We are concerned that former finance minister Alexander Chikwanda wrote over 3,000 words trying to advise our leaders, both inside and outside government on how to deal with the prevailing political situation, but the public seems to be dwelling on “who swapped Michael Sata’s last speech to Parliament?”

This is where we lose it as a country. When critical issues of national unity and development are brought to the public, we look around for where the message divides, more than it unites us. We are a country of citizens who find satisfaction in bickering.

Alexander Chikwanda is not a perfect human being, and we used this entire page yesterday trying to show his hypocrisy. But even in his posturing, there is some positive criticism that he is trying to share with the leaders of our land. We also take note that in his statement, the former finance minister stepped on the toes of those who occupied State House during president Michael Sata’s reign.

Key among those who have taken offence with shikulu Chikwanda’s insinuations is former State House press aide George Chellah, who has written a befitting response to the old man. In a tiny fraction of the long statement, shikulu Chikwanda was accusing those who handled Sata’s speeches, of swapping what was “ordained” to be read in Parliament on September 19, 2014, with something else. We feel Chellah had the right to react to this, and he did. But what about the rest of us citizens? What did we pick from shikulu Chikwanda’s counsel?

We have noted on various social media platforms that people have jumped on this dispute of words between two ‘retired’ government officials, who have nothing to do with the problems we face as a country today. People have dumped everything else that is in that statement and are spending hours adding petrol to the bickering while loosing the whole essence of the strongly worded statement.

The stupidity of this argument is that shikulu Chikwanda is telling us that Sata’s speech was swapped; and Chellah says it was revised with the president’s permission, but us as readers, don’t seem interested in understanding the message that was read or the message that should have been read.

It’s like the Christian and Islam argument of “who is the true messenger of God?” How much does it matter who the true messenger is when they are both delivering the same message of peace, love and unity? The more important question is “did you get the message?”

In his statement, shikulu Chikwanda reveals that Sata felt he had too much power as head of state and he wanted certain executive functions of the presidency to be handed down to a new office of Prime Minister. His reason was that: “As we have seen in the not too distant past, it is not always that presidents have acted with the moral restraint expected of them.” Isn’t that such a sweet topic for us citizens to discuss while justice minister Given Lubinda is still talking about fine-tuning the Constitution?

Now, look at how Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba has given the speech-swapping debate a new twist, claiming Sata’s assistants withheld his appointment letter from the President assigning him as a diplomat to Egypt. What the public should know is that Mwamba is among the most talented spin-doctors Zambia has ever had. Yes, High Commissioner Mwamba might want the public to know about his case, but the bigger picture is that he is deliberately trying to completely deviate public attention from the core essence of shikulu Chikwanda’s statement.

This is exactly what the PF propagandists have been doing in this country to downplay the failures of their party and its government. To effectively illustrate that, we would like to share the observation made by Mukubesa Mundia, alias Petersen Zagaze, a musician whose intelligence we rate higher than our average opposition leaders.

“It’s evident that most of these opposition parties have not strategically invested in social media and bus station propaganda influence. The system that the ruling party has been using is utilising the excitement of many non innovative, less busy, socially excited and playful minds that own mobile phones and have WhatsApp, Twitter, Snap chat, Instagram and Facebook. Using these platforms, they have been confusing and derailing attention from sensitive, important and national pressing issues.

It has become more like a routine and all excited minds and jobless brains of many Zambians online work as vessels of transmitting these mental calculations.
The release of Hakainde Hichilema got overshadowed by pronouncements of mandatory/routine HIV testing.

The fire trucks and ambulance prices got overshadowed by simple online pictures of the president jogging in Kasama or eating mangoes by the roadside.

Chishimba Kambwili’s everyday corruption revelations are being overshadowed by cholera statistics.

When the nation was about to discuss Harry Kalaba’s resignation and the wrangles in the ruling party, controllable minds were made to discuss Hungry Lion and schools not opening.”

We can add, that when shikulu Chikwanda, a member of the PF Central Committee roasted his own party, saying it needed soul searching; when he said there was an intellectual vacuum in the country, our controllable minds were made to discuss speech swapping.

Where is the opposition in this country to spread the message that Chikwanda says police must allow the freedom of assembly for those who oppose the government? Where is the opposition to spread the news that Tutwa Ngulube, a PF member of parliament says his party has destroyed agriculture? Where is the opposition when Kelvin Bwalya Fube is single handedly defending the PF youths who intercepted illegal mukula belonging to the powers that be?

Well, our opposition propagandists are busy jostling for government positions in a government that they have not even formed yet. Shame!