President Edgar Lungu’s Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda’s insulting language shows that he now thinks of himself as another president of Zambia, says Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD) leader Charles Milupi.
And Milupi says Chanda was threatening to take him to court only because he wanted to shield himself from the acts of violence that occurred in Sesheke.
Commenting on Chanda’s move to sue Milupi over what he termed as patently false allegations involving the former’s alleged involvement in the violence that erupted in Sesheke, Milupi, who is also chairperson of the Opposition Alliance, said it was unfortunate that a person who was representing the Head of State would insult other citizens in the manner he was doing.
Milupi argued that Chanda had now taken over the Presidency and blocked the Head of State from holding regular press conferences.
“From 1964, we have had so many people who served as presidential press aid, and they did their job the way it should be done – advise the President on issues relating to the press. But in this case, we have seen a situation where this particular person (Chanda) has taken over the role of President! The President is even shielded from the media! So, it is him (Amos), who is President. Now, we would expect that people holding such high profile jobs will be civil in their discourse with the public. If someone did not put a name to those things said by Amos, people would think that those words were coming from us in the opposition because maybe because we are not trained in the way we do things, but those people are trained, they are supposed to be trained. He is holding public office and when he speaks, he speaks on behalf of the President of the whole nation and the international community are also listening,” Milupi said in an interview, Monday.
“To have a person representing the President with such language is most unfortunate and it shows the level of people we have in public offices and it’s up to the people to judge if these people are suitable for those positions. What gives someone the audacity to use such language on fellow citizens? Is it the wealth that they have? Is it the power that they have? And if it’s the wealth where is it from? If it’s the power, which power are they exercising? Have they hijacked power from the President? Are they now considering themselves as presidents? These are very serious matters.”
Milupi said contrary to Chanda’s insults on the opposition alliance leaders, that they had brains the size of a rat, leaders were actually intelligent and restrained from insulting.
“But it’s unfortunate, the people that he is saying have got rat brains, they are very intelligent people. If you look at their language in their press statements, it is very civil. We don’t insult anybody, you will never hear me insult Mr Lungu or even Mr Chanda himself because we gain nothing from insulting. We shall criticise their policies, we shall criticise their action or lack of action, but in a manner that even a child will listen to us without being offended, that big people are insulting each other,” Milupi observed.
And Milupi said Chanda only threatened to drag him to court because he wanted to shield himself from the acts of violence that occurred in Sesheke.
“The courts are there to settle disputes between or among citizens; they are not there to be used to threaten others. So, let Mr Chanda take me to court if he wants to take me alone or if he wants to take the opposition alliance members, because that statement was issued by the alliance. But it’s up to him if he wants to take me as an individual, let him go ahead! And for him to react in such a manner and start issuing threats, it means that what happened in Sesheke was not good. So, even if he was not there, where does his statement of distancing himself leave those who were there? Where does it leave the President, the Political Advisor to the President (Kaizer Zulu) and other government officials who were there?” Milupi wondered.
Meanwhile, Milupi observed that being in opposition was dangerous in Zambia as the ruling party was in the habit of persecuting opposition leaders, citing the arrest of NDC consultant Chishimba Kambwili.
“Being in the opposition is a very risky affair in this country. All manner of things will be brought up in trying to cripple the opposition. Because it’s not happening to other citizens, whatever you say, whatever you do, they will find a way of pinning you down and that’s why we want dialogue so that there is no misapplication of the law. Opposition leaders are arrested for anything, but what happens to themselves when they say or do similar things? Do they get arrested? At the moment, those who are in power make sure that the bad application of the law is not used on them, but for those in opposition,” observed Milupi.