By Ngobola Cengelo Muyembe
We have just elected our 7th President of this great Republic and those of us that detested the government of Edgar Chagwa Lungu are very excited about things to come.
However, if we must be fair to Chagwa, he never started off with the 48 houses, Fake Fire trucks, illegal tenders and all sorts of criminality that came to characterize his presidency.
He was just a disbarred lawyer from Chawama who took too much to the bottle and got into government by chance because of Michael Sata. There is no way he could have known about that Russian gun runner from his bar in Chawama or could have known all those criminals that came with all sorts of illegal deals to him.
Someone must have introduced those criminals to Chagwa and as a country we failed to protect this President and the Office which he occupied. No one did a background check or checked the intentions of the people that came. We left it up to him, Hapunda and Kaizer Zulu e.t.c to decide who gets to him and who doesn’t on a fee. This is illegal in other countries.
People in Zambia think protecting the Presidency is about reporting anyone that insults the President! This is senseless and has nothing to do with protecting the president but all to do with infringement on the right to free speech.
Why lock up a medical doctor for insulting Chagwa but protect criminals that surrounded him from prosecution? A verbal insult on a President will not harm our national security or take away food from the people but criminals next to the President will do that.
I know of times street thugs would brag to people that they are able to talk to the President directly.
Let us look at how the American Presidency gets protected to ensure that the President does not fall prey to blackmailers and all sorts of criminals. They have the equivalent of the Office of the President we have in Zambia which is called the Secret Service.
Unlike our OP which gets abused to spy on citizens and political opponents, the Secret Service of the United States is mandated by Congress with two distinct and critical national security missions: protecting the nation’s leaders and safeguarding the financial and critical infrastructure of the United States.
The protection is not just physical but from criminal influence as well.
As of 2010, the Service had over 6,500 employees: 3,200 Special Agents, 1,300 Uniformed Division Officers, and 2,000 technical and administrative employees. Special agents serve on protective details and investigate financial, cyber, and homeland security-related crimes.
This means that when the President gets elected, he becomes the property of the State and it becomes the duty of the State to know each and every person that gets in contact with him through a system called vetting. They make sure that even his own cell phone records become the property of the state in case some crooks want to get to him and disturb the will of the people that voted.
In Zambia and in Africa we don’t seem to do that. We just assume that just because we voted, the man will do right by his own people without ensuring that the will of the people is protected.
We leave these people on their own, not knowing that a Findlay or a Bokoni Soko can get to them and start driving a different agenda that is not in the interest of the nation.
Right now, HH is not fully protected and by protection I don’t just mean physical. How many people has he spoken with since he won the presidency and about what? What about those financial crooks that masquerade as NGO’s, how many of those have been to him? Who is keeping these records?
He promised the youth that he will create employment through empowerment and for me one of those empowerment projects can be through Brick making.
The Turkish Bricklayers have their own association which they use to lobby our government to include them in brick making. Have these people been trying to get to him so that they protect their brick making business?
What about the mining lobbyists at the Chamber of Mines? Have they started getting in touch with his closest aids so that they influence the trajectory of the UPND policy on mining?
What about the financial crooks at FQM that have been stealing from the Zambian people? Or the Chinese government whose people have their business here in Zambia and would want those protected?
We the people voted for President Hakainde Hichilema and the UPND and the people they should be serving are those that voted for them. It is the duty of the government machinery to protect the Presidency from undue external pressure that will go against people’s expectations.
I never saw a Turkish Bricklayer, Lebanese Trader, Chinese Contractor, Mount Meru owners standing in a queue for more than 10 hours. I only saw our people because the government is their only lobbyist that they believe will make policies decisions that favours them.
What happened to Mandela was not an accident! When he got out of prison, our people celebrated but left him and his family alone and exposed to meet all sorts of characters without any safety net. The Apartheid criminals found a way of getting to Mandela and his family members through his close aids like Joe Slovo and they secured their future.
Today, some South Africans will say that Mandela sold them out to white people not knowing that he was just one man left alone to be manipulated by the likes of the Oppenheimers. There is only so much pressure that one person can take and it is important that these people are protected. Capture starts now.
How did Chagwa end up giving back Kasumbalesa border post to RB and associates? How did Eric Silwamba the person who was a lawyer for FQM, the people that have been stealing from the Zambian people end up as Board Chairman of ZCCM-IH?
Let us protect this president before he gets hijacked by financial crooks. Let us not depend on his own goodwill but devise a system that protects him even against himself.
Something we never did for Chagwa, Rupiah, Mwanawasa and Chiluba. We left these people to their own devices only to be influenced by financial crooks that have now scampered like viruses on an attack on their next victim.
I have already seen all sorts of thugs jumping ship claiming they have defected to the UPND.
Let that next victim NOT be President Hakainde Hichilema but instead protect him as he is now the property of the people of this Republic who voted for him and he should do right by them