Saturday, February 27, 2010

Current standard of political debate is below par – Miyanda

Current standard of political debate is below par – Miyanda
By George Chellah
Sat 27 Feb. 2010, 08:00 CAT

HERITAGE Party (HP) leader Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda yesterday observed that the current standard of political debate in the country is below par. Commenting on the current political environment, Brig Gen Miyanda pleaded with his political colleagues to restrain themselves.

“And reduce the political temperature that had been raised. Instead we must raise the standard of debate. Currently the standard of debate is below par and does not inspire one to join in and enjoy a productive discourse,” he said.

“We must bring up quality arguments so that we all learn something from one another and inspire our young folk. Each time you insult somebody, this has the opposite effect because they do not hear you and ignore what you are saying.

Regrettably this malaise is not confined to government leaders only but is prevalent even among the opposition. This is a sure sign of why things do not change even when the opposition become the government because they continue to do the very things they were condemning.”

Brig Gen Miyanda stated that Vice-President George Kunda's use of intelligence reports to vilify political opponents at airports was an example of how to deliberately create tension and yet add no value to the national agenda.

“The purpose of the daily briefs and reports that the intelligence officers submit to the Commander-In-Chief are meant to keep him up to date on security matters. Such reports are not intended to be used as missiles or to show how knowledgeable the recipient is about each Zambian citizen,” Brig Gen Miyanda said.

“Unfortunately, under our system the President is even briefed about internal deliberations of political parties literally on a daily basis. This is because opposition parties are viewed not as citizens but as enemies who are permanently a danger to society. This attitude is wrong and unfair and must be stopped forthwith.

“In the army, an enemy, once identified, has to be destroyed or completely neutralised. But in politics one may have opponents but they are not enemies.

This trait in our politicians has to change before we can make progress in our search for an ideal political system.

In our case, political power is used not for national development but for personal survival and for crushing perceived enemies; our short political history is full of examples. No amount of writing and re-writing our constitution will change this until a proper understanding of freedom and democracy are attained.

“A Constitution is just a piece of paper whose value or worthiness depends on what you do with the contents therein. You either practice them or ignore them.

No amount of writing, re-writing or amending the constitution will achieve the democracy that is shouted about. When in power, the winners of an election make sure the losers feel it and have it in them to vanquish and destroy the opposition; they ensure that their friends and relatives and those who agree with them or support them or dance to their tune are rewarded. It is the African way, the Zambian formula.”

Brig Gen Miyanda stated that Vice-President Kunda should refrain from misguiding simple Zambians at airports who look up to him and believe whatever he says because he was supposed to be a defender of the Constitution and as Minister of Justice is expected to be fair and just to other citizens.

“His cadres truly believe whatever he says; this is the reason for him to have such a big heart and be slow to anger and not behave like the cadres he addresses, many of whom do not have the advantage of the knowledge he has acquired through his education and now high public office.

He should try hard to be a fountain of justice because of the portfolio of justice that he carries,” Brig Gen Miyanda. “It is not too late for him to change.

Being the stronger of the 'combatants', and bearing in mind that he is not there to vanquish an enemy, he must demonstrate that he values the law he has studied and will not be vindictive or partisan in interpreting it.

Hon George Kunda must thus restrain himself from using intelligence reports as drafts for his airport speeches; this is a strange way of using such reports and is not a common practice. World over intelligence reports are submitted to Heads of State and Government but hardly do we ever hear them used in the manner that Zambian ministers do.”

Brig Gen Miyanda also pleaded with his colleagues in the opposition to review their political and tactical strategy.

“I doubt that their present media blitz is efficacious; it may be doing them more harm than good. In fact, they should not underestimate or look down on one Vernon Johnson Mwaanga; he is a Maestro in his own right.

They should take an interest in what role he is playing; he was with KK, he was at the side of FTJ, he was with Levy and now with RB; all these have valued him,” Brig Gen Miyanda stated. “Remove emotion from your thought process and you will begin to see things you are not seeing.

Change your ways if you are serious about your concern for the people of Zambia because the current crusade is leading us to nowhere. Above all, always remember not to throw out the baby with the bath water.”

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