MINISTER of Commerce, Trade and Industry Chipoka Mulenga has advised PF member of the central committee Raphael Nakacinda to stay out of trouble rather than accusing government of being intolerant.
But Nakacinda has insisted that freedom of expression, under UPND, is slowly eroding.
Speaking when he featured on Diamond TV, Monday, Mulenga said Nakacinda needed to understand how to apply Bemba idioms correctly in order to avoid trouble.
“A time has come when we need to do politics of inspiration. We have seen in the recent past where many political leaders have been persecuted politically and particularly myself, I was arrested by the past regime of the PF. Even the head of state was arrested about a 100 times on unfounded grounds. But I can tell you that no one is above the law including myself as a Cabinet Minister but I should learn to conduct myself in such a manner that is inspirational,” he said.
“I understand the Bemba idioms and figure of speech. There is a language you can use on your peers, to elders and to the youths. Probably you need to learn and understand more of these speeches than just picking them because you have read them. When you start using certain idioms depending on who are addressing they may be referred to as an insult. The figure of speech is directed to a certain age group and in a certain environment. I need to seat with you over tea again and run you through these figures of speech so that they stop taking you into trouble my brother. I am a Bemba man teaching you this and get it from me, keep yourself out of trouble.
Mulenga said UPND had come with a very different approach to politics.
“The President and the UPND have got no intentions to maliciously or persecute people based on political alignment. It is very clear and evident that we have come with a very different approach on how politics are conducted in this country. In Kabwata itself, my elder brother Nakacinda can testify that we are conducting elections that are very peaceful. We are a very tolerant government and we are allowing people to speak freely. I wish to remind you that had it been the PF themselves conducting this by-election under their leadership, I can assure that you could have seen a whole lot of cadres abusing physically and verbally the opposition,” he said.
“This is something I do not even need to labor on to remind the Zambian people. The insinuation to say that we are behind the reason why the other candidate withdrew, I think it is very unfounded and very lamentable. That is a different political party whom we have no influence whatsoever. I can assure you that our candidate was poised to win. The fact that they want to accuse the UPND of abducting Clement Tembo, it is so unfortunate and we cannot be so petty to bring such kind of politics.”
Mulenga said investigative wings were now conducting their duties in a transparent manner without persecuting anyone.
“The UPND is a government that respects the rule of law. The people of Zambia right now are even pushing the government to say arrest this on perception that they stole in the past regime. We have not moved in haste based on people’s pressure. The investigative wings are doing their job without anybody instructing them. For the first time, you will see investigative wings going into someone’s home with a lot of transparency so that they are not accused of persecuting anyone. When a perceived criminal case has been reported like in the case of Nakacinda, the investigative wings moved in without instruction from any political wing,” said Mulenga.
“If you do not understand some of the Bemba idioms you are using, honorable Nakacinda, will find yourself into problems. Where I come from we say, munshebwa aile nobusali kubuko. When we tell you and you argue, you will end up in trouble like being in police custody. Unfortunately, the UPND’s focus to reconstruct the economy has been taken for granted by our brothers and sisters in other circles. Not that we are saying you do not need to speak, we are a government that is open to criticism and very tolerant but let us be mindful of the way we conduct ourselves.”
But featuring on the same programme, Nakacinda said Mulenga was just politicking.
“You can never justify a wrong with another wrong. We have already been voted out of office. You are now privileged to be in office and are expected to even do better. In the spirit of One Zambia, One Nation, would you not be proud that a Tonga man like myself has been able to learn the language and can even use figure of speech? Is that an offence in this country? I think honorable Chipoka Mulenga is just politicking. The Bemba idioms are part of our society,” he said.
“One of the greatest mottos we have embraced since independence is the One Zambia, One Nation. When you try to justify that I insulted because that idiom was used against the presidency, all those idioms are accepted principles and medium of communication. There is no classification to say you can use it on certain people. There are sayings which sound like insults in Bemba but if you find out the literal meaning of that idiom, it is full of wisdom.”
Nakacinda said investigative wings were just trying to impress the powers that be.
“We have the head of state, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, but he is not a king or chief but a politician. Freedom of expression under the new dawn government is a eroding. Bowman Lusambo just demanded for information from the IMF. We are aware through the binoculars that some quarters of government were not happy about this and an instruction was given that he should be arrested,” said Nakacinda.
“The investigative wings carry cameras around to purely embarrass and feed into a narrative that PF was corrupt. That propaganda has continued and it is being used as an excuse when the real issue is victimisation. Most of it is being done to try and impress the powers that be.”