THE acquittal of former Republican President Rupiah Banda must have come as a great relief to many Zambians.
This verdict, we hope, marks the end of an era, an era in which a small group of unelected people could abuse political power and state power by holding leaders to ransom, thereby subjecting the country to the rule by media tyranny.
We must be the only country in the world where two former Presidents were stripped of their immunities only to be acquitted by courts of law because the cases against them were found to be contrived and without any basis.
These acquittals speak very seriously to the manner in which our former Presidents are treated and indeed to how the law can be so manifestly abused by a section of society that is intent on maligning and disparaging former heads of State, without any regard to the veracity or indeed falsehood of the allegations against them.
It is ironical that these very same people who are quick to condemn and malign others are themselves so thin skinned, that any form of criticism justified or not makes them rush to the courts demanding huge amounts of money that cannot equate to their worth in character or place in society.
Just because they managed to force President Michael Sata to appoint some of their friends as Judges in our courts makes them believe they will get away with their outlandish demands.
They have no time to think of the harm they have caused to other people whose lives they have destroyed by lies, innuendo and calumny. They can only think of themselves.
It is sad that our society has tolerated the wanton abuse of character assassination which has been perpetuated in the name of freedom of expression. Imbedded in our Constitution is the principle of freedom of expression which is a noble principle intended to facilitate wholesome and constructive dialogue as dictated by liberal democracy.
The country has instead witnessed abusive, retrogressive and out rightly divisive hate speech that has shown no regard for individuals in their position as public officers and indeed family members.
Wild allegations have been made some of them countered by such institutions as the Mukelabai tribunal, which clearly indicated that lies had been pedaled for the purpose of removing him from office for the purpose of supplanting and subverting the country’s criminal justice system.
Time has come for the country to reset itself and create for itself an atmosphere that will respect divergence of opinion without resorting to polemics devoid of rationality, sense and logic.
Our political dialogue must be imbued with a clear sense of integrated logic, which will, apart from being emotional, inculcate and engender intellectual vision with an evaluative as well as pragmatic dimension.
Very often the element of ethos and practice are totally absent in our national debates which centre more on the pathos because it is often easier to express, does not demand proof and will often not be subjected to an evaluation. The end result is that such debate is not only destructive but takes away from the morale and commitment that some citizens may hold in their determination to give their best to the country.
No Zambian should be afraid to aspire for presidency for the fear of being perpetually maligned unless they kowtow and appease those who may have the power to abuse the freedom of expression.
Time has come for the nation to stand up against these tin pot tyrants that have made it a profession and serious money making venture to recklessly abuse and malign others because their paymasters will come to their aid.