK by KK, KK by FTJ, FTJ by LPM, RB by MCS that vengeance has always been counterproductive in this country.
The Zambian people punished ECL on 12 August 2021. That’s enough punishment. He deserves no further punishment.