We have taken note of the criticism that has been rendered to us by the Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP) leader, Mr Sean Tembo over our story in which we quoted the Opposition Alliance chairperson Mr Charles Milupi. His claim is that News Diggers has been paid by PF to fight his party, and further that we have personal scores to settle against him. This is laughable, but not strange.
The problem we have in this country is that those in government view private media as an opposition outfit that is paid to push for regime change. On the other hand, those in opposition consider private media as a partner is in the agenda to defeat the ruling party in elections. That is why they enjoy and share every single article and editorial opinion that exposes bad governance by those in power. But the moment a private media house exposes a wrong committed by an individual in the opposition, it means we have been paid. In our view, that is wrong.
If it is a crime to operate independently from both the ruling party and the opposition, then we are guilty. Rather, we find ourselves duty bound to expose bad governance, but at the same time enlighten the public about the caliber and character of those who are seeking political power before they are elected into office. The moment citizens vote, it takes another five years before they can get another opportunity to correct a mistake – as can be seen from the regrets of those who voted for the PF in 2016.
The case of Mr Sean Tembo is very simple. When NGOCC executive director Engwase Mwale expressed concern about the language used in the debate between the PeP leader and PF media Director Sunday Chanda, we took interest to check what had been going on in the WhatsApp group because the NGOCC leader doesn’t make unnecessary comments on social media.
Later, we noticed the insults from Mr Tembo and we felt that was inappropriate language coming from a man who wants to be President of Zambia in two years time. More significantly, Mr Tembo is spokesperson of a group of over 10 other political party leaders who would like to form government and lead Zambians. That is our only interest.
The same way that we ask the incumbent State House spokesperson to be measured in his language when making public statements because he carries the image of the Head of State, is the same way that we thought Mr Tembo could have acted with sobriety in his debate because he is the face of other political leaders in the alliance.
That is what necessitated our call to Opposition Alliance chairperson Mr Charles Milupi – a man we regard in very high esteem as a political leader – and he assured supporters of the Alliance that he would counsel Mr Tembo as he always does. If that statement from Mr Milupi has irked the PeP leader, he can have a conversation with his chairman, but he should not accuse us of having a personal agenda against him.
If we were in the business of attacking individuals or misleading the public, we were not going to have our faces and office address publicized in the manner it is. We are a responsible publication that respects all citizens including those who don’t like our work. That is why we have told people where to find us if they have issues to address with our newspaper.
But we know exactly what is going on here. Mr Tembo thinks he is a very shrewd politician who can use journalists only to satisfy his immediate needs and start insulting them later, but he is making a big mistake by underrating the intelligence of others. He may think he is more sophisticated in his deeds but soon he will realize that he has never been ahead, after all. At the rate he is going, we are very certain that his mouth will lead him into the pit that he dug for himself.
We have heard his defence that the insults on Mr Chanda were not made by him, but by his (now suspended) personal assistant who had access to his phone’s WhatsApp account at night. The question is; will he be able to publish the names of his so-called personal assistants who used his phone? Can he publish the letter of suspension to the PeP official who breached the party rules by insulting? No, he can’t because we know for a fact that it was him using his own phone to insult. Like we said, he is making a mistake to underrate other people’s intelligence. Who, in his right thinking mind can be fooled by the multiple personality disorder that Mr Tembo is selling to the public?
Anyway, we have accepted the criticism from the PeP president, unclear as it may be, because we understand that the public we serve deserves the right to question our work. But if Mr Tembo himself wants to be immune to criticism then he is in a wrong career. He cannot ask Zambians to vote for him without allowing them to scrutinize his personality.
As we close the chapter with Mr Sean Tembo, we would like to say that we feel sorry for his Opposition Alliance partners because the position he holds has the potential to sink the whole group. We hope they will watch him very closely. Fortunately, that is not our baby to nurse. We have more serious issues to discuss with our readers and we will waste no further space on this pompous politician. Good luck Mr ‘know it all’ Tembo.