The closure of MUVI Television station as well as Komboni and Itezhi-Tezhi community radio stations is part of an on-going, heinous scheme by the PF leadership to gag any critical voices and media platforms in our homeland.
Apparently, the PF leadership views freedom of speech and freedom of the press as superfluous and a danger to its crooked governance. We are dealing with a clique that is determined to silence and destroy any business organization, civil society entity or any patriotic Zambian that shows civil courage and stands up against its vices.
The question is how did we find ourselves in such a mess? How did we, within a period of 2 years, allow the creation of a dictatorship that is destroying any semblance of democracy and literary holding the country hostage? The simple explanation is that we, the citizens, significantly contributed to the creation of this dictatorship. We witnessed how President Edgar Lungu and his cohorts took over the helm of the PF with crude force. We were mere spectators when the PF government terrorized opposition political parties. We stood by and watched as they bundled the Director of Public Prosecution out of office; as they went ahead and closed The Post newspaper; as they harassed firms and institutions that had business contacts with The Post; and as PF cadres became law enforcement agents and the law in themselves.
We were still gullible when the PF leadership requested us for another 5-year mandate. Edgar Lungu did not vote himself into power. Not disregarding the extensive evidences of electoral malpractices and manipulations, the PF still commanded significant levels of popularity in many parts of our homeland, including the capital city. Today, we are still unmoved when 3 media stations are closed. Even tomorrow, we will continue to close our eyes and pretend we are blind to the atrocities being committed in our midst. In a blasphemous fashion, we have even started elevating Edgar Lungu as sent and anointed by God! In short, we are part of the problem. We have created amongst us a majority that sees nothing wrong with the behaviour of the PF leadership.
We are not alone in this regard. The Germans in the 1930s exercised their vote to usher Adolf Hitler into power. He was adored and glorified by the masses. Even when it became public knowledge that millions of people were being exterminated in concentration camps, the euphoria surrounding Hitler did not wane off. It took senseless massacres of millions of young soldiers and burning cities to bring an end to the Nazi rule. Many other dictators after that have ridden on the democratic electoral process, blindfolded the cheering masses and turned themselves into demigods. But the end has always been the same – disastrous.
Our situation reminds me of the famous poem of a Lutheran pastor, Martin Niemöller(1892–1984), whom I had a rare lifetime privilege to listen and talk to. In reference to the Nazi atrocities and the passive reaction of the German intellectuals, he stated:
“ First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Dictators do not have moral principles and boundaries. Those that are today cheering at the fate of the closed media houses will tomorrow be at the receiving end of our homegrown tranny. By that time, there will be no critical media left to speak on their behalf. We have dug our own graves.