The past few days has witnessed President Edgar Lungu making
overtures of how humble and ‘forgiving’
he is. He told a group of ‘clergy’ in the Eastern Province City
of Chipata two days ago of how he has
come to a full realisation that politics and religion are
conjoined twins which cannot be separated. He sought for
‘forgiveness’ for having thought otherwise in the past.
It was not immediately known whether Lungu was advancing a
thinly veiled apology to the Catholic
Bishops, who he earlier in the year disparaged as ‘retarded in
their own minds’, for suggesting that there was tension in the
Nation, after he sent hundreds of troops to raid Zambia’s
biggest opposition UPND party leader’s family residence, in a
Lusaka East suburban sprawl.
A little later on at his usual stage managed and impromptu
Airport apron red carpet press conferences
with surrogate media, Mr Lungu cajoled his former Cabinet
Minister Mr Chishimba Kambwili not to fight
him because he had a “teeth and tongue” symbiotic relationship
with him. Kambwili has been fiercely
attacking Lungu over direct involvement in massive corruption
in his Government. By press time Chishimba
had not yet reacted to Lungu’s extended olive branch gesture.
A group calling itself ‘christians for Lungu’ comprising of
mostly Mr Lungu’s tribesmen and surrogates,
conducts an annual prayer and ‘reconciliation’ festival where
the ruling party supporters and religious zealots meet on a
common turf to thank God for blessing Zambia with the
Presidency of Mr Edgar Lungu.
It is worthy noting though that nearly two months ago, a
religious thanks giving prayer conference, that was organised
by a cross section of clergymen to thank God for the peaceful
resolution of the political crisis over the detention of Mr
Hichilema by Mr Lungu, was denied a police permit to offer
prayers to God. The Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross, the
venue of the Thanks giving service was cordoned off by
hundreds of troops, some mounted on horseback, armoured
vehicles and others with bomb and drug
detecting sniffer dogs.
Mr Hichilema has made a public declaration that he has forgiven
his jailers and tormentors. This is perhaps what is missing in
the whole equation. A public declaration by Mr. Lungu that he
is willing to reconcile with Mr. Hichilema. That will be more
meaningful than only reach out to what appears to be the
immediate and urgent threat of intraparty corruption
accusations, and rivalry between his former Cabinet Minister.
In Mr Lungu’s annual holy and humble pilgrimage of October,
anything is possible.