The Lies and the Lying Liars of Our Nation: The 90 Day Constitution Deceit

If you tell a lie loud enough and long enough, the people will believe it—Adolf Hitler

Hjoe Moono

Hjoe Moono

By Hjoe Moono

No one would have imagined that our leaders would gain inspiration and guidance from Adolf Hitler. Yet, prior to and after 2011, Zambia proved Hitler’s hypothesis about lies in politics beyond reasonable doubt, and we wonder whether our leaders have been students of Hitler or are his passionate followers.

You will all recall the famous slogans and chants: More Money in Your Pockets and People Driven Constitution in 90 days among many other carrots the PF dangled to get to power. More Money in Your Pockets had been replaced by More Money in Our Pocket (the PF’s pockets) as seen by the lavish lifestyles its leaders and followers can now afford. With regards the constitution, which is now a hot issue, the president has the following to say:

Zambia does not need a new constitution! Debates on the constitution should be ignored!

Yes, just like that, what a sharp U-turn! One would ask, wasn’t this the biggest campaign message of 2011? Isn’t it the constitution making process that has gulped billions of Kwacha? And now it’s not a big deal anymore?

With 2016 in sight, it seems we are in again for more deception, misdirection, fact-bending, half-truths, and downright lies-the challenge to win the hearts and minds of voters, again, as was in 2011.

It’s amusing how often politicians lie and then, of course, their unwillingness to admit that they lied. For example, the PF promised a constitution in 90 days. As soon as they got into power that changed. First they claimed they meant that they will initiate a process in 90 days. Now we are told we no longer need a new constitution.

With the emergence of new forms of media, surely it should be able to make them accountable for their lies. The case of Vernon Mwaanga lying over his meeting with Moses Katumbi was well exposed by the Former Independent Post News Paper leading to his resignation(seems MMD had credible leaders huh?). But post 2011, lies have become rampant and I am afraid it left unchecked will become the way of life.So, why do our leaders believe they can lie when their falsehoods are so easily exposed?

There are a number of reasons, some general, others specific to Zambia.
Firstly, as Hitler said, if a lie is told enough times, people will assume it is true. It is not a difficult to understand why people would believe something if they hear it enough. People expect that lies will be disproved and fade away. So if the lies continue to be heard, people assume, then they must be true. I can imagine, a lie consistently told from 2011 surely must have seemed like truth in 2011. In any case, most of the folks that voted in 2011 where in primary school when the lies started coming so to them this was the truth.

Secondly, most of our leaders, especially the current ones are arrogant, self-important, see themselves as special, as liberators of  Zambia from the evil MMD and require excessive admiration, and have a sense of entitlement. The self-important attributes causes them to believe that they are right and, even if they are not, they think they’re too smart to be caught or suffer the consequences.

Thirdly, in most cases, and particularly in Zambia, our leaders know and believe that their followers will believe them when they lie, even in the face of undisputable evidence to the contrary. It seems our Politicians and their supporters live in the same house in which everyone watches the same news channel(ZNBC), listens to the same talk radio (ZNBC Radio and Ifyabukaya), reads the same newspapers(The Post, Daily Mail, Times) and visit the same website (HE MCS’s Facebook page).

This creates a waterproof membrane that prevents conflicting information from entering the ruling elite, and any conflicting information is deemed to be from ‘Bitter’ rivals. The word Bitter in PF politics seems to be the new sex; everyone is talking about the opposition as being bitter due to the loss of 2011 elections. Even in 2014, the Ministers of Information is still basking in the glory of the 2011 elections and calling others bitter.

Fourthly, could it be that people don’t want to hear the truth? Truth, as the saying goes, hurts and no one wants to hear things that threaten their existence, their beliefs, or that will make them uncomfortable. It is decidedly better for politicians to tell people what makes them feel comfortable.

Why should politicians be the tellers of bad news and risk losing the next elections when they can tell fairy tales with happy endings like More Money, More Jobs, No Load Shedding, No Shanty Compounds, New Constitution(which, of course, we all want) and come out the winner?

But hey, of course, once in power all governments must deal with reality – even if they have been elected on a systematic lie such as ours. In a perfect world politicians wouldn’t lie. But when the voters elect politicians who lie over those who tell the truth then the voters shouldn’t be surprised when they get caught in raw deals, the situation we are in now. But in order for politicians to tell the truth, the voters must stop punishing honesty.

We must not accept mediocrity as the norm when we can emancipate ourselves from perpetual lies and dishonesty. We have seen the light and darkness since 2011. They say you cannot tell that a road a straight until you see a crooked one besides it.So when someone running for office tells you goody goodies next time, please, take time to think before you self-destruct. Watch out for the lies and make the right choices in the upcoming elections.

Happy Valentine’s Day.