By Dickson Jere
The more you explain, the more people believe the initial so-called “fake news” was true. The best is to quietly kill the story and move to something else – I mean ZESCO is too big to be engaging in a merry-go-round with a journalist who has nothing to lose. The fact that ZESCO keeps defending itself on this story means there is something more than “meets the eye”. What cannot be denied is the fact that the last two-days ZESCO faced bad publicity and a terrible botched PR rebuttal strategy. So by trying to defend itself, the PR fiasco is being exacerbated! It is not good for the corporation.
In short, people have believed that ZESCO MD Victor Mundende spoke the truth and later realized the consequences and U-turned. Why would one use the idiom “putting my head on the chopping board” when the literal meaning is that you are taking a risk at the expense of your job! To make matters worse, the so called “fake news” was captured on video – whether the clip was carefully manipulated or not – the fact remains those words were uttered! Those words cannot be “unsaid” or better put taken back.
Best solution is to engage Prime TV quietly and work out something than taking an antagonist stance. Next time journalists may do worse stories on ZESCO and that is why it is prudent to engage them now and kill the story. Build a rapport. It will help in future engagements with the same media house. Only politicians seeking public office should fight back bad publicity as it goes to destroy their chances of winning elections. Or companies whose products have been destroyed by bad publicity. I do not see how ZESCO, as a company, has been affected by that story. People will still buy electricity units! ZESCO is a big corporation which should learn to engage the media and win them over. It will pay-off in a long-run!