By Field Ruwe
If Vice President Guy Scott were president, he would be no different from other ruthless African dictators. He too has embraced authoritarian rule and is furthering a legacy of repression of liberties and promoting the culture of deceit. It is difficult to forget the lies he has repeatedly told about the health condition of President Michael Sata.
Also, Scott’s recent wish for the Zambian Watchdog to “commit suicide” is an indication that he harbors hatred beyond redemption; that he is callous, ruthless, vengeful, and is obsessed with the guillotine. If he became president he would relish in cutting off the tongues of all those with dissenting views.
When Scott was appointed vice president many, including political gurus around the globe, thought he would show Zambians, and indeed other African nations, how to build a strong democratic society. As much as he is a Zambian, he also represents a society in which democracy has been one of the guiding principles of development. The success of his native country Scotland which is part of the United Kingdom is based on a structure in which the rights of the citizenry, their lives and pursuits, “are protected from any human agent bent on violating them.”
The reader must be reminded that Scott was once a strong proponent of democracy in Zambia. It is the reason he joined the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) back in 1990 and led implacable attacks on Kaunda. His dislike for dictatorial rule is evident in his 2010 review of “The Musakanya Papers,” in which he writes:
“In particular there is nothing that does justice to the process whereby one Kenneth David Kaunda took over a prosperous “high end” underdeveloped nation in 1964 and turned it, over 27 years, into a bankrupt, disease-ridden, police state in which the public were constantly invoked by “national guidance” to regard him as subordinate only to God.”
What boggles the mind is how a man who witnessed Zambia reduced to a “bankrupt, disease-ridden, police state” would fall into the same trap. Today, Scott is part of the system that is spearheading the same undemocratic and inflexible structure of power. He is busy manipulating the Zambian political system to suit the autocratic agenda of the PF party. Like the Kaunda he so much despises, he too is stifling the country’s fundamental freedoms. And by virtue of being a leg up, he is doing it with impunity.
Let me take a swipe at Scott for his recent comments on the Zambian Watchdog in parliament because it is in such frenzies that narcissistic and absolutist symptoms are embedded. The reader must revisit and closely examine Scott’s statement “If it [ZWD] suffered from suicide tomorrow, we all would be happy.” Notice that what stands out is the word “suicide.” While the quote refers to the self-destruction of the medium, it could also figuratively mean that Scott would cherish in the self-destruction of the ZWD editors.
The quote therefore qualifies as “hate speech” for it not only disparages the editors but also wishes them the worst. Hate speech is synonymous with ruthlessness. In politics, ruthlessness is associated with authoritarianism. Scott ends his statement with “we all would be happy.” He cleverly poisons the atmosphere in his effort to seek public support and sympathy. He wants everyone to agree with him and see Zambian Watchdog editors as devils unworthy a life.
What is perhaps more upsetting is making such utterances inside a consecrated sanctuary like parliament house. I will say this; on October 18, 2014 the Zambian Parliament, however its goals and aspirations, was tainted by Scott’s poor choice of words. When the second most powerful man in the country expresses a sick desire to see someone or something “commit suicide” it is a situation of grave disorder.
Parliament is where honorable officials deliberate over matters of great concern. “Honorable” is the apotheosis here. It is used to indicate eminence, prudence, and judiciousness. A leader of Scott’s caliber should live by example and avoid hate speech. He may have a bone to chew with the medium for washing his dirty linen in public and calling him names like “muzungu wo pusa,” however, parliament is the wrong place for such ghastly desires. MPs from both sides of the aisle should admonish him the same way they did to Michael Kaingu over his HIV remarks. I imagine this is how he would be treated in a British parliament.
I mention the British Parliament because Scott knows that for years its members have been victims of salacious, libelous, melodramatic, and most titillating revelations. The British salacious papers and web sites are masters of intrusion, harassment, and hounding. They have been the destruction of many for decades—prime ministers, cabinet ministers, and celebrities. Even the monarch has not been spared.
There are hundreds of British tabloids and cyber sites, some which are partisan and anti-monarchical. Most are undetectable, and can be openly seditious and more virulent than the Zambian Watchdog, Zambia Reports, or Lusaka Times. Often they use fictitious stories to attract public attention, and yet, many thrive in a country that have has been the seat of modern democracy and the land in which free speech was born.
In fact, it can be assumed that in his spare time, Scott reads, with pleasure I might add, some of these British salacious sites. He does so while repressing and intimidating Zambian journalists who are merely emulating their counterparts in England. In as far as he is concerned journalists in Zambia do not deserve the same freedom. It is not an essential prerequisite. They do not have the right to write or speculate about his public and private life. As he stated, he would rather have the Daily Nation which he can easily sue.
Such are the sentiments of a man whose father founded the Zambia Daily Mail and advocated for its freedom. It is a great shame, really. Since he has become a stakeholder in the PF party, he has denied Zambian journalists the power of the pen. He has denied them their right to freely gather information, and report it in a befitting manner. The two official government mouthpieces, Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail, are as good as dead. They cannot reveal government scandals and malpractices. This kind of censorship is the reason online information outlets like the Zambian Watchdog are in existence.
It has become abundantly clear that after three years, Scott, driven by the want for power, has sold his soul to autocracy. If he became president he would be no different from his predecessor. So far there is no indication that in his capacity as vice president, he has attempted to champion democratic rule. We have not heard him talk about Zambian citizens being equal before the law and enjoying freedom of speech and assembly. He has not made efforts to salvage us from bankruptcy and disease. Instead, he has become part of a team that has created a police state similar to Kaunda’s.
As soon as he was appointed vice, Scott became quiet on matters of political pluralism, civil liberties, and human rights. He failed to provide personal and political protection to those who were being harassed by his party for their opinions and beliefs. He instead watched with gratification as citizens were dragged to court.
And as is now clear, Scott has continued with the practice of misinformation and distortion, and continues to encourage skewed media coverage. His behavior the past three years gives the impression that a Third World “bankrupt and diseased” country of susceptible and untutored people can only be ruled with an iron fist.
Note: I join the country in wishing President Michael Chilufya Sata a speedy recovery. God bless.
Field Ruwe is a US-based Zambian media practitioner, historian, author, and a doctoral candidate. Learn more about him on his website www.aruwebooks.com. On it you shall access his autobiography, articles, and books. Contact him, blog, or join in the debate. ©Ruwe2012.