Former MISA chair Kaunda defends Post newspaper

By Kellys Kaunda

Lately, the ruling party has been reacting angrily to news reports carried in the Post Newspapers. The latter has been carrying remarks by, among others, FDD leader NAWAKWI who has now earned herself the title The Queen of Hate Speech.

The paper has carried stories on the President’s dress and dozing at a public function. The ruling party has labeled the Post as unethical and promoting hate speech. Further, the paper’s “kind” of journalism has been dismissed as not fit to be called journalism.

For starters, The Post has always written this way about many leaders and governments except on Michael SATA. On the latter, the paper carried a pro-SATA tone. This approach led to the conclusion that the paper had been “bought.”

Whatever the slant any paper takes, it’s still journalism. It does not matter how often a paper writes on a subject, it’s still journalism. Whether you like the story or not does not affect the definition of what journalism is – the dissemination of current affairs and commentary thereon.

If a paper carries a story on the President’s dress, the President dozing in public or collapsing, it’s deceitful and a denial of responsibility for his handlers to condemn a newspaper. If any of these things happen to the President, it is his handlers that are sleeping on duty and must be taken to task.

When The Post wrote about the President’s suits, it was because what the first citizen wears makes news. It does so because he may be setting trends or he may be extravagant. Either way, the views on this matter are subjective and need to be left to the public to conclude. But the public is aided to formulate views if the media has carried the story.

I must say that the President’s suits are well cut and makes him look elegant, a worthy representation of a nation! However, for a man voted on the basis of humility, he seems to be “overdressed”.

On dozing in public, this is a story worth writing. It does not embarrass the President but exposes weaknesses in the presidency – his handlers are dozing on duty. Why don’t they check what the President eats before he goes out; is he exercising physically” is he having enough sleep? This is what handlers do.

When The Post wrote “Chagwa agwa”, yes, this sounded mockish and celebratory but it had a dramatic effect especially that it was the President in question. The problem was not the President. The problem was his handlers. This embarrassing episode exposed weaknesses in the presidency. Instead of taking a swipe at The Post, this country must aim at the President’s handlers.

It is deceitful to throw salvos at a newspaper for exposing weaknesses and yet stones must rightly be thrown back at the critics of The Post. Frankly, there are some stories that The Post writes that I do not like. But I will defend the paper’s right to write them.

NAWAKWI’s criticism – does it qualify to be called hate speech? It’s a deliberate misuse of terms to label the kind of criticism that she does as hate speech. The development backlog in this country is so long that anybody who knows a thing or two on governance will be as critical of government as NAWAKWI IS!

The nuts and bolts in the administrative and development infrastructure of this country are loose and what needs to be done is clearly before those with minimum education in the country’s needs and yet, irritatingly and frustratingly, nothing is being done. What kind of political dialogue do you expect under these circumstances?

Why do politicians in government become so obsessed with accolades in a country with such an abundance of natural and human resources but with nothing to write home about when we stand in the community of nations with comparable resources?
Kellys Kaunda

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