Thursday, December 10, 2009
By Ernest Chanda
Thu 10 Dec. 2009, 04:00 CAT
BWEENGWA UPND member of parliament Highvie Hamududu has said politicians are not angels who should be left alone to run public affairs without media scrutiny.
In an interview yesterday, Hamududu said people aspiring for public office should weigh themselves before they take up office.
He said there was no need to blame the media whenever leaders' shortcomings were exposed because the media had a duty to scrutinise every public officer.
“Statutory regulation of the media is a draconian law that cannot be tolerated in our democracy. Let me put it straight that we politicians are not angels who should be left to run public offices without scrutiny. And because we are not angels we need a free media to check our conduct all the time.
This I believe can even help us perform to people's expectations and avoid inviting criminal suits upon ourselves when we leave office,” Hamududu said.
“Going into public office is a sacrifice, no one is forced into it. So, if some people think that they have skeletons around them, which will make the media feast on them when they assume public office, let such people step aside and leave public office to clean souls. There is no way a government can scheme a law against the media just because the media has found them wanting in one way or another. This is all because of insecurity from a government that is doing things below board.”
Asked why politicians talk about media regulation when their conduct is in check, Hamududu attributed the trend to people's fear for their actions.
“It's like in the Bible, those who are obedient don't fear the law. But those who are disobedient fear the law. Equally, those who have dirty issues around them will always scheme up something to stifle a free media when such issues are exposed. When a government works hard to cripple a free media then just know that they have a lot of corrupt activities to hide,” he said.
“When late president Levy Mwanawasa came into office, although I didn't agree with the manner in which he came into office, he faced a lot of media scrutiny. But at one time he sat down and decided to do what the people wanted, and he got it right with the media. He did not threaten to introduce a law that would cripple the freedom of the media because he knew he was a clean man. Our current government must have a lot of issues they are hiding which they don't want the media to keep on exposing.”
Hamududu vowed to fight statutory regulation of the media even if his party came into power.
“I think I have told you before my colleagues in the media that those who don't agree with what the private media are saying about their governance they should form their own propaganda newspapers. My friendly advice to them is that when they discover they are on the wrong path, let them do what's right and they will have no problems with the media,” said Hamududu.
“For me, whether in this government or when we come into power I will never support statutory regulation of the media. It's a backward and dictatorial system that can only be embraced by a corrupt regime. I will always support a free media so that every leader's conduct is kept in the public eye.”