GOVERNANCE activist Brebner Changala says it is unfair for Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Dora Siliya to accuse journalists of being unprofessional for questioning alleged corruption in government.
In an interview, Changala condemned Siliya for warning journalists to desist from writing certain stories about corruption, urging her to emulate South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s sense of humility.
He insisted that Siliya had an obligation to explain to Zambians how her government spent public funds.
“The government hasn’t been transparent since the COVID-19 pandemic started. A lot of people have been making donations to the Ministry of Health and the concerns are not only coming from the German government, but there were concerns also which came from the Vice-President (Inonge Wina). The Vice-President asked the Minister of Health (Dr Chitalu Chilufya) to publicize the names and amounts and individuals, who have made donations to the Ministry of Health because the donations must be managed in a manner that is transparent. But typical of Madam Dora Siliya, she thinks she owns the government and she thinks nobody can question her. I want to appeal to her to listen to Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa. When he’s addressing the South African people, she should see the amount of humility that is invested in this address to the nation. He even apologizes for the misconduct of military personnel, the conduct of the police. There is need to show humility to the people that have given you the privilege to lead them at this critical moment in time,” Changala said.
He said it was unfair for Siliya to accuse journalists of being unprofessional.
“When journalists ask questions, which are not favourable to you, your job is to answer on behalf of the government and on behalf of the people. We must show humility. I have seen the arrogance in Madam Dora Siliya when it comes to her approach towards journalists. She wants to address the nation, but the people she’s addressing need clarity through the media and the journalists, who are there, they are acting on behalf of the people and it is very important that no matter how foolish the question might be, she has an obligation to answer the question not to attack the press,” he urged.
“Corruption will ever be the hallmark of this administration and she will have to live with it until she’s removed from office at some point in time. So, it is very unfair to think it’s the journalists that are painting the country black. It is because many Ministers and civil servants are under investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission, that includes the Minister of Health himself, he’s a candidate at ACC, so Dora cannot tell accuse the media of being unprofessional. But I am asking Madam Dora Siliya to emulate the South African Head of State, the humility in which he does address his own people. Even with all the challenges they face, he realizes that he’s a public servant. Dora Siliya doesn’t realize that.”
Changala also bemoaned that leaders in Zambia were forgetting that they were servants of the people after getting into government.
“It’s not only Madam Dora Siliya who doesn’t realize that, the President (Edgar Lungu), too. How does he start telling people to ‘do as he says?’ President Lungu now thinks he owns us and we should not object to what he says! The President has been telling churches to go and congregate, but they have been rejecting that. So, these people in government must feel ashamed and apologize! Cyril Ramaphosa said, ‘we make decisions, which are not very good at times or well explained to the people of South Africa.’ That is the language Dora Siliya and her principle, Edgar Lungu, must engage themselves: to realize that they are public servants. If she thinks they have been accused of corruption and she’s not corrupt, let her get out of there! Nobody wants Dora there, nobody wants her a day more in this government!” said Changala.