Editorial: Morsi buckles! The People Have Spoken – Africa Be Wary

Yesterday marked the end to the one year rule of Mohamed Morsi the President of Egypt after a controversial takeover of power in what appears to be arguably a military coup d’état.

However, it is also apparent the people pushed for this change in mass protests at the now famous Tahrir Square in Cairo, that country’s capital.

Should such protests be taken seriously by our Zambian government? Or should this be dismissed as an isolated event not befitting black Africa considering the Arab Spring had nothing to do with our part of the world after all.

Indeed our government and many others may be dismissive about these historical events but this should be taken as a timely warning to all governments who have abused the power entrusted to them by the people but are instead ruling through a narrow and corrupt elite that is hellbent on benefiting itself at the expense of the people. Political power through hegemony and nepotism is regionally concentrated, and is used to corruptly create great wealth for those ‘aligned’ to the corridors of power.

PF leaders in government, be warned: The people can rise.

The people are patient, but they will never stay patient forever. The people can tolerate a lot, but they will never tolerate it forever. A day will come when they say: “Enough is enough” Their anger will be felt and the nation will be shaken. This time, they won’t be fighting against a common enemy with their rulers; they will be facing off against those they loved. They will be hurling insults at people they once stood next to two years ago cheering at mass rallies. They will be marching against people they supported.

We have a choice to ensure that day never comes. No one should rest on their laurels. The people are getting restless. We are perilously inching close to the edge. What with the unpopular fuel and maize subsidy removal, the growing bad governance, the nauseating arrogance.

In typical PF style they would be quick to accuse and vilify some hapless opposition leaders and claim they are inciting rebellion. However, uprisings of this nature do not have a leader; they are led by the people themselves. They are their own moral voice and authority when they have been pushed to a point where they stop trusting their leaders so much that they want to get rid of them themselves without the delayed luxury of the ballot.

Morsi himself had a hard time coming to terms with what was happening, he twitted “As I write these lines I am fully aware that these may be the last lines I get to post on this page,” he wrote. “For the sake of Egypt and for historical accuracy, let’s call what is happening by its real name: Military coup.” Was it really a coup or was it a rude awakening to the reality of where true power really lies, the people.

What does this all mean for Zambia? In an effort to save themselves, the government can ill afford to take the people for granted for too long. The government needs to act and be seen to be acting against corruption and all other deeds of bad governance.

The rich and those connected to power must not be seen to be getting richer while the poor remain poor. In Zambia there is a perception that the leadership is arrogant, corrupt and increasingly out of touch with reality? The more these perceptions persist, the more agitated people will get. Then there will come a tipping point.

We have witnessed sporadic protests over the past few months ranging from mishandled university and college students, unjust treatment of minibus and taxi drivers, striking teachers and tax collectors to name a few. Over and above that, online media have made a lot of noise about social and governance injustices.

No single thing will set off the people if an uprising against government ever takes place. Its leader won’t be Hakainde Hichilema as usually alleged. It will be the people leading themselves. It will be a collection of events that cause the people to say ENOUGH! That day need not come. In fact we love peace but hate arrogance, bad governance and chicanery. We love our country and will not sit idly by and watch the very tenets for which MMD was removed being slowly eroded.

No one is advocating unlawful regime change because we don’t believe in anarchy. People may protest only to demand that the PF government does better. They might not even be asking for regime change, but the ruling party would be wise to heed this warning. PF listen to the people!