Zambia’s Ambassador to Germany Anthony Mukwita says social media abuse in Zambia has reached a level of fallacy where people are just cooking up lies, thereby, affecting the country’s international standing.
And Mukwita says President Edgar Lungu’s commitment to the fight against corruption has made the German government to reconsider freezing its support to Zambia following the misapplication of that country’s Rural Basket Fund.
Featuring on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview, Mukwita expressed worry over the pace at which lies about Zambia were fast spreading on social media, explaining that the country had reached a stage where the whole social media communication space was at a level of fallacy.
“Like they say: ‘a lie goes half way across the world before the truth puts on its running shoes’. So, it’s a bad thing. Today, I can tell a lie about brother Grevazio and people believe it and it takes a year before he can exonerate himself, and that’s just one person; for a country, it’s worse. One bad tweet, which is false has the ability to dent the country’s image! By the time you are coming to correct that situation, a lot of damage has been done. Allow me to commend one of my friends and brother, Amos Chanda (President Lungu’s spokesperson). Recently, we have seen that the moment a mis-fact has been published, it hasn’t taken 24 hours to respond,” Mukwita argued.
“So, it’s a slippery slop where you start explaining and wasting time on something that is inaccurate. Somebody will say: ‘Zambia owes US $15 billion’ and yet we know for a fact, according to the information that has been published by the Ministry of Finance, who are the authoritative people, that what we owe is actually US $9 billion. So, the social media aspect, if it dents your image and takes so much time before you can get down to the real fact and explain to the people that we want this money to come and help the vulnerable, or we want this business to come to Zambia so that we can create jobs. So, I think we have reached a certain level, which makes the whole social media communication in Zambia to a level of fallacy and this is because some people will come up and cook some facts… and some people, even when you have explained, even when you have been cleared by the courts of law, they will still want to believe the social media lie. That’s a bad thing. Social media itself is not a bad thing, it has helped to improve communication, but it’s not about the speed, it’s about accuracy.”
And Mukwita said President Lungu’s commitment to the fight against corruption had made the German government give Zambia a second chance, even after some officers abused aid from that country.
“We know that some six directors in the recent past have been suspended and are under probe, and that some people have already been arrested. So, in terms of assurance when you are dealing face to face with some people, you want to know, are they walking the walk and talking the talk or are they just blowing hot air? But in our case, we are able to say that this President has taken action. So, you should give him another chance because he’s not the one who’s directly involved in this, but everybody who has been directly involved, for instance, in the Rural Basket Fund, people have been arrested and others suspended,” said Mukwita.
“The Germany story was a bad story, but it was cleared, which was why, in November, 2018, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Development of Germany sat together and started discussing further corporation for 2019. If that had not been resolved, that meeting would have not taken place. Allow me to thank the Federal Republic of Germany and the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for having sat long before that leak came out to resolve the issues. People don’t even know that the Ministry of Economic Development of Germany and the Ministry of Finance did meet in November, which means that we are on clear ground with the Federal Republic of Germany, going to 2019 and beyond, which is good because we have enjoyed warm relations with Germany since after Independence.”