Friday, January 14, 2011

Banning discussions on Barotse issue not a solution - SACCORD

C0MMENT - A few months ago, Dora Siliya was on ZambiaBlogtalkRadio, and no one was allowed to ask her any questions on, say ZAMTEL. I hope they weren't left with the message that censorship works for them. She is corrupt, and as an elected official, she should always be ready to answer questions on everything.

Banning discussions on Barotse issue not a solution - SACCORD
By Sututu Katundu
Fri 14 Jan. 2011, 04:01 CAT

BANNING Barotseland Agreement dicussions on radio stations is not a solution, says SACCORD.

Southern Africa Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) director Lee Habasonda yesterday said much as the country appreciated that the government was allowed by a section in the Constitution to override certain issues, banning radio stations from discussing the Barotseland Agreement debate was not the solution.

"It is regrettable that the government is using high-handedness to handle the Barotse issue. I think the government is taking a wrong direction by not letting people speak," he said.

Habasonda said it was not enough to thrash those calling for the agreement without listening to their grievances. He said most people in the country did not understand the issue and gagging the media would not help.

And Radio Ichengelo station manager Fr Wilbroad Mwape said the issue had nothing to do with the radio station. He said the government must face reality and tell the people what they wanted to know.

He said many people wanted to be educated and the government should explain and not infringe on their rights by asking them not to discuss the matter.

Fr Mwape said ignoring the problem was not a solution and people would begin to wonder what the government was trying to hide.

Meanwhile, a regular caller to radio programmes, Felix Konoso, who was speaking in his capacity as a direct descendant of King Lewanika Lubosi, said he was surprised that the announcement came at a time when he and others had scheduled to discuss the Barotse Agreement today.

He said the government announcement was an abrogation of human rights as they would not be able to express themselves freely.

Konoso said he did not support those fueling violence, as the agreement was a document that called for peace and unity. He said that was why it should be discussed for Zambians to be educated on how it started. He said in Tanzania, children were taught how Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged to become one country.

Acting information minister Dora Siliya on Tuesday announced that all radio stations in the country should not conduct phone-in programmes to discuss the Barotseland Agreement as people were becoming violent and using bad language, among other issues.

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