Dearth of information INFORMATION

is power. People die because there is no information.
Increasingly our country is labouring under severe pressure and misinformation because those who have the information would rather keep it to themselves, leaving the rest of the nation to speculate and at worst to suffer the manipulation of such information by those who may want to cause harm and injury.
Information is like a chameleon, it takes on the shade presented by the agent. Therefore those who want to blame the low water levels in Zambezi on the government will do so because the ordinary man has no means to determine the veracity of such information.
It takes a statement from the Zambezi River Authority to disclose that both Zambia and Zimbabwe are due for major fines because they are abstracting more water than allocated in view of the poor rainfall that has left the dams perilously low.
These explanations have assuaged the situation and to an extent limited the harm that was created by reports of poor Chinese generators that were installed at the dam.
Another controversy has been the contaminated oil supplied by Gunvor. To date the truth has not been clearly articulated to the Zambian people who at least know that this oil was acquired in 2012 and that the specifications reached at the time have been breached by the current shipment that has damaged Indeni Refinery.
The last time Zambians heard about this matter, was the summoning of executives from Gunvor who met with officials but the outcome of these meetings has not been revealed, leaving a very clear suspicion that there is an agenda to hide a wrongdoing.
These issues and allegations will only be dispelled if the appropriate authorities come out in the open and explain circumstances under which this country was lumbered with bad oil.
Another looming tragedy is the maize marketing crisis.
It is all very well to pontificate and tell villagers to sell on the open market but no such market exists for them because they have no alternative but sell at the price offered by the briefcase seller or face ruin if they insist on a higher price which they are unlikely to get.
The government must take it upon itself to champion the cause of the new maize marketing paradigm by clearly stating how and where farmers can sell their maize if they have no cooperative to sell it to.
In addition it must be made clear how the cooperative will price the maize and if indeed these cooperatives will have the money to pay for this maize. These are intricacies and details that must be communicated to the country so that no doubts are left because any void as the case is now will be filled by those who want this government to fail.
Both the quality and quantity of information must be enhanced and such information must be accessible to all using the most direct means possible.
It is not enough to publish in the newspapers which few people read, and indeed can afford, instead community radio stations, project officers, and extension personnel from all government institutions must be involved.
But perhaps most importantly the government information service must be used to the full to identify the markets and ensure that farmers know what is happening.
Maize is a landmine and no chances should be taken.

Categorized | Editorial

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