The arrogance and hypocrisy of Edgar Lungu is frightening.
Being president has gotten to his head. What does Edgar think being president means?
He really has an exaggerated view of the power and importance of a president.
“So we need to be serious with what we want to do, we are not playing games here, I am a President, I was elected by people to lead this nation and when I say let us talk to each other, I just mean that; it’s not a sign of weakness because I can decide that I don’t need this dialogue, I am in charge but that’s not my style because I know that alone, I am not wiser. Alone, I am bound to go astray but if you tell me this is wrong, this is right, then we all agree,” brags Edgar.
It seems even the smallest dose of power can change a person. Someone gets a bit of fame and then, suddenly, they’re a little less friendly to the people they think are beneath them. Why?
A psychologist may tell you that the powerful are simply too busy. They don’t have the time to fully attend to their less powerful counterparts.
But a neuroscientist might give you another explanation: power fundamentally changes how the brain operates.
Power inevitably changes people – sometimes for the better, sometimes not. The more powerful you are, the more likely it is that you will be over-confident, surrounded by sycophants and immune to debate and disagreement. Add a dose of money and it’s easy to imagine that people are pawns for you to play with.
So what are the signs that power is going to your head? There is little dissent around you. With great power comes great silence. If the people around you aren’t arguing with you, then you aren’t getting the best out of them. You have clones everywhere. Wayward behaviour feels like a right. You speak in abstractions. A lot. If you are used to talking about people as things, the chances are you will start treating them like things too.
In our experience with good and bad leaders, we have noticed coercive power being used, and it does not work at all. It backfires.
The attitude above all others which we feel sure is no longer valid is the arrogance of power, the tendency of Edgar to equate power with virtue.
If Edgar has a service to perform in this country, and we believe he has, it is in large part the service of his own example. As Edmund Burke said, “Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other…”
There are many respects in which Edgar, if it can bring himself to act with the magnanimity and the empathy appropriate to the powers of the president, can be an intelligent example to other politicians in our country. Edgar has the opportunity to set an example of generous understanding in his relations with the opposition and other political players in our country.
If Edgar can bring himself to act, he will have overcome the dangers of the arrogance of power. It will involve, no doubt, the loss of certain glories, but that seems a price worth paying for the probable rewards, which are the happiness of our people and the peace of our country.
Edgar’s greatest challenge is overcoming his own dishonesty and hypocrisy.
There’s need for Edgar to realise that hypocrisy is not a way of getting back to the moral high ground. Pretending you are moral, saying you are moral is not the same as acting morally. Hypocrisy leads to fraud and tyranny. There are three things in life that deserve no mercy – hypocrisy, fraud, and tyranny.
When hypocrisy is a character trait, it also affects one’s thinking, because it consists in the negation of all the aspects of reality that one finds disagreeable, irrational or repugnant.
Hypocrisy is the mother of all evil.
And Edgar’s hypocrisy has led him to start abusing religion. We cannot adequately express the horror we feel for a politician who can be so base as to veil his hypocrisy under the cloak of religion, and state the base falsehood he has done. No habit or quality is more easily acquired than hypocrisy, nor any thing sooner learned than to deny the sentiments of our hearts and the principle we act from: but the seeds of every passion are innate to us, and nobody comes into the world without them.
Clearly, the only vice that cannot be forgiven is hypocrisy. The repentance of a hypocrite is itself hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue. As Burke said, “Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.”
And Jose Marti summed it up very well, “Liberty is the right of every man to be honest, to think and to speak without hypocrisy.”
The Mast Editorial