FDD spokesperson Antonio Mwanza says the backward thinking of the people in power is the reason the country can not move forward.

And Mwanza, who is also FDD deputy national secretary says Parliament must review and amend the ZNBC act in the manner that it becomes a public broadcaster whose editorial policy is independent from political manipulation.

Lunte PF member of parliament Mutotwe Kafwaya told Parliament on Thursday that ZNBC should only cover government officials and not opposition political parties who do not have policies to talk about.

“Many people when referring to ZNBC say that this institution only shows the President, the vice president, ministers and government officials, to the exclusion of other players; specifically the opposition political players. I do think to some extent this is true. But I ask the question, why should opposition political players want to dominate ZNBC when in fact they don’t carry government policy? The purpose of ZNBC is to show the Zambian people what government is doing for them. Mr Chairman, ZNBC is an institution for government and not an institution for the opposition. Those who say we must have a fair share; it is a dream which I don’t see being fulfilled,” said Kafwaya.

But Mwanza told News Diggers! in an interview that Kafwaya’s sentiments only showed the backward thinking of those charged with the responsibility to take care of the affairs of the state.

“The sentiments by the Lunte member of parliament are not only unfortunate but very backward and it shows the level of the people that we have given leadership to. That’s the reason why as a country we cannot move forward, because of such type of backward thinking by those that have been charged with the responsibility to take care of the affairs of the state. Mr Kafwaya is a young man, he is a colleague of mine, he is a friend of mine, I talk to him and I didn’t expect such kind if backward thinking from him. It also shows that he has not taken time to read the Zambia Nation Broadcasting Act,” Mwanza said.

“He has not taken time to read the difference between a government owned media and a public media. He has not even taken time to read what the Constitution says with regard to the use of public media. The Republican Constitution is clear that all Zambians must be given equal, fair and balanced coverage to express their views. That is the constitutional right of each and every Zambian,” he said.

He said ZNBC needed to further move away from an editorial policy that is vulnerable to political manipulation.

“What the members of parliament should do is to review the Act and amend it in such a manner that ZNBC becomes a public broadcaster whose editorial policy is independent from political manipulation. So to have somebody in 2017 saying that the opposition must not be allowed to express their views on ZNBC and this person is a member of parliament and is a young man, is very very unfortunate. We have leaders who think that leadership is there for them to superintend over the masses instead of realising that leadership is there for them to serve the people. That kind of backward thinking is very unfortunate.”

“ZNBC is not a PF media. It is a public media for the people of Zambia. This is why all of us are paying taxes to ZNBC for its operations. We pay TV levy for it’s operations and ZNBC must serve the people of Zambia and not the ruling party. The challenge that we have is that the editorial policy at ZNBC is tilted towards the ruling party of the day.”

He urged Kafwaya to be wary that power was temporal and that he would soon be out of office with no access to public media.

“I will make a phone call to Mr Kafwaya because he is a personal friend and I will tell him that this is totally unacceptable coming from a young person in the year 2017, 53 years after independence. One thing that Mr Kafwaya has to learn is that power is very temporal. Today they can be in power saying ZNBC must be abused and be used as a propaganda tool for the ruling party but what happens when Mr Kafwaya is not in office? We have seen our colleagues who thought that killing the private media was helping them to entrance themselves in authority but now they are outside and they are not been covered by the public media which they used to use to kill the private media. Now they are running back to news diggers, to the private media for them to be covered by the same private media that they where trying to kill,” observed Mwanza.

“Members of Parliament have to know that when they are making laws they should not be making laws which are partisan or which are there to serve their interests, they are making laws on behalf of the people of Zambia irrespective of the political parties they come from. We demand that a review be done and amendment be done to the act to allow ZNBC to be a truly independent public media as opposed to being government owned and government controlled. Maybe he [Kafwaya] should also suggest that we stop paying the TV levy because we can not be financing the propaganda of PF. We can’t. We should scrap off the TV levy so that only those that are covered by ZNBC should be the ones paying ZNBC. If it doesn’t serve all of us, then I think we just need to scrap it off.”