Friday, April 13, 2007
Friday April 13, 2007 [04:00]
Life is a message. We should heed it. We all learn from life’s experiences. And one of our many experiences from life is that a person who speaks the truth does not have friends. In other words, bearers of the truth are often not welcomed. It is an open secret that we have earned ourselves a lot of enemies simply for standing on the side of truth. We have been denounced and called all sorts of names just for striving to expose the truth to our people.
Even in the last few days, some people, including the state media and Speaker of the National Assembly Amusaa Mwanamwambwa attempted in vain to discredit our work. They tried to assassinate the truth. But they laboured without success. No evil will triumph over good.
On our part, we are not deterred from standing for the truth because we realise that a reputable name stands out even in the dark. It is a good name that is treasured. That is why we do not want to be like dogs of the wind; restless persons that change direction as often as the wind.
In saying this, we are not claiming to have all the wisdom and knowledge there is because we know that wisdom is like a baobab tree which no one individual can embrace. We achieve whatever we do because of collaboration with our people, the patriotic men and women who insist that good should prevail over evil, truth should prevail over lies. We choose to do good rather than evil.
In life, we have also learnt that words are like bullets; if they escape, one cannot retrieve them. Even our wise African sayings encourage us to consider carefully what we say. Why? Because words can hurt and are not easy to retract. Words can be like a spear that is thrown because the thrower will never get hold of its end. Once something is done, it will be difficult to undo although one may regret having done it.
Events of the last few days concerning former information minister Vernon Mwaanga present some food for thought for all of us, an opportunity to reflect deeply on how we conduct ourselves in our various capacities because we will be judged by what we do and not what we claim to be.
In discussing this point, we want to dwell more on the suspicious conduct of Speaker Mwanamwambwa when the issue of Mwaanga’s press statement in the DRC was raised in Parliament last week.
We would like to believe that the Speaker of the National Assembly is supposed to be a fountain of wisdom and justice and a neutral man or woman carefully appointed or elected to take charge of business of the House in a just and fair manner.
This is so because there are so many interests in the House and the Speaker is supposed to stand in the middle to deliver justice for all. He is supposed to be impartial and consistent if he has to win the confidence of all members in the House as well as the general public. In other words, the Speaker is supposed to be a man for everyone, including strangers, as the non-members are referred to.
But it is saddening to note that from time to time, Speaker Mwanamwambwa shies away from facing this challenge. The manner in which he handled Peter Machungwa’s point of order on Mwaanga clearly exposed him as a biased man, at least in this issue.
Machungwa raised a point of order based on the story we published, quoting a newspaper from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) stating that Mwaanga had disclosed to the press there that DRC Katanga Province governor is owed US $7 million by the Zambian government and that the Zambian government does not consider him a criminal.
Surprisingly, before even hearing from Mwaanga or ourselves, Speaker Mwanamwambwa was on his feet declaring our story “suspect” and advising members of parliament to take it with a pinch of salt because not everything that is published in the press should be believed.
In our view, it is only lies that should not be believed and clearly the Speaker implied that we publish lies. He judged us before hearing us. How sad that this came from a man who is supposed to be a fountain of wisdom and justice!
And as if this was not enough, when Mwaanga finally presented what he called a clarification on the matter, claiming what he claimed, Speaker Mwanamwambwa did not accord members of the House an opportunity to ask follow-up questions or make points of clarification as per practice or procedure. Instead, he proceeded to appeal to the media to give Mwaanga the same coverage on the matter as the one that Machungwa referred to in his point of order since he had clarified the matter. This is how this matter was resolved, in the Speaker’s wisdom.
The truth has now been laid bare on the table and it has emerged that Mwaanga actually misled the House, he lied on the floor of the House. And the people whom Speaker Mwanamwambwa said were publishing lies or suspicious stories have now been vindicated.
We all have lessons to learn from Mwaanga’s misconduct. Let us learn these lessons without hesitation and quickly make the necessary adjustments in the way we conduct ourselves in our various capacities - personal or official - knowing that credibility and integrity are of essence and that truth shall always stand taller. Let us all do what is good for society and not what is good for an individual.