Friday, November 14, 2008

LETTERS - Freedom of speech, Elections, Neoliberalism

Paradox of MMD’s rural popularity
Written by Mukuka Lunda
Friday, November 14, 2008 8:17:13 AM

Kindly, allow me to present my views on the just-ended presidential elections, in which Rupiah Banda was declared winner and sworn in within hours. May I first commend the people of Zambian for the manner in which we conducted ourselves over the seemingly controversial outcome of the elections.

The paradox of MMD's rural popularity is that the very people they claim voted for them are the very ones who are worst hit by poverty, unemployment, poor health facilities, very bad roads and many other problems.

One can only wonder why the party in power claims to be popular in rural areas when there is literally and practically nothing they have done to uplift the standard of living of the people in rural areas.

Most people in rural areas find refuge in the Church. The Church has now taken it upon itself to help these people, because it is difficult to worship God without anything in the stomach.

The Church should be commended for its tireless work of helping the neglected people in the rural areas.

It is ridiculous and unfair to claim you are popular in rural areas when you only remember these people during campaigns. Ask the Catholic Church, or the SDA, or the United Church of Zambia and many others, and they will tell you the real problems people in rural areas are facing, because the Church is closer to the people than the politicians. As a result, people in rural areas are forced to move to big towns in search of means of survival. Lastly, I appeal to all well-meaning politicians, who have the interest of the Zambian people at heart to heed the timely observation of the Catholic bishops. God bless Zambia!

Speak out, Fr Bwalya
Written by Kaiche
November 14, 2008 8:16:19 AM

I was listening to Radio Chengelo at 16:20 when Fr Frank Bwalya, the director of Radio Ichengelo was speaking the truth about the just-ended elections.
It is very true that the country is mourning because the new president, Rupiah Banda, has not been welcomed due to a lot of malpractices that have taken place during the electoral process and campaign.

Fr Bwalya was on Wednesday arrested by the police yet every one has the right to speak out, that is the freedom of the press. Fr Bwalya, continue giving the people the true message of hope. We need change. We need great change with people of high calibre, who will serve the people and not those that are stealing.

Challenges for the govt
Written by Mwewa Yamba.
Friday, November 14, 2008 8:14:17 AM

Zambia has just come out of the presidential elections and of course with the system at play which favours the MMD, the elections went that way.
The challenges that are in our midst include a predictible developmental agenda that is for the entire country and not regional based; reducing the size of our bloated governmentt with many people doing nothing but being sustained by the government, having an action-oriented government and not a rhetoric one which makes serious statements during campaigns and thereafter deliberately neglects its duties and obligations, having a well-thought constitution which will stand the test of time and meant to serve the poor majority within a year. We desperately need an accountable government which easily accounts for every kwacha meant for the gocernemnt.

There is need to streamline the government establishment, ministries and their roles to meet the challenges the country has. Let us learn seriously from countries in our neighbourhood like Botswana where development is the national agenda contrary to the Rhetoric that we have here.

Those of us in leadership should be ashamed of the failures we have continued to score for sometime now.

Rural media coverage
Written by Kaunda Wisdom
Friday, November 14, 2008 8:15:34 AM

Zambia boasts being one of the few countries in Africa which had the first television and radio stations. Nevertheless, today, we are so behind that most citizens prefer the foreign media to local ones.
Additionally, the local media has failed to penetrate the rural areas where masses are faced with ignorance and limited access to private media. Urban Zambia, especially Lusaka, has several radio and TV stations which update people unconditionally as compared to government-owned media.

The private sector has a huge challenge to ensure that more private stations reach the remotest parts of our country.

We want to see Radio Phoenix, Qfm, MUVI TV and other media houses reaching all parts of the nation in order to reduce ignorance. Additionally, the continued monopoly of TV Licence fees use by ZNBC needs to be looked into as it is unfair for the private sector. The media's role in every society is to inform so that people make informed decisions. It is therefore injustice to deny people an opportunity to be informed.

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