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Why Former President Edgar Lungu Deserves No Second Chance

Former Zambian President Edgar Lungu has recently made a plea to the Zambian people for a second chance in the 2026 elections, claiming that he is now wiser and ready to rectify the mistakes of the past. However, Zambians and Africans should critically evaluate his past tenure before considering his bid for re-election. The failures and controversies that marked Lungu’s presidency should serve as a cautionary tale against granting him another term in office.


Edgar Lungu’s presidency, from 2015 to 2021, was marred by numerous issues, chief among them being rampant corruption. Under his administration, allegations of mismanagement of public funds and resources were rampant. Reports of corruption involving government officials and the mishandling of national resources were frequent, undermining public trust in the government. The infamous “Fire Truck Scandal,” where the government purchased 42 fire trucks at an exorbitant price, is just one example of the questionable financial decisions made during his tenure. These incidents of corruption eroded public confidence and diverted much-needed resources away from essential services and development projects.


Lungu’s tenure was also characterized by the rise of “caderism,” where political cadres or supporters engaged in violence and intimidation against opposition parties and citizens. This culture of violence and intimidation stifled democratic processes and created an atmosphere of fear and instability. The politicization of the police force and other state institutions further exacerbated the situation, leading to a compromised rule of law and justice system. Such actions not only undermined democracy but also hindered Zambia’s progress and development.


During Lungu’s presidency, Zambia’s economy faced significant challenges. Despite being one of Africa’s most promising economies, Zambia experienced high levels of debt, inflation, and unemployment under Lungu’s watch. The national debt ballooned to unsustainable levels, leading to economic instability and hardship for ordinary Zambians. The failure to effectively manage the economy and implement necessary reforms contributed to a decline in living standards and increased poverty.


In contrast, the current President, Hakainde Hichilema, has shown a commitment to addressing the issues that plagued Lungu’s administration. Since taking office in 2021, Hichilema has focused on economic reform, anti-corruption measures, and improving governance. His administration has made strides in restoring the rule of law, promoting transparency, and reviving the economy. Under Hichilema’s leadership, Zambia has seen renewed hope for economic recovery and development.


The plea from former President Edgar Lungu for a second chance in 2026 should be met with critical scrutiny by Zambians and Africans at large. His previous tenure was marked by corruption, mismanagement, and political violence, which significantly hindered Zambia’s progress. Supporting President Hakainde Hichilema, who is actively working to rectify these issues and lead Zambia towards a brighter future, is the more prudent choice. Zambians should look forward, not backward, and continue to support leaders who prioritize transparency, accountability, and development.