Small things take away so much from UPND

Last time when we expressed our opinion against the sentiments made by opposition UPND vice-president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, we unwittingly ruffled his nerves. In fact, the entire UPND, save for a few objective members, was not pleased with our opinion.

This was after Mr GBM encouraged Zambians to emulate South Africans by voting for a rich president, saying if him and president Hakainde Hichilema went into State House, they would not steal public funds because they are already rich.

We categorically told the people of Zambia not to make a mistake of voting for such a leadership, with such thinking; and we went further to explain why. But maybe we were too frank in expressing our disagreement and that’s why our opinion was met with scathing hostility from the biggest opposition party.

This time, we will be careful and ensure that we sugarcoat our criticism of Mr GBM’s deeds so that we don’t bruise his ego. After all, it is not our objective to offend the subjects whom we write on in our editorial comments. We use this page to share our views so that both our readers and news sources can pick out something positive for the good of our country.

We have failed to resist the temptation of writing about the foul language from Mr GBM’s mouth when he featured on Prime TV’s Oxygen of Democracy programme on Monday. We feel that it was not the wisest thing to use “F” words on a prime time family television programme.

Mr GBM was trying to deliver a point over electoral violence, saying people have been forced to retaliate provocation from the ruling Patriotic Front. But in the interest of fairness, we will give our readers the entire context in which the UPND vice-president used insulting language on a live programme, so that people can draw their own inferences.

“Personally I have never thought of attacking anybody. I have never thought about that. It’s not actually Zambian. A Zambian to see a friend taking out a panga… come on, this has only started in this PF regime… When I was in PF there was no such thing. But I think people are watching because they are not happy. People are saying it is UPND, but UPND has always been on the receiving end. We are always beaten left right and center. But time has also come for us to defend ourselves. In Bemba we say nangu akanyelele everyday ulekanyanta, kalasuma. This is what PF is doing,” said Mr GBM.

“Ifwe tuli utunyelele, but everyday bale tunyanta, they want to see what we can do, so we will react. Even in a home my dear; everyday you are beating your son. You come home drunk and start beating him, no. Sit him down and talk to him. [if you don’t] he will f**k you up. Sorry to use that language but he will f**k you up, he will beat you.”

At that point programme host Kalani Muchima queried the UPND leader over his language and Mr GBM withdrew the remarks. However, it was already too late in the era of “rewind and pause”, the gaffe was already doing rounds on social media.

If Mr GBM did not use foul language on television, our opinion today would have been to disagree with his claim that political violence has only started with PF and specifically under President Edgar Lungu.

We feel this is a pure lie coming from a man who knows the truth; a man who grew up under UNIP, became a member of the MMD, served in the PF government and now toiling with the opposition UPND. One can say the violence has worsened under this regime because more people have died as a result, but it is certainly not new.

Mr GBM must remember very well what transpired in 1996 during election campaigns in the Moomba and Mkaika by-elections in April that year when UNIP, as the biggest opposition party unleashed its violent cadres to wrestle with Frederick Chiluba’s MMD thugs, leaving village houses burnt down and several victims in hospitals.

Considering that Mr GBM is now in the same party with Mr William Tekele Banda, we are sure he knows what sent him into exile under Chiluba and what made him famous during his service to Rupiah Banda’s MMD. We don’t need to refresh our memories to recall how Mr GBM himself fought his battle with Wynter Kabimba under president Michael Sata because the images of pangas are still vivid in our minds.

But we will not waste our time on that because we know that the UPND leader was merely politicking and hoping his TV audience had a short memory like his, so we will instead talk about what we found rather unacceptable.

We are grateful that Mr GBM realised that his language on television was uncalled for and he apologized before withdrawing the statement. But the trouble with human intellect is that no person is capable of unhearing what he or she has already heard.

Our concern is that Mr GBM noted that he used the “F” word, said sorry for doing so but repeated the same word. It seems he didn’t feel it was such a big deal to use a little foul language in order to deliver his point. Why?

Some people who have worked with Mr GBM before say that his household is actually rated 21, meaning when you are around him, you are likely to hear language not appropriate for anyone below that age. There are several insulting audio recordings of the UPND leader which are still in circulation to support that allegation, but we have never lived in Mr GBM’s house, therefore, our advice to him is based on what we have heard from his mouth now and in the past.

It is high time that Mr GBM started adjusting his speech in preparation for the high office that he seeks to attain. That language he likes to use is not presidential, it is not befitting of a devoted Christian and definitely not helpful to a political party that can no longer afford to make such small mistakes.

Mr GBM must know that under a political environment where money attracts people’s loyalties and affiliations to PF, the UPND has no option but to stay next to godliness. That is the only way that the party can attract citizens who value morals and integrity, because much as the party has a lot of money, it’s top leader has penguin hands. At least that’s what those who are defecting from UPND are telling us.

So Mr GBM, don’t take offence with our advice this time around because we mean well. People watch television with their children because those are supposed to be educational programmes. Therefore, please save the “F” word for your bedroom, no one will complain there. In fact, congratulations on losing weight!

         

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