The barrage of propaganda buffeting the Zambian people is getting more shrill and desperate. Truth has long been sidelined for deliberate disinformation and negative persuasion to demonise, denigrade and at worst create a hostile atmosphere devoid of goodwill and peaceful co-existence among the various political groups.
Propaganda is so manifestly vile and crafted in an unconscionable form to seemingly pass for truth especially among those with little or no analytical skills.
For example the recent propaganda regarding the alleged courting of Edith Nawakwi as running mate to President Lungu has two very clear intentions.
The first is to demoralize the women within the PF who may indeed be vying for the position but secondly and perhaps more importantly it is intended to show that President Lungu has no trust in his own membership, hence the desire to embrace a party that has been an ardent critic of the ruling party.
The language used in propaganda is equally instructive as it is designed to create perception, change opinion and invariably undermine and sap the strength and morale of the “enemy”.
Propaganda has nothing to do with the truth or indeed the veracity of issues.
It is simply a psychological mechanism directed at an enemy in this case against the ruling party by shaping public opinion around those issues that matter to the public such as infrastructural development, presidential empowerment fund, food security, the mining industry.
In spite of repeated assurances of food security and in spite of visual images showing that hundreds of bags of mealie meal are on the streets of Lilongwe, Malawi, illegally the opposition mantra remains that the reckless Government has exported maize at US$200 and is now importing at US$500 per tonne.
The public, who also happen to be the electorate, are left to their own devices to either accept that the country is food secure or that indeed this Government is totally negligent, incompetent and therefore unsuitable to hold power for exporting when the country is in a serious food deficit.
Equally the Presidential Market Empowerment Fund has recently come under attack with suggestions that Government has no money to implement the project.
This narrative totally ignores the fact that hundreds of marketeers on the Copperbelt have already benefitted from this project which is designed as a revolving fund from which many more will benefit.
The impression given is that the project has been a flop and undoubtedly there are citizens who will believe this and this is the power of propaganda.
Zambians must be on guard in this election period to evaluate information in order to make an informed opinion.
There is bound to be an avalanche of propaganda from both the Government and the opposition in their quest to seek and woo the support of the electorates hence every effort will be made to demonize, undermine and indeed speak down against individual politicians, the parties and in the case of PF the government.
The mistake will be to ignore propaganda.
This will be done at the peril of the target institution.