Editor's Comment

Politics of lies destructive

Maize.

LEVELS to which some politicians are stooping to gain political mileage are not only disturbing but show that some individuals have refused to move with time as they are still stuck to pre-civilisation era.
We are particularly disappointed by the lies peddled by United Party for National Development chairperson of elections, Gary Nkombo, that Government has distributed maize bran meant for pigs and chickens to residents of Hamapande area in Monze.
Mr Nkombo, who is also Mazabuka lawmaker, went on to insinuate that in Eastern Province where President Edgar Lungu comes from, people are given real maize while in Southern Province people are given food meant for animals and birds.
This kind of careless talk and politicking is dangerous as it can plunge the country into chaos.
Which government, no matter how cruel, can do such a thing?
Deep down their hearts, the proponents of these lies know the truth – that the maize bran was meant for livestock.
Government is cognisant of the fact that hunger is not only affecting humans but livestock as well.
This is why Government has been distributing both mealie meal and maize bran to the affected areas.
It is, however, jaw-dropping that some politicians have seen this as an opportunity to twist the truth in a shameless bid to win political sympathy.
Such levels of moral depravity reduce the standing of politicians in the eyes of members of the public. Such blatant lies, told with a straight face, have potential to create resentment in the hearts of people against the Government. It is unfair not only to the people being told the lies but the Government, which has a responsibility to feed its citizens.
Politicians should know that some of their statements, most of them careless, appeal to sensibilities of citizens. In the case of Mr Nkombo’s statement, it was evidently meant to alienate President Lungu from the people of one region.
What has happened to rational debate based on facts? What has happened to reason and honesty? Are citizens that gullible to take all lies from some politicians?
Have our politicians been drained of all issues and ideas to a point of resorting to peddling lies? Well, it would seem so.
While the opposition indisputably is needed to provide checks and balances to the government of the day, the UPND seems to be losing its relevance.
The opposition party seems to have difficulties in choosing when to politick and when to work together for the good of the country.
As rightly noted by Patriotic Front Southern Province chairperson Lawrence Evans, UPND should know when to politick.
“We urge the UPND to know when to politick and when to stand together as a country, and one such time to stand together is now as we deal with the lack of food in some areas because hunger dehumanises and does not know tribe or political affiliations,” Mr Evans said.
Politicians need to understand that despite political differences, whether in power or in opposition, they have one thing in common – to work for the good of the people.
It is, therefore, unfair to mock those who are affected by hunger by using them to advance narrow political interests.
This is a serious matter that needs concerted efforts of all stakeholders, including the opposition.
Sincerity and civility demands that the efforts Government is making to alleviate the hunger in affected areas are acknowledged. In like manner, if the opposition feels Government is not doing enough, it can say so without lying.
Instead of sinking to primitive politics of mudslinging, the opposition should make themselves more relevant.
Political leaders must understand the power of words they speak. Words can build or destroy. Mr Nkombo’s words were, by any measure, very divisive and destructive.
One careless utterance is enough to plunge the country into civil strife.
Is that what we want for this country? No.
We, therefore, urge politicians to forsake lies and embrace politics of civility.

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