Editor's Comment

Keep insults out of politics


POLITICS is a competition of ideas.
It is ideas or the message a political party propagates which attracts, or should attract, people to it.
This is what Zambians have seen since the re-introduction of multi-party politics in 1990.
UNIP, the party of independence, was beaten by the MMD in 1991 because the latter offered new ideas to the people of Zambia.
In 2011, Zambians removed the MMD because the Patriotic Front offered the citizens hope for a better future.
This is what makes politicking interesting because people are exposed to philosophies of various political parties in a democratic dispensation like Zambia’s.
A party in government is guided by its manifesto when executing its mandate.
On the other hand, opposition political parties operate as governments-in-waiting by offering checks and balances.
Opposition parties should offer alternative views to the party in government and they must do so with civility.
That is why politics must be issue-based and not on personalities, especially if the discussion of that person is vile.
At a time when the opposition is expected to make suggestions on how to overcome the country’s challenges, we hear some of them lacing their talk with unpalatable language.
Insults attributed to leader of the deregistered National Democratic Congress, leader Chishimba Kambwili, are very disturbing, to say the least.
Sure such conduct, especially from one aspiring to lead the country, is unacceptable. This is misconduct that should be nipped in the bud so that a bad precedent is not set.
Leaving the matter without dealing with it accordingly, or laughing about it, would be socially unhealthy for Zambia.
In as much as Mr Kambwili is disappointed with the de-registration of the NDC and other grievances he may have against the governing PF, Zambian politics needs to step up to the plate in terms of addressing the real core issues.
Even if Mr Kambwili is upset for whatever reasons, he is expected to demonstrate maturity. He does not expect to win sympathy from the members of the public after being arrested for calling other people dogs.
It is totally unacceptable for a politician of whatever stripes to resort to insults. It not only demeans Zambians as a people but is a sad reflection of stains in Zambia’s politics.
Mr Kambwili and other opposition leaders are deemed potential presidents for 2021 presidency. But such manner of politics takes the country backwards.
How on earth does he ever expect the electorate in Chawama to vote for him if he refers to them as dogs?
It is not surprising, therefore, that already his remarks have angered some Chawama residents. Who wouldn’t? They feel hurt and are bound to hold this grudge against Mr Kambwili for a very long time.
Mr Kambwili should eat humble pie and apologise, and genuinely so. He should not try to justify his remark as an idiom because doing so could only stir more anger.
We all ought to appreciate the use of idioms, but the selection of these sayings matters. When and how they are used, could either be informative and educative or could be annoying and provocative.
Mr Kambwili seems to be trying to emulate the PF’s founding president, Michael Sata (MHSRIP), by being tough and somewhat aggressive. Evidently, however, Dr Kambwili falls far too short of Mr Sata’s management of people.
If he can take advice, Mr Kambwili should Mina amate! Hold your fire, slow down, tone down!

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