THE hateful propaganda of the PF against those who voted for the opposition using the public media is what has caused unnecessary tension in some parts of Zambia, says Pastors Forum for Eastern and Southern Africa chairperson Reverend Richard M’bao.
In a statement released on Friday, Reverend M’bao stated that many leaders in the PF and senior government officials had for some time now acted carelessly and provocatively towards those with different political and governance views.
He stated that PF president Edgar Lungu had not reprimanded any of his party officials who were issuing tribal and hate speech using the public media.
“When I was in Zambia about three months ago or so, I sat in my hotel room and watched with dismay how one honourable [former] minister called Chishimba Kambwili went on national television to attack the opposition leader, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, who was not even there to defend himself. The minister went further with scathing attacks on the Southerners of Zambia by saying ‘even if Jesus came and contested elections in that province, He can lose to Hichilema’. One would have thought therefore that these statements reached president Lungu’s ears. That was nothing but hate! One therefore would have expected president Lungu to act and stop hate speech,” Rev M’bao stated.
He stated that Lungu, who was declared winner of the disputed August 11 election, had a duty to ensure that every Zambian, whether they voted for him or not, felt loved.
Rev M’bao stated that hypocrisy by the leaders in many parts of Africa had caused ethnic violence and leaders in Zambia were expected to act responsibly and be seen to be uniting the country with unconditional love that Jesus taught and not allow abuse of the public media.
“When I was in Zambia, everything on television, especially news, was about president Lungu, his vice-president or his ministers. When the national broadcaster talks about the opposition, it’s in bad faith. That was not news; it was hate. And using common sense, one could tell that everything was biased. You can’t preach peace and expect to get results when you are suffocating the private media, silencing everyone and subjecting a nation only to the things you want them to hear. It’s wrong,” Rev M’bao stated.
“The authorities in Zambia must change their attitude, they are the ones taking the country and its good citizens for granted. Our prayer is that they should change and do the right thing. President Lungu is a Christian, he knows what to do and those around him must not be misleading him, they must tell him the truth. We want to see a united and peaceful Zambia and that’s our prayer.”
He also challenged Hichilema, as the main opposition leader, to demonstrate leadership in his own capacity by ensuring that his supporters maintained peace at all costs.
Rev M’bao further urged Lungu to open all media institutions that had been closed under the pretext that they had breached the law.
“You can’t shut a main private newspaper, The Post, and a private television, Muvi TV. These are widely read and watched media institutions in Zambia. And the world can easily see that it’s not about taxes or breaching the law; it’s a blatant act to muzzle the critical media,” stated Rev M’bao