Wednesday, July 04, 2007
By Chibaula Silwamba
Tuesday July 03, 2007 [22:00]
Chiluba is a very strong man, his former press aide at State House Richard Sakala has said. And Sakala advised journalists not to mix facts and their personal opinions in news reports. Featuring on MUVI Television’s Eye Ball 2 Eye Ball programme on Monday, Sakala said very few people would survive the pressure former Republican president Frederick Chiluba was going through.
“President Chiluba is a strong man; he is really, really a strong man. I admire his strength,” Sakala said. “You see, when the camera focuses on your failures, day-in-day-out, it’s your failure; very few people will survive that.”
He said it was wrong for people to concentrate on the failures of the Chiluba government.
“If you take your camera that now we are going to look at this group of people over this period of time, we don’t want to look on this side of the left hand, we don’t want to look at the right hand side, we only focus on the wrong doings of these people at this particular time. Is that justice? Is that fair? Is that how you should treat your fellow human beings?” Sakala asked. “No! I think there must be a better way.”
He complained that the use of the ZAMTROP account had been focused on the 10-year rule of Chiluba and his government.
“ZAMTROP has not existed for 10 years. ZAMTROP existed before the 10 years of the Chiluba government,” he said. “More importantly, how was ZAMTROP used before president Chiluba came in? How many people know?”
He also complained about the corruption in the judicial system in the country.
“There is a big problem with our criminal justice system. Right now, I can tell you that if it’s a political matter you have no idea what is going to come out. As long as there is political pressure things will happen,” Sakala said. “A lot of things happen before a person is taken to court, a lot of things happen while a person is in court, a lot of things happen when a person is out of court and when you talk about corruption, you must take the totality of these things.”
Sakala said some people did not deserve to be in prison.
He said there were some people who were on the death row for the crimes they did not commit.
Sakala said he always asked himself why he was the only aide to Chiluba who was imprisoned.
He said that he still thinks about the bad experiences he underwent in prison.
Sakala expressed optimism that Parliament would listen to his petition over his imprisonment.
“I really hope that the National Assembly can allow me the opportunity of going there and present my case with my documentations. Let them hear and make the decision,” Sakala said. “I am going to Parliament, I am going to go to the courts, I am going to go to the Judiciary Complaints Commission not because I expect anything from it but I expect that somehow we can change the mind-set, that people can have a more sincere approach to public policy issues.”
He advised that the governance system should not be personalised.
“Power should be used in proper manner. The people of Zambia repose power in the authorities so that they can use it for the betterment of society,” he said, adding that those in power should abide by the laws.
Sakala also said his book about his prison experience would be out before October this year.
“I’m so excited about it,” he said.
Sakala said journalists should not mix facts and their personal opinions.
He said presenting personal opinions in newspapers as facts was wrong because that was deceiving readers.
In apparent reference to media reports on national resources plunderers, Sakala advised journalists to minimise harm on the people they report on.
Sakala was imprisoned for three years and four months for abuse of authority and theft of a motor vehicle.