President Edgar Lungu  addresses  Zambian's leaving in Zimbabwe at the Zambia's Ambassador to Zimbabwe's resident in Harare on April 29,2015 -Picture by THOMAS NSAMA
President Edgar Lungu addresses Zambian’s leaving in Zimbabwe at the Zambia’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe’s resident in Harare on April 29,2015 -Picture by THOMAS NSAMA

President Edgar Lungu’s announcement that he is considering holding back the Access to Information Bill from tabling in Parliament because of what he views as unethical treatment of secret government information by the media is most concerning. Significant about the president’s statement is that he seems to believe that enacting the ATI is a presidential favour to citizens which it is absolutely not.

Access to information is a right in a democracy

Access to information is a right in a democracy. President Lungu would be well advised not to quickly fall into the trap almost all his predecessors did, of believing that the holder of the presidential office is king among us. While our current constitution does confer on the holder of the presidential office inordinate power, even under it he is not a monarch. The president serves at the pleasure of the people of Zambia and that he happens to be personally unhappy does not give him authority to delay democratic progress. There certainly exists enough authority spread among the various offices of government to deal with any person who unlawfully reveals secret government information.

Simply stated, the answer to a crime, if a crime has been committed, is not for the president to threaten the whole country with abuse of his own power. The people of Zambia want the ATI, could we please have it tabled in parliament now that we all know all it needs is for the President to say – “take it there.

By Laura Miti

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Obviously, if there’s abuse of government secrets, culprits, including the media must be made liable, or even closed down.

    Abusers are like thieves. You don’t stop development activities because you fear thieves will break in and steal from you. You keep working and put protections in place to deal with abusers.

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  2. Our Lazy Lungu has consulted the expert in this business! He knows what to do!

    Just follow the Mugabe plan. When you lose elections, delay announcing the result for two months while the “errors” in counting votes get fixed.

    When an independent newspaper criticizes you, send the “intelligence” services around to firebomb their offices.

    When Editors or Owners will not write the news as you want it, arrest and torture, and then shoot them.

    And if all this does not work, find scapegoats and blame everything that you have caused to go wrong on them.

    For those that continue to expose your lavish spending of national funds on yourself and your cronies, send them to South Africa so xenophobia can finish them off – all 3 million of them.

    Lungu, learn from the Master. Robert…

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  3. Current reporting trends in both print and electronic private media have made it increasingly clear that the media in Zambia is fundamentally lacking in ethics and therefore not ripe for absolute freedom.

    No President wants to leave a legacy of Anarchy in a country he found in one piece. Anarchy cannot be totally discounted under the fuel of an irresponsible private media such as the one in Zambia today.

    Against this background, President Lungu’s judgment of the situation is correct. The media in Zambia is not up to informing. We are reading the writer’s opinion. Not what happened. The private media is up to destruction, malice, with almost all news centred on ego.

    President Lungu is right on this one.

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  4. This so called lawyer, Chagwa Lungu should know better. You have nothing to worry about, as long as you commit no crimes, or theft of government funds meant for poor Zambians. Government cash is not for your, or R.B’s corrupt pockets!
    Weve already been told, while @ Mfuwe during your “Working Holiday” a plan was hatched to buy weapons via dubious middlemen who’ve been involved in “Oil Scams” @ inflated prices so U cream off the difference.
    Do You honestly expect The Media to keep shtum, when they clearly see another ZAMTROP Scam about to happen, especially that you are now in bed with Swindler class 1- R.B??
    Chiluba, & some Congoman already swindled Zambia in a similar arms deal.
    ZAMBIAN’S NEED TO WAKE UP!!!

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    • You hit the nail on the head. That’s why he has chosen to remain minister of defence so that he can reap hard in the shortest time why hiding behind state secrets. People should put pressure so he can fill the post.

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  5. Laura – Which people of Zambia want ATI? People do not even know what this ATI is. The media is so irresponsible in Zambia right now that the ATI just becomes a security risk. And just a reminder Laura, an obligation can be a favor if I hold the four aces.

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