A Legal Eye Perspective
By Japhet Zulu, LLB, LLM, AHCZ
1.In paragraph 33 Ponga blames Kalu for “doing nothing to halt the false impression” that his “rival” Charles Musonda did not want to play for the national team.The question is, what exactly did Ponga expect Kalusha to do? Did he expect him to go on a PR campaign on behalf of Charles Musonda in order to be seen to be “doing something” about “the false impression” about his friend? Wasn’t it journalists like Ponga who should have given Charles Musonda media space to explain his side?
2.In paragraph 32, Ponga casts Kalusha as a villain for insisting that Zambian football should immediately continue after the Gabon disaster. Isn’t Kalu’s resilience and leadership in the aftermath of the Gabon disaster part of a legacy Kalu shares with Ponga’s late father, Dennis Liwewe who also insisted that we must carry on? Wasn’t the resolve of Kalu and Dennis Liwewe vindicated when the rebuilt team reached the AfCON final in 1994 and almost qualified to the world cup final save for Diramba?
3.In paragraph 37 Ponga justifies the reluctance by Charles Musonda’s sons to play for the national team as “understandable given the fractious relationship” between Kalu and Charles Musonda. The question is, Kalu left FAZ in 2016, if he was the hindrance to the Musonda boys playing for Zambia, why have they still not shown willingness to play for Zambia now that there is “no fractious relationship”?
4.In paragraph 31, Ponga says the reason for the perceived “rivalry” between Charles Musonda and Kalu was because Kalu was “irked” by Charles Musonda’s move to Anderlecht. He omits to state that after Charles Musonda moved to Anderlecht in 1987, Kalu and Charles perhaps played their best football together at Seoul 1988, and Kalu went on to be African footballer of the year in the same year and was signed by a much bigger club, PSV Eindhoven in 1989. Why then would Kalu still be “irked” 6 years down the line in 1993 or even for a lifetime?
5.In paragraphs 61 to 67, Ponga goes on to describe Kalu as an administrator. He describes Kalu’s FAZ as full of “incompetence” and “bafoonery”. He doesn’t mention that this” incompetent “FAZ full of” bafoons”won AfCON 2012, successfully bid for under 20 AfCON, women’s football improved to the point of qualifying to the world cup. He omits to say that this “incompetent” FAZ is the most successful in the history of Zambian football, even more that the one he served in as Secretary General. He also omits to mention that the “incompetent bafoon” hired Herve Renard who was called a “P. E teacher” but went on to be the most successful coach in the history of Zambia.
6. In paragraph 68, Ponga utterly accuses Kalusha of stealing 2 million US dollars. The question is, why hasn’t Kalusha been charged with theft of this huge amount? When Ponga served as FAZ Secretary General, why didn’t he simply report this grand theft to the police so that he proves his claims in court? This allegation is fertile ground for a defamation case.
7. In paragraph 15 Ponga asserts that Kalu got his “stubbornness” and “inflexibility” from his father, the late Benjamin Bwalya Sr. This is quite an insensitive and offensive thing to say about another person’s deceased parent.
8. In a nutshell, Ponga’s article is trying to achieve two things. Firstly, he describes Kalu as a player. He cleverly says Kalu is great “according to his worshippers” but not so great because at family level Benjamin Bwalya Jr was “arguably better”. At national level he pits Kalu against Charles Musonda in a “rivalry” . He says when Kalu went to Cercle Brugge, he went to “a mid table” club. He omits to say Charles Musonda also went to this same mid table club before the two went on to other clubs. At continental level, he says Kalu didn’t reach the greatness of named legends. In short he is saying Kalu is “great but not that great”. Secondly Ponga describes Kalu as an administrator by only mentioning the perceived negatives without mentioning successes on record. So much for objectivity!
For my two coins, Ponga’s article is blinkered! It is laced with evident bias and does not pass the test of an objective and balanced article.