Catholic priest Fr Arthur Ntembula has asked the PF government to stop abusing the public media such as ZNBC as instruments in planting hatred but rather use them in inculcating the spirit of peace among the people.
In an interview with the Post, Fr Ntembula said if the country was praying for peace during this year’s elections, leaders could not be at the same time fuelling violence.
“Peace doesn’t fall from the sky; it has to be worked for. The other week, chief government spokesperson Chishimba Kambwili was on national television apologising to the former first lady Dr Christine Kaseba over remarks attributed to Mumbi Phiri, where she alleged that Dr Kaseba and Mulenga Sata killed him. The press briefing started very well, with an apology to Dr Kaseba and the Sata family. And then he took off at a tangent. He unleashed all his frustration and anger against Hakainde Hichilema and his UPND, all in the name of giving a press briefing. As c h i e f g o v e r n m e n t spokesperson! And it was freestyle, without even reading. And poor HH and his UPND wasn’t there to answer back or defend himself,” Fr Ntembula.
“I was seated there, glued to the screen and thinking, ‘Is he the new PF spokesman or he is now mixing up the two positions?’ He goes like, ‘How can you vote for someone who doesn’t even smile?’ Was that supposed to be part of the press briefing? Well, maybe it was, but definitely an abuse of national television.” Fr Ntembula said there should be morality in politics and campaigns must be conducted in a peaceful manner. He said it was well-known that the PF was still holding the reigns of power and so they have ‘jurisdiction’ over the operations of the national television but this does not give them a green light to abuse it by vilifying others. He said ZNBC as a national broadcaster was expected to foster peace.
“I have nothing against PF and this should be on record. I am not even UPND and this should also be on record. But it should be my concern when I see people who are supposed to promote peace decide to abuse their positions to plant bitterness and hatred. When violence erupts, even those of us who are non-partisan will be affected,” Fr Ntembula said. “This year is very sensitive because it is an election year and our leaders should be careful with what they say or they will be catalysts o violence.” Fr Ntembula said as campaigns start, there was need for morality to be upheld and the laws of the land respected by everyone regardless