By Munshya Wa Munshya
The values of our democracy demand upon us to react against vile when it exhibits itself. The values of our democracy expect us to foresee evil ahead of time and retort against it before it manifests itself. Recently, there have been some calls among the ruling party cadres to request President Lungu to extend his rule to 7 years, or something to that effect. Sometimes these requests do not seem to make sense at all. Some have interpreted them to mean that parliament must amend the constitution to extend presidential terms from 5 years to 7 years. Zambians have the freedom to express themselves and it is no wonder that a low ranking ruling party official can call the press to order and blurb any stuff. But if some people have the freedom to call for an extension of terms, we all must exercise the same power to respond in kind to those machinations. There can never be anything more serious than to ensure that cadres hear it from all well-meaning Zambians: debates about eroding our constitutional liberties will not be allowed, it will not be tolerated. Not now, not ever. President Lungu received overwhelming mandates from the Zambian people: twice. This is a feat that very few people will ever meet. Mr. Lungu’s election in both 2015 and 2016 shows the faith that Zambians have in this leader. But this leader must not allow people to deceive him into thinking that the past elections are a blank cheque for him to come up with all sorts of stories about extending the mandates. I appeal to the President to show direction in this matter and curtail all manner of debate that have the potential to inflame tensions. It is absolutely ridiculous for this head of state to think that Zambians would ever think of creating a wamuyaya in him. Zambians fought Kaunda’s dictatorship and they came together en masse to demand for democratic reform in 1991. What Zambians did in 1991, they did again in 2001 when cadres started advocating for a third term. The same spirit of democracy among Zambians resident in them since 1964, is the same spirit they will use now and in future to fight ridiculous Patriotic Front supporters beginning to push for a third term or is it to push a 7-year extension of President Lungu’s tenure. Winning elections in Zambia is not a licence for confusion, it is instead a call to service, to do faithful service. It is not the time to begin grandiose plans that betray democracy and the rule of law. Many people in Zambia wish they had even a day to rule Zambia. If a person has the opportunity to rule from 2015 to 2021, they had better be very grateful for all that free “manone” they are enjoying. Such a person should not give into the human temptation to overstay their welcome. Zambians are quite ruthless against dictatorships, and if this president begins showing undemocratic and dictatorial tendencies, Zambians will not take that sort of thing very kindly. That being said, I do trust the able leadership of President Lungu will see through senseless flattery and adhere to sound constitutional doctrines. President Lungu will do right to stop concentrating on what happens after 2021, and concentrate on what are the needs of the people in 2016, and the coming 2017. We need to put our brains together to do all we can to reduce the price of petrol, to have enough maize, and reduce the trade deficit. Advocacy for senseless constitution changes takes so much energy such that there will be very little oomph left in President Lungu if he were to begin entertaining little men in the PF who want to show their strength by exaggerating the level of flattery. We must end here today and wish this great republic more peace, grace and harmony. To make it very clear: Zambians will not allow any manipulation of constitutional limits. Just in case you thought cadres will get away with this, well they won’t, and the Zambians stay awake to these realities.