IT MAY be possible that the UPND leadership sometimes feels that we are too ruthless with them as a newspaper, that we hit them too hard too often.
The point is firstly, as the largest opposition party they are the government-in-waiting; so they attract more thorough scrutiny than anyone else. Secondly, their behaviour or ‘‘attitude’’, or as the Americans call it, body language and utterances deserve a bashing from any national daily worth its name.
They say the cake is in the eating and the evidence of what we see as UPND’s intolerable aggressive posture, foul language, scheming and association with renowned shady characters, is spread in black and white in our news pages.
Without going too far into recent history we take the events of the past one week in which the UPND featured prominently – in bad light.
On Monday July 25 we carried the story ‘‘Duped voters protest’’. These were the findings of our investigations which showed that the UPND and their mouth piece The Post were the funders of the alleged scam to implicate the Electoral Commission of Zambia in the so-called 500,000 Malawian nationals purported to have been hired by the ruling Patriotic Front to be included on the voters roll database so that they vote in the August 11 election.
The ‘‘story’’, which broke out in banner headlines by the Post Newspaper and shocked the nation, has fizzled into nothingness after the Daily Nation proved it to be a dangerous, criminal hoax by the tabloid. As we speak two UPND minor officials are in police custody awaiting trial over allegations that they ‘‘bought’’ voters cards in PF strongholds of Eastern Province in a diabolic scheme to disenfranchise the unsuspecting PF supporters on election day.
On Tuesday, July 26, we carried the headline ‘‘Mwandi terror’’ in which UPND cadres accompanying their leader Hakainde Hichilema brutalized innocent villagers of Kasaya village of Mwandi constituency in Western Province, beating and driving the hapless people from their homes after they allegedly refused to raise the opposition party symbol of an open hand.
Wednesday, July 27, the Daily Nation carried the story ‘‘Post wants uprising’’. This was a people’s reaction to the shocking picture and story in The Post – the UPND official medium- depicting five mystery figures clad in Zambia Police uniform hiding their faces behind campaign posters of Mr Hichilema.
As if the picture was not disgusting enough, The Post quoted the unnamed ‘‘police officers’’ as pledging to bring down the ruling PF government by campaigning against it. It was the first time in Zambia’s 51 years of nationhood that such an absurdity has ever been heard of. To many Zambians who love their country, the assertion and the fact that the newspaper carried the story was too ghastly to contemplate.
In between these events, we have had the story where police raided the home of UPND running mate Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba in Kasama and allegedly discovered seven petrol bombs among other arsenals. Another UPND cadre was arrested in Kanyama this week wielding a home-made petrol bomb.
While Zambians were debating the rather strange ‘‘sexy scandal’’ by the UPND leader when he called on the women of Chingola to deny their husbands conjugal rights for not supporting the opposition party, a few days later he followed it up with the vow of ‘‘Taking the bull by…..’’ as reported in the Daily Nation of July 26.
The story was too explicit to be repeated here but Mr Hichilema did not deny uttering those words which left many wondering if the man has forgotten that he is bidding for the Presidency of Zambia and is NOT a ‘‘kachema’’ as he fondly calls himself.
It is therefore clear from these few examples that we do not hate the UPND, HH or GBM for bashing them sometimes. They always ask for it.