The reported summoning of senior officers from State House and Cabinet Office over leakages is a good beginning that must be sustained in order to stem the malaise that threatens good order and propriety.
For sometime now a systematic pattern of theft and diversion of secret documents has become norm and somehow security agencies have appeared impotent to stop the scourge which, if allowed to continue, would undermine good governance.
We would also recommend that as the police investigate leakages there should be an effort to determine how telephone conversations are becoming increasingly vulnerable to recording.
There is need to establish the legal status of such recordings and whether those whose transmission has been violated can have recourse to the law.
There is absolutely nothing more frustrating and demoralizing than seeing a portion or the entire transcript of a conversation published without authority.
In the first place the very act of recording done in a surreptitious manner is certainly an affront to privacy and would elsewhere attract penalties under the appropriate telecommunication laws.
It is not clear in Zambia if a law exists to prohibit secret recordings and if indeed none exist there is need that ZICTA must consider it seriously because it is a danger to privacy and individual right to communication.
Every individual must have the right to communicate and share ideas without having the communication intercepted for use it was not intended for.
It has now become fashionable that individuals are recorded secretly without their permission and the results published without attracting legal sanction.
Similarly documents are stolen and published in a manner that would seem to suggest that this is not only acceptable but is a practice to be admired. This cannot be further from the truth.
Investigative journalism is not the same as intrusive meddling with prejudicial intentions. It is in fact an investigation into issues and circumstances that will help solve problems or bring to light issues of great import.
We therefore commend the police in their timely action to investigate theft of speeches and hope that this will be extended to the recent publication of an alleged conversation between PF’s Brian Hapunda and a colleague of his Ephraim Shakafuswa.
As we see it three issues have arisen in this matter: the first being the recording, the second being the publication of the recording and the third being the veracity of the publication.
These are matters in the public fora and it would not do for the police to hide under the cover of private investigation and fail to advise the public on progress. These are issues of public interest and therefore deserving of regular updating to ensure that nothing is swept under the carpet and that the truth is not only known but is dealt with in the most logical and definitive manner to put a stop to the scourge.