Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

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."

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