Friday, November 06, 2009

Rupiah is the most useless President, says Sondashi

Rupiah is the most useless President, says Sondashi
By Patson Chilemba
Fri 06 Nov. 2009, 04:01 CAT [

LUSAKA lawyer Ludwig Sondashi yesterday charged that President Rupiah Banda is the most useless President, who wants to use The Post as a scapegoat for his failures.

And Kafulafuta MMD member of parliament George Mpombo echoed Sondashi's statement, adding that he would vote against machinations to introduce draconian laws aimed at suppressing the operations of the vibrant press in the country.

Commenting on information minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha's statement that the media should be regulated because the bad reporting by The Post was painting a bad picture to the outside world such that investors were not coming into the country, Sondashi said President Banda was a useless President who wanted to suppress The Post so that he could conceal thefts.

“No, he should not use The Post as a scapegoat for his failures. I said at a meeting yesterday that Mr Banda is the most useless President this country has ever had, and all the insinuations against The Post newspaper, what they are planning to regulate the media is being done so that they can bury the corruption that has hit the country; the corruption which is being organised by Mr. Banda and his children, and his close friends,” Sondashi said. “Shikapwasha also is just a microphone of Mr. Banda.

He wants The Post to be silenced so that he can continue stealing public funds from this government, because this fuel crisis was created by Mr. Banda. Mr. Banda was told that there will be fuel problems but he didn't take steps to order fuel, energy minister Kenneth Konga knows. He did not order fuel so that he can create shortages to enable him to ask his children to import fuel when there was a crisis.”
Sondashi said it was not The Post, which was stopping investment from coming into the country but President Banda's corrupt government.

“Investment cannot come when they investors know that there is a corrupt government, and the President is high handed in these issues. He is using a lot of powers to intimidate people, right now he has pumped in a lot of money in Solwezi, but this will not help him. FDA have put up a fight and is going to win this election,” Sondashi said. “Once the press is intimidated, investment cannot come because investors would like where there is a free press.”

Sondashi advised members of parliament not to support the statutory regulation of the media, saying such draconian laws should not be entertained.

“This is why every day, we are fighting against such; and this is why we are saying that all these things Parliament is failing to control the President. That is why…once we take over we are going to reduce these excessive presidential powers,” said Sondashi. “I will tell you that Mr. Banda is the most useless President.”

Sondashi said enacting laws targeting individuals and institutions only portrayed that the government had failed to deliver and the only thing they could do was to cripple their critics.

And Mpombo said the era for draconian laws aimed at suppressing the press belonged to the 20th century. He said the press was an important partner in national development.

“So you know when one looks himself into a mirror, if you don't look well, don't break the mirror, improve your dress,” Mpombo said, adding that the MMD should adhere to good governance.

On Lt Shikapwasha's statement that investors were not coming into the country because of bad reporting by The Post, Mpombo said the problem was because of the poor policies government was putting in place.

“This government has veered off the main path of robust economic policies, so they shouldn't blame The Post on their failures. The donors have their representatives here, so if The Post says something which is untrue, these local representatives will rebut those, you know that The Post just lodged a psychological warfare,” Mpombo said. “But you know these are things that are seeing, the way we are handling issues like the recent fuel crisis which was being created by greediness.”

Mpombo said plans by the government to regulate the media were an exercise in futility and he would not support them.

“That will just be giving a licence to sweeping the dirt under the carpet, and that will not help the nation at all. I think this time we are seeing the desperation. So Mr Shikapwasha should not be allowed to get away with his desperation,” Mpombo said. “You know my position is that these issues must be analysed critically and very carefully because they intend to even cripple the country's image further. You know people in this particular era do not support governments that impose draconian laws on the press. So that would be suicidal to allow such regulation given the desperation that government is showing.”

Mpombo said members of parliament should think twice and not support draconian measures to stifle the press in the country.

“It will just inflict more international damage on the country and also affect virtues of good governance. So we members of parliament should stand firm against such machinations that are aimed to cripple the operations of a vibrant press in the country,” said Mpombo.

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