HONOURABLE Cornelius Mweetwa started very well. We recall that when President Hakainde Hichilema removed madam Chushi Kasanda and replaced her with Mr Mweetwa, Zambians commended him. The Ministry of Information and Media had been in bad hands. A good number of our readers will agree that madam Kasanda was a danger unto herself. She enjoyed talking, but most of her communication was destructive. Sadly, our brother who is now in charge of this ministry is unnecessarily creating similar problems for himself.

During his media briefing on Monday, 12th February, Honourable Mweetwa saw it fit to essentially say to Zambians that the UPND, President Hakainde Hichilema’s party, was all along in cahoots with the one person that has been held as being an avowed tribalist, and who was just recently handed down a 5-month prison sentence for hate speech arising from some despicable comments he made against Zambians of the Tonga tribe.

We will not endeavour to repeat Honourable Mweetwa’s words, but we will show their different implications. Firstly, his comments fly in the face of the cries of Zambians against tribalism and tribal talk that has become rampant in politics and has spilled over into daily life, a scourge that, sadly, our Tonga brothers and sisters have borne the brunt of. Secondly, Honourable Mweetwa’s comments expose the UPND as a two-faced, double-tongued party that will weaponise anything to its own advantage. Thirdly, we are now wondering why Chishimba Kambwili must suffer a jail term for essentially doing the bidding of the party now in government. We can go as far as to ask if every person who has uttered tribal filth has done so at the behest of the UPND. Lastly, questions begin to be asked whether this whole Kambwili illness, escape and return, and evacuation for medical treatment is some engineered scheme that the UPND government and its supposed partner, Mr. Kambwili, know the intended purpose and end. And, has not Mr. Kambwili appealed his conviction? How, then, might the government chief spokesperson’s remarks bear on the outcome of that legal process?

It is time to tell President Hichilema that his government is filled with ministers who seem to be everywhere except where they should be and say anything but what they must be saying. Mr President sir, the one who has taken the prize for reckless, thoughtless mouth-running is your Minister of Information and Media, Mr Cornelius Mweetwa. The sum total of all these deductions and implications is that you, sir, your party, and your government cannot be trusted. Most sadly, it makes the position of everyday people who may suffer tribal hate very vulnerable.

We honestly cannot begin to think how and why Honourable Mweetwa thought what he said would show his party as having used some very clever tactics to undo the opponent and win people over and that Zambians would go, “Wow, how smart!”

What Honourable Mweetwa and others tasked with communicating for the government and the UPND must know is that talking is not the same as communicating. Speaking the loudest, using the most words or fancy speech, or talking all the time does not mean you are communicating. In the short space Honourable Mweetwa has been the government’s spokesperson, he has done quite the most to earn himself the title of a blabbermouth. Nobody takes you seriously after that.

Blabbermouth Mweetwa, this is not student politics, nor is it opposition political party politics. You speak on the government stage, but we are afraid that you are demonstrating for all to see that it’s a level you have yet to attain. Out of shame from the realisation that you have done much to hurt your president, one would expect you to throw in the towel. But of course this is Africa and you will pretend that you did not do anything wrong.

We have observed the Minister’s attempts to diffuse his inflammatory remarks by claiming that he was “quoted out of context or misconstrued”. This we find cheap if not annoying. We all saw you, Honourable minister, on video and heard you speak with pomp and glee about how you used Mr Kambwili. The best way out of this is simply to apologise to the people.

Back to the President; sir, any member of your government who exposes you like that or places you in a very difficult, nay, impossible position as Honourable Mweetwa has done deserves no leniency or afterthought. The time for loyalties must be over. Three years into your 5-year term, we expect you to be making examples of certain officers, cracking the whip, and reigning in your ship. It’s one thing for the economy to run away from you due to exigencies outside your control but quite another for members of your government to be all over without direction. It’s not a good look on you; trust us on this.

Put bluntly, those men in your government who are not performing to expectation are losing you votes for 2026, period! Notice we have not included women because the representation of women in your government is paltry. Another problem, but for another day.

We often wonder if the tales we’ve heard of a Hakainde Hichilema of corporate boardrooms are true. We look at Hichilema, the political candidate, and sometimes we struggle to reconcile him to Hichilema, the president. Where has that HH gone? Sir, do not think that you can reprise that result-oriented Hichilema by 2026 if you cannot crack the whip now. You never should have let that HH in you go in the first place, sir. The best time to bring him on is now if you desire to continue serving in that office.

Mr President sir, don’t carry dead wood. That dead wood you insist on carrying has experienced life as a minister or permanent secretary or whatever other portfolio it has served in thus far. Surely, if you let them go, they will understand that it’s for the greater good and nothing personal. Leadership demands it anyway. Zambians have been harping on this, but so far, nothing has come from you. Your enduring loyalty should be to Zambia and Zambians. The sentiments out here are so bad. Ignore the citizens, the voters, at your own peril.