Editor's Comment

Cage lie peddlers

IT IS deeply saddening that some individuals in our society have made peddling of lies a full-time career.
Fake news is now the order of the day. Some individuals with personal or rather political agendas have taken to social media platforms to disseminate all sorts of fake news, most of it, unfortunately, targeted at Government.
The past few days were marred by speculation and anxiety after social media reports indicated that President Edgar Lungu had made reshuffles to Cabinet, a total fabrication as dispelled by Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations, Amos Chanda.
Mr Chanda assured the nation that contrary to social media speculation, Government processes are operating smoothly and that there is no Cabinet reshuffle.
Assertions that President Lungu had made Cabinet reshuffles were triggered after Minister of Defence Davies Chama acted as President while the Head of State was on a short leave within the country and the Vice-President was out of the country on national duty.
It is worrying that lies are becoming a prominent part of our day-to-day lives.
Not too long ago, social media carried fabrications insinuating that the Siavonga district commissioner would be using a fire tender as a personal-to-holder vehicle.
Honestly, who in their right frame of mind would want to drive a fire tender if not for the intended purpose?
Last month, the Copperbelt was characterised by riots after unscrupulous individuals peddled lies that Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation had been sold to the Chinese.
This is despite the bare fact that no State-owned enterprise can be sold without the involvement of Parliament, which comprises members from both the ruling and opposition parties.
Just a few months ago, Zambia was a topic of discussion in the international media after some unpatriotic Zambians with obvious political interests fabricated lies that China had taken over the power utility, Zesco, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) and Zambia Airports Corporation (ZAC).
It is sad that some citizens, who are sons and daughters of the soil, can find pleasure in painting Government black. What is not known to such misguided individuals is that it is practically impossible to dent the image of Government without affecting the country as a whole.
As rightly observed by Mr Chanda, wild allegations such as ones on reshuffles have potential to instil anxiety among investors and diplomats by painting a picture of instability and inconsistency in policy.
Peddling such falsehoods can actually paralyse Government operations by inciting disunity.
Objective economists will also bear witness that it is such careless talk that contributed to the weakening of the Kwacha against other major convertible currencies in the recent past.
Whatever the motivating factors may be, one thing is evident about people who have taken peddling of lies as a full-time job: they have energy, creativity and time, all wrapped into morbidity.
Our humble appeal, therefore, is for them to divert their creativity, energy and time towards productive things that will build the country.
We need creative minds that can invent solutions to today’s vexing problems.
Certainly those minds that are being wasted on inventing lies can be put to good use. This is the only way we are going to develop as a country. Instead of using social media to damage people and Government’s image, it can be used for research and share ideas on how to make this country better.
However, for those who have chosen the perverted way of peddling lies and have no intentions of changing, there are no two ways about it other than asking law enforcement agencies to do their job – bring the culprits to book.
ZICTA and law enforcement agencies should heed Mr Chanda’s call to curb the spread of fake news by ensuring that perpetrators are punished.
This is certainly the only way to curtail this cancer, which seems to be eating into our society’s moral fibre.

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