The PF regime funded and controlled Daily Mail has published the wrote-up below and call it an editorial comment:
In the past few days and even weeks, Zambians have been treated to news of the largest agri-business firm Zambeef allegedly selling some questionable imported meat products.
As the debate has raged on, there have evidently been losers and winners.
But mostly there have been losers if you look at the whole issue from the perspective of the owners of the business whose trade volumes clearly reduced at the height of the saga.
For us, as a public-owned newspaper, lessons from the saga abound and chief among them is that the media can build or damage depending on what slant they choose to take during a particular national debate.
This is why we tend to agree with UPND president Hakainde Hichilema’s decision to caution the media to walk the proverbial tight rope or exercise caution as they report on issues requiring scientific evidence to reach a conclusion, in order to avoid alarm that can cause harm in future.
Mr Hichilema issued the “cautionary note” on a local radio station yesterday and for the first time in many years appealed to government to “serve jobs” and not let Zambeef go down.
In his own words, Mr Hichilema said there is no single beef producer in Zambia who has not supplied beef to Zambeef which employs more people than some mining companies hence the reason it must be protected.
Mr Hichilema was right when he said adverse commentary—without science—on issues in general and Zambeef in particular could cause more harm than good.
Our esteemed audience must bear in mind that every time they read a story in a media outlet, what they are reading is a version of reality and not reality itself.
Studies have shown that some constructions of reality may be considered dangerous, such as a rap song which constructs a criminal lifestyle as fun and glamorous, or a western magazine that suggests only very thin women are beautiful.
Other constructions of reality may promote stereotypes and discrimination.
For instance, consumers of beef may begin shunning Zambeef products on account of an allegation that has not been fully supported by science and cause damage to a company that employs 5,500 Zambians directly. Who wins in this case?
We are not saying Zambeef must not be touched if they do wrong just because they employ more than 5,000 people, ofcourse not, no one is above reproach in this country.
We are simply ascribing to the “too big to fail” theory that asserts that certain institutions are so large and so interconnected that their failure would be disastrous to an economy the size of Zambia, and they therefore must be supported when they face difficulty.
Also it is commendable to see that for once, Mr Hichilema has come to support a cause for the good of the nation and not for his personal or political good like the case has been in the past.
If something is bad, it must be condemned not because of personal reasons but because of a national good and vice versa.
We hope Mr Hichilema has not come to Zambeef’s rescue just because he is in the same line of business—as owner of More Beef Ltd., among others—but because he wants to show responsibility as an opposition leader.
We hope to see similar comments from Mr Hichilema regarding government’s decision to construct 650 health posts, removal of consumption subsidies and distribution of subsidised fertiliser to 900,000 farmers. Just like NAREP president Elias Chipimo has been doing without losing face.
We hope to see Mr Hichilema take his hat off the way he has done on the Zambeef issue towards the government’s decision to construct 8,000kms of roads country-wide, construction of stadia and universities.
It doesn’t hurt to give credit where it is due and to equally criticise constructively when things go wrong.
We have but one country, which can move forward faster with unity than without it as our democracy continues to grow.