Editor's Comment

Presidency deserves respect

LUNGU

THE Presidency is the highest office in the land.
The office-holder, therefore, deserves respect from citizens because he bears the image of the father of the nation and the country’s ultimate diplomat.
Historically, the title of father of the nation was typically given to individuals who played an influential role in setting up the systems of governance, i.e., political system form of government, and constitution, of the country.
These could also be military leaders of a war of independence that led to the existence of the country.
With time, this title is given to every head of state given the responsibilities of office-bearers of looking after the affairs of the entire nation.
Every head of state is the vision career of a nation, and citizens look up to that person for solutions to issues affecting the nation.
In a democratic country like Zambia, not every person preferred by some sections of society can be President.
That is why Zambia subscribed to a system of elections as the basis of choosing a person who should preside over the affairs of the nation.
The person who gains the majority votes is declared President and is bestowed with the instruments of power to rule for five years.
In such an election, there is no loser because it is a game of choosing one person to rule at that particular time because Zambia cannot have two presidents at any given time.
So, those who fail to make it should accept the outcome of elections because the majority have spoken.
The wish of the majority should always be respected so that the nation moves on without any tensions.
But in Zambia, it is the opposite. Losers have tended to keep grudges against the person who was duly declared winner.
As a result, people whose preferred candidate did not make it will be casting aspersions on the duly elected President as a way of venting their frustrations.
This is despite the country having elaborate laid-down channels for aggrieved candidates such as courts.
It has now become a trend for some people to insult the President whenever their expectations are not met – economically, politically or otherwise.
It is a bad case of sour grapes that has unfortunately gotten ingrained in mainstream Zambian politics.
Insulting the head of State is legally and morally wrong. Legally it is an offence and borders on defamation. Morally, it is against African traditional values.
It must stop if Zambia is to build a great nation.
Therefore, the sentencing of Justin Chikonde, the ADEDO Party president, to two years imprisonment for defaming President Edgar Lungu will send a strong message to other people.
Magistrate Faides Hamaundu, who passed the sentence, expressed concern at the growing tendency of defaming the head of State.
She said a custodial sentence was necessary because the bad habit of defaming the President is becoming common.
The sentence is a lesson to all citizens to interrogate their conscience and question whether the path they are on is the legacy they intend to bequeath to posterity – widespread lack of sincerity and integrity, corruption, broken fibre in public institutions, laziness, scheming and other ills.
If these ills do not sit comfortably with citizens’ conscience, then they must start at individual level to inculcate right values into children and their immediate circles to start reforming and hopefully that psyching shall form the building blocks for building strong national institutional frameworks.

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