The Zambian president has declared a state of emergency. Some say this is an ominous move, designed to clamp down on the opposition and a free media. Last week he held a press conference to explain his actions — but his answers seem to raise more questions.
In Edgar Lungu’s words:
• On the constitution: "The constitution says that when things happen, the president can use this power."
• On dictatorship: "They will say I am a dictator ... I have a job to do. People say I am being excessive — yes, allow me to be excessive for once in the interest of the Zambian people; but that excess is within the law."
• On the IMF: "I am saying this openly: if the IMF thinks we have gone beyond the norms of good governance and democracy, [it is] free to go."
• On the opposition: "People think I am targeting political players: I am not. I am bringing sanity to our country so there is law and order ... those who are careless and incite people by peddling falsehood through social and print media, are checked."
• On the fires: "The pattern has shown that this is manipulated and orchestrated by people who are hellbent on bringing chaos to the country. Every well-meaning Zambian knows we are under siege."
• On the media: "You can call me names, no problem; but [if you] endanger public order or security I will come for you."