By Tasila Lungu
It has come to my attention that I have now become the victim of two troublesome and untrue stories which have circulated widely – it was reported online in July, 2017 in the Zambian Observer that I was involved in the illegal trafficking of mukula trees, and whose proceeds I was alleged to have utilized to construct a home or homes. Earlier this month, the Zambian Watchdog, another online publication had alleged that I was swindled in a fake gold transaction. I can categorically deny both stories and declare them false. I have not at any juncture been involved in either of the alleged criminal transactions. This is kind of reporting is highly regrettable. While social media is a positive tool that we can all use to share news and express our ideas to communities and vast networks, it is very sad that others are using it for cyber bullying.
Media is the fourth estate and responsible reporting devoid of malice, misinformation, sensation and speculation is an obligation and mandate of everyone calling themselves a journalist or media house. We must realize as citizens that we are privileged to live in a very peaceful country where we are able to express our thoughts and ideas freely. Let us enjoy this freedom responsibly and use it to share accurate information, positive thoughts and ideas and most importantly, improve our own lives instead of trying to destroy reputations and lives of others. I refuse to be victimized and I am pleading to ZICTA to investigate the authors of this false information so that they can face me in court. It is time that we rise against such unjust actions and online bullies.
Like a few other leaders in our communities, I have become a victim of cyber bullying. My character has been assassinated over issues that I have absolutely no connection to and I wanted to express my utter disappointment. I am not only a citizen but a representative of over 200,000 residents of a ward and among these, the majority are young people. I have continued to work hard and serve as a positive role model to these young people. I wish to announce especially to the communities that I am privileged to serve that I will continue to serve them to the best of my ability, with honesty and integrity.
As a professional with a Masters degree in Criminal Justice, I understand my rights and I understand that defamation of character is an offense and those who have continued to spread these falsities to destroy my character must be dealt with.
As one who has spent many years understanding human behavior and social structures, I can identify criminal acts and the consequences of this not only on the offender but on society. As an avid environmentalist I totally abhor needless acts of environmental degradation or deforestation, most of all for short term or individual benefit. For this reason I take great exception to being even remotely associated to this atrocity against the environment and indeed our nation.
After the first publication, I ignored this allegation but it has now become clear that this is a campaign to paint me in a negative light and ultimately to disrupt the connection that I enjoy with the communities that I serve. I wish to encourage the authors of these articles to report the allegations to law enforcement who I’m certain will assist with a more thorough, fact based investigation.
I am not that morally bankrupt or desperate that I would resort to criminal transactions in order to sustain my life. I am a qualified professional who lives humbly; and when I need to supplement my income, I work honestly and hard for it. I have always upheld the law and I continue to serve and make an honest living.
Lastly and most importantly, I would like to thank the communities that I am privileged to serve, for their unwavering support. I pledge to continue to work hard for them in anyway they permit me to, to the best of my ability. I have been privileged to have been chosen to represent and serve as a Councillor for Nkoloma Ward 1, Chawama Constituency since August, 2016. I am proud to stand with the people as we work together to develop our community. We are focusing on the projects that will have the greatest and most direct impact and transform the lives of all residents for the better.
Providing clean, potable water to tens of thousands through installing water kiosks, rehabilitating drainages to ensure waterborne diseases do not afflict our young children, tarring community roads to improve the local environment and developing Kuku Sports Ground from a bare piece of land to a modern youth and community facility that will provide artificial football pitch and running track, basketball and netball court, changing rooms with full facilities and a much later on we hope to add a community centre building. We addressed our safety and security challenges this year through the acquisition of a police vehicle to conduct mobile patrols and ensure public safety – we were supported by the wider local community. We are also reviewing proposals for enhancing health facilities in our community. Many more projects are in the pipeline.
I continue to push my passion for educational excellence for our young people across our vast country, and in particular, in our most remote parts of Zambia. In this regard, I have been privileged to work with the Anchor of Hope Charities based in the United States of America for close to 2 years. We have in this partnership distributed over 30,000 pairs of new shoes to various school children to contribute in motivating them to continue their school attendance. This is one of our projects under the Ubulayo initiative and is aptly named ‘Going Miles for Smiles’. It always gives me the greatest pleasure to see the smiles on our childrens’ faces and their eyes light up when, some for the very first time, put on a brand new pair of shoes.
Perhaps the most challenging of our projects is our Women’s Empowerment Fund. This initiative is a collaborative effort between WeCreate Zambia, who provide the local small business women and traders of Chawama business and finance skills, after which when they graduate the same women can access our interest free revolving fund – this programme is funded through the monthly allowance I receive as a Councillor. Several hundred women have benefited and we continue to add more women as more women repay to replenish the Fund. My steadfast belief is that empowering women, strengthens households, builds communities and helps our children to thrive.
Our focus remains serving the communities we are privileged to represent.
However I continue to assume the best in the people of Nkoloma Ward 1, Chawama Constituency and Zambia. My faith in the Zambian people is total, I interact with them everyday, and have been witness to their warmth and kindness.
I thank you all for your continued support.
The Author is the Patriotic Front (PF) Councillor of Nkoloma Ward 1 in Chawama Constituency and a Daughter of Republican President Edgar Lungu