PF DEPUTY media director Antonio Mwanza’s statement that President Edgar Lungu is “extremely tolerant” of his critics shows that he is a tragedy and a young hypocrite who cannot inspire his own generation, says Brebner Changala.
Speaking on Radio Christian Voice’s ‘Chat Back’ programme on Tuesday, Mwanza said: “This is a President who has been so tolerant to an extent that we have got people like [NDC consultant] Mr Chishimba Kambwili who insults the President every day. Ngati kwacha chabe basakila matusi yotukwana (every morning they are looking for insults to use against the President) and you have never heard the President retaliate, you have never heard the President raise his voice. Not that he (President Lungu) is weak, not that he can’t hit back; he can hit back that you can faint!” Mwanza said.
“But this is a President who is extremely tolerant.”
He further claimed that the President was forgiving.
“This is the reason why even his worship the mayor of Lusaka City was forgiven by the President, embraced back and given an opportunity to serve this country as mayor of Lusaka,” said Mwanza.
“So President Edgar Lungu has a forgiving heart and that’s the reason why you have people insulting him every day. You can’t do this with [John] Magufuli (President of Tanzania), you can’t do this with [Paul] Kagame in Rwanda where you wake up in the morning and you start insulting the President on Facebook, radio, television.”
But Changala said Mwanza was motivated by material things.
“He is not only a liar but a hypocrite who wants to turn a blind eye to the wrong things that are happening in this country…he is a young hypocrite who cannot inspire his own generation. Mr Mwanza is a tragedy to the youths of this country, a huge tragedy,” Changala said.
“I must say that in a country where the young population below the age of 40-45 is amounting to almost 85 per cent, it tells you that sooner than later this generation must take over from the older generation to run and administer this country in a manner that is morally correct and intellectually on an upper level. But when you have young educated citizens start behaving like some people who have never seen the inside of a classroom, let alone living in a civilised town like Lusaka and beyond, you get extremely worried.”
Mwanza, the long-serving spokesperson of the opposition Forum for Democracy and Development, only joined the PF in January this year and was appointed the ruling party’s deputy media director, a position which previously did not exist.
Changala said Mwanza has had the privilege of going beyond grade seven to the University of Zambia.
“One would tend to believe that his calibre and approach to national issues will have an upper hand and will provide leadership to his fellow youths. Alas, this is a new generation that is motivated by material things without shame and in the minimum character responsibility to inspire other young men and women who are in their age group,” he lamented.
“If this kind of desperation that Antonio Mwanza and his colleagues are showing is emulated by other youths, this country is headed for doom. At the level of Antonio Mwanza, he cannot go on a radio station and praise the development of the media in this country because of bwana Edgar Lungu when the media in this country is under threat, constant threat from the State…other media houses have closed under the watch of the administration of Edgar Lungu’s intolerance to divergent views. And Mr Antonio Mwanza cannot glorify that kind of barbarism just because him he is getting a salary whose source he is not even equally aware, that money he is being paid by the media section of the PF.”
He said President Lungu was behind the reduction in democratic space and the assault on the media in Zambia.
“People are talking about corruption and that is the institution of PF that he has gone to join and wants to defend that because he is eating and he has forgotten that there is a larger society that has suffered immensely under PF, complaining on daily basis, poverty levels are sky rocketing. And when you come to the democratic space, it has reduced under the administration of Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu,” Changala noted. “This is a police state where other political parties with divergent views are not allowed to assemble and disseminate whatever information they have for their followers. It is shameful that Mwanza can tell us things are okay when the democratic space has shrunk. It’s shameful and a tragedy.”
He said it was a tragedy that the current crop of learners had their education and reasoning imbedded in their stomach.
“It shows you what tertiary education the young women and men today are getting which is imbedded in their stomach and not in their grey matter. It’s a matter we must strive to correct,” said Changala.