By Sara Imutowana Yet II
To respect the dignity of the presidency also means accepting the end when it comes.
Hence, it is also normal that a flower blooms and fades, the sun rises and sets, lovers love and go, dew gathers and vanishes, waves rage and level, and life is born and dies.
This is the way life is designed. There is nothing permanent in this life. Similarly, presidents come and go. No matter how good and great a president is, he will not last forever. We had Kaunda, Chiluba, Mwanawasa, Banda and Sata as republican presidents, and, where are they? Good or bad, the office of the president outlived them all.
As long as we dwell in the body, space and time makes our life transient.
If presidents were to understand that their offices will outlive them, maybe they would behave better. It is true that many people show a president respect because of the office he is holding and not the individual. It is when that office leaves them or they leave that office, whichever comes first, that a president knows his true worth and what people think about him.
Former presidents Banda, and Chiluba, if he was still alive, would attest to the fact that they understood their true worth when the office of president outlived them and they were being investigated for corruption-related offences.
Their innumerable supporters became less both in quantity and quality, than desired
and that is why a president should never be carried away by political praises.
A president should be careful when aides or people praise him too much because they see him as their pot of soup and they will do anything to keep him even when his term of office has ended or when incapacitated because of sickness. Therefore, a president should not confuse people’s loyalty to their own personal interests with loyalty to him.
In this life, very few presidents make new genuine friends. Most of the new friends are allured by power not the person holding power.
Many years ago, my mother told me that I was beautiful to attract any man on earth, but she was quick to state that my beauty is fluid. She wanted me to attract men because of my brain and not beauty which is fluid. Indeed, presidential power attracts, but the same power is fluid.
A wise president should know that pictures of former presidents titivating the walls of the office he is occupying tell a story. The story is simple, that someone was there yesterday, he is there today, and another person will be there tomorrow. This is what we mean when we say that nothing in this life, really, lasts forever.
The same applies to those appointed as presidents’ aides or assistants, they need to learn from their predecessors. As aides, they should defend the president responsibly and do their work with caution. When sent on slavish errands, they should discharge their responsibilities guided by their consciences. Aides are not slaves to be used for dirty work because one day like Richard Sakala and Amos Chanda they will have to account for all their actions. Besides, no wise aide should fall into the temptation of inheriting the enemies of the president because when they make up, the aide may not be there.
As a Yeta II of this world, I will continue to criticise the president. Please desist from turning the president into a demi-god and never turn critics to demons. Remember there is life after office in the presidency. Therefore, be careful how you climb and ride the horse because you will come down someday. You have the right to enjoy the benefits of your office but not at the expense of your sense of what is right and wrong.
These are President Edgar Lungu’s last months in the office.
It must be hard for him to stomach professional advice that he has to leave the presidency, or the presidency will leave him, whichever will come first. Indeed, these are tough times to our brother Lungu. But then again traditional wisdom holds that leaders come and go, and people remain.
I pray that those that sung praises for Lungu will be his source of support when he leaves office.
He needs the praise singers’ support to fight loneliness that characterises the former head of State status which makes it difficult to maintain and form meaningful relationships.
Life is like a book with many chapters, when one chapter ends the other one starts, and the other way around is true.
Sir Isaac Newton said that whatever goes up must come down.