THE hate campaign and unjustified attacks against former president Rupiah Banda being propagated by the Post Newspaper through sponsored statements by the UPND have been condemned as an abrogation of civilised political dialogue.
And civil rights activist Brebner Changala says the Post Newspaper is a platform of hate speech against the former president and that it is unfortunate that the UPND which has been branded a Bantustan and tribal grouping by the Post was now being used to propagate hatred against selected prominent citizens.
Administrative officer in the fourth republican president’s office Mikatazo Wakumelo told the Daily Nation in an interview that he was disappointed with the UPND officials who were abusing former president Banda.
He said it was sad that UPND attached no respect or importance to the office of former president, adding that the reference to Mr Banda as a cadre of President Edgar Lungu was unfortunate especially that it was coming from a member of parliament who should understand the role and place of that office.
“We are disappointed with Katombora member of Parliament for the UPND Derrick Livune who has decided to describe His Excellency the Fourth Republican President Rupiah Bwezani Banda as a cadre for President Lungu,” said Mr. Wakumelo.
He said it was disappointing to note that Mr. Livune decided to play politics showing his lack of knowledge about the role of Mr. Banda at such functions.
“If he is not well vested with information he must not play politics in that way. President Banda deserves respect from all Zambians regardless of their political affiliation,” he said.
He reminded the UPND MP that Mr. Banda was once a president of Zambia and the initiator of the programme to have the Lusaka National Park which was launched last week.
“How did President Banda go there? He was invited by President Lungu. And that does not qualify him to call RB a cadre,” he said.
Mr. Wakumelo said UPND officials should learn to play civilized politics, adding that wanting to appear in newspapers for the sake of appearing would not help them at all.
He said the former president attaches importance to all national programmes and therefore UPND should stop attacking him in the manner they were doing.
And Mr Changala said the Post Newspaper’s obsession with former president Banda was outside the normal journalism ethics and displayed a bigoted attitude that Zambians should frown upon because it was causing divisions in the country.
He said the Post’s hatred for former president Banda should be taken seriously because it was attempting to place a wedge between President Lungu and the former president.
The civil rights activist said it had been the Post Newspaper’s agenda to have Zambians have the same hatred the newspaper had against its sworn enemies, adding that Zambians should reject the hate speech being propagated by the newspaper.
Mr Changala said the story in the Saturday edition of the Post Newspaper in which the UNPD, a victim of hate speech from the owner of the newspaper, had labeled Mr Banda as PF cadre had no meaning except that it was hate-driven.
He said President Lungu had been preaching love and reconciliation and that hatred the Post had exhibited against president Banda over his close association with the Head of State was going to scorch the newspaper.
“The hatred the Post Newspaper has exhibited against former president Banda must be taken seriously because it is out of the miscued belief of what the former head of state could have done.
“The obsession the Post has shown over former president Banda is outside journalism ethics as it is hate-driven. The Post Newspaper and its owner want every Zambian to hate the people they do not like. This is not humanly possible. How can a meeting between President Lungu and the former president invoke such acidic hatred and acrimony against President Banda?” Mr Changala wondered.
He said he was disappointed with the UPND for accepting to be used by the Post Newspaper to drive the hate agenda in the country, recalling that not too long ago, the opposition political party was a victim of the same perverse hatred from the newspaper.
Mr Changala cautioned the UPND that when the newspaper was be through with vilifying former president Banda, the newspaper would still go for the opposition party to continue spewing their hatred on its leaders.
He said the Post Newspaper had a political party of its own in the name of Rainbow Party under former Patriotic Front secretary general and Justice minister, Wynter Kabimba and that time would soon come when the UPND would be on the assault agenda of the newspaper.
Mr Changala appealed to Zambians to learn to respect leaders and elders even if they did not like them or agree with them.
“Let Zambians realise that the Post has been a platform of nothing but hate speech. Let us preach love, peace and oneness and avoid the kind of hatred being engineered by some newspapers.
“It is not benefiting anyone of us as citizens. Let the Post invest its energy and resources in building the Rainbow Party and stop promoting hate speech,” Mr Changala said.