LUSAKA Province Minister Bowman Lusambo says freedom of expression should not suddenly mean that one has to act to more intelligent than the President.
And Lusambo says as the parent of Lusaka Province, he knows what’s best.
Speaking on a Diamond TV Program, Wednesday, Lusambo said there was a thin line between freedom of expression and misbehaving, which leads to lawlessness.
“I am a law abiding citizen and believe in the Constitution. I am a Minister and the President of Zambia, he’s a custodian of the Constitution, so all of us respect the Constitution. There is a very thin line between freedom of expression and lawlessness, there is a very thin line between freedom of expression and misbehaving. You can advise anyone, even you can advise me and there have been a lot of shows and we discuss developmental issues and governance and you discuss those things in the normal way. The first important thing not for me as Lusaka Province but as a country Zambia we have to respect the office of the Presidency. Freedom of expression, freedom of movement beyond those freedoms, it’s lawlessness,” Lusambo said.
“The freedom of expression you are talking about, I am very worried actually. Are you telling me the President in State House doesn’t know that Zambia has to be the priority number one in his governance? Are you telling me that suddenly someone has to be more intelligent than the President? This is what I am telling you checks and balances we do accept. Do you even know the gold mines which Kings was talking about? How many gold sites do we have in Zambia? What I said is that the President is not a yoyo where anyone can just come and start pushing the President here, no! You have to have respect for that office! We are saying you can advise the President with respect.”
He said people should address the office of the Presidency with fear.
“The problem which we have with the 1990s, 2000s, youths of today, they don’t want to be told the truth. My job is to protect the Office of the President. Lusaka Province it’s a no go area for any person who wants to bring lawlessness. The President’s office is one respected office and the respect we’ll give to the office is equal to the person who is occupying that office. In fact, if you want to address that office, you have to address it with fear! That office is not an office where any jim and jack can just pop up and want to advise the President. We are not infringing on any one’s rights; we are not cutting any one off, what we are saying is that can you know your boundaries,” he said.
And Lusambo said he is the parent of Lusaka Province and he knows what is best for his “children”.
“I am a parent in this province and I know what is best for my children and I know what is best for my people in Lusaka and I know the best behaviour which we should exhibit as Lusaka Province and as a nation,” he said.
“There is no one who has said people can’t talk to the President. The President was elected by the people and he has the mandate to administer the affairs of the people. For me, I can assure you that there are a lot of platforms where you can advise the President. Social media is not a platform. The reason why we have directors, Permanent Secretaries, the reason why we have district commissioners is that for you to visit the DC on the issues you feel are not moving well and if that district commissioner can’t address that issue at that level, he will push that problem to another level. If that problem has landed to my office, definitely I will look on the gravity of that issue. If I feel that this is an issue that can go to the President, I will take it to the President. The issue to do with the mines, we have Ministry of Mines, the Minister himself, we have the Permanent Secretary and we have directors. The issue to do with the gold which has been talked about, we have other concessions which are under ZCCM-IH.”
Lusambo further warned that government would continue to monitor and advise people who were abusing their freedom of expression.
” Social media for us as a country, it’s even destroying our generation. Social media can be very harmful and also can be a good platform to communicate with other people. So, we should not abuse social media. The people we are trying to advise here are the people who are abusing the social media platform. For me in Lusaka Province, we want people who are using social media with the intention which is the right intention,” said Lusambo.
“Lawlessness needs advice and when they assault the Constitution, definitely, the law will take its course. There are other institutions who will deal with those people. For those people, we will continue monitoring them. Let me be honest, we do allow people to express themselves, that is their constitutional right but also, we will want to tell them that there is a thin line between the constitutional right and misbehaving. How can you advise the President on governance? What you can do is ‘Mr President, there is this issue, how can we go about this issue?’ Governance is not something you just see and say I will advise the President. Even the President does not work alone, that is why he has a Cabinet. The Kings issue was just a by the way, I can’t hold a press briefing for those chaps, why should I start having press briefings for those?”