Tuesday, May 21, 2024

State calls for punitive action against hate speech

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Kwibuka 30
Minister of Education Douglas Syakalima at the 30th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi dubbed Kwibuka30

By Benedict Tembo
Minister of Education Douglas Syakalima has urged governments worldwide to enact strict laws to hold individuals and organisations accountable for spreading hate speech on social media platforms.Mr Syakalima noted that in this digital age, social media platforms have become powerful tools for communication and connection.

“However, they have also been misused to propagate hate speech and incite violence.
We must acknowledge the role that social media played in fueling the genocide and take decisive action to prevent history from repeating itself,” he said.

Speaking at the 30th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Lusaka dubbed Kwibuka30 on Friday, Mr Syakalima said the occasion was reminiscent of the horrors of hate and division that tore Rwanda apart.

“In this respect, I wish to emphasise that hate speech is one of the factors that was identified by the United Nations to have been the mechanism through which the Hutu militia mobilised their forces to unleash the war of terror upon the Tutsi. I therefore wish to take this opportunity to call upon our respective governments to remind them that as our citizens express themselves freely and participate in public discourse without fear, we must ensure that this freedom comes with responsibility,” he said.

Mr Syakalima said the world cannot allow hate speech to go unchecked, whether it is spread online or offline.
“Thus, strict laws have to be enacted to hold individuals and organisations accountable for spreading hate speech on social media platforms. I therefore wish to take this opportunity to call upon our respective governments to remind them that as our citizens express themselves freely and participate in public discourse without fear, we must ensure that this freedom comes with responsibility,” he said.

Mr Syakalima said the world cannot allow hate speech to go unchecked, whether it is spread online or offline.
“Thus strict laws have to be enacted to hold individuals and organisations accountable for spreading hate speech on social media platforms,” he said.

Mr Syakalima expressed happiness that against the background of the atrocities that were committed against the Tutsi and other incidences of genocide, there are also stories of hope, resilience, and reconciliation. “The Zambian government has witnessed and noted how Rwanda has emerged from the ashes of genocide to become a beacon of progress and transformation which most African countries respect and applaud,” he said.

Mr Syakalima noted that through visionary leadership, a commitment to justice and reconciliation, and the resilience of its people, Rwanda has shown the world that healing and rebuilding are possible, even in the face of unimaginable tragedy.
“Today, as we remember the victims of the genocide against the Tutsi, let us also renew our commitment to building a world where every individual is valued, where diversity is celebrated, and where the horrors of genocide are consigned to the darkest pages of history. in honouring the memory of those we lost, let us also honour their legacy by working tirelessly to build a future of peace, justice, and reconciliation for everyone,” he said.

Charge d’Affaires at the Rwanda High Commission in Lusaka Douglas Gakumba said the under the theme “Remember, Unite and Renew”,
Rwandans, home and abroad continue the 100 days of remembrance that started on April 7 this year.

“The 30th commemoration marks a generational cycle since the genocide was put to an end, and is an opportune time for a call to reflect on the transformational journey that Rwanda has undergone in the last thirty years, building on the legacy of strength, resilience, and unity that the new generation is called upon to sustain and carry forward to adapt to today’s global challenges and future aspirations,” Mr Gakumba said.

He said Rwanda continues to advocate for the inclusion of course lessons about the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in schools to educate the young and the next generation on the need to fight hate ideologies and stand against any form of discrimination and divisionism.

“For Rwandans, Kwibuka30 is an opportunity for every Rwandan to face the past and prevent intergenerational transmission of traumas through dialogue and remembrance,” Mr Gakumba said.

Bishop Joshua Banda speaking at the 30th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi dubbed Kwibuka30

And Bishop Joshua Banda, the Overseer of the Northmead Assembly of God said the journey of renewal is ongoing, marked by both triumphs and setbacks.

“But as we commemorate this solemn 30th anniversary, let us draw inspiration from Rwanda’s example and rededicate ourselves to the pursuit of justice, reconciliation, and peace. As we remember, unite, and renew, let us pledge to a sustainable honour of the memory of the victims of the Rwandan Genocide, by building a world where such atrocities can never happen again,” Bishop Banda said in his homily.

He added:”Let us strive to be agents of change, advocates for peace, and champions of justice. Let us never forget that in the face of darkness, it is our shared humanity that ultimately prevails. And, to that end, may the pathway of renewal lead us to a future of peace and prosperity for all.”

15 COMMENTS

    • It was okay for Mwaliteta to import Lusaka thugs into Mongu and vent his frustrations on Nathaniel Mubukwanu the chairperson of the Kuomboka fundraising committee. If Mubukwanu responds he’ll be arrested for hate speech. That’s the kind of justice under the Doom government. These people are a failed project.

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  1. It is no longer hate speech between the Lozis and Bembas. They are now our cousins as declared by the two paramount chiefs at the Kuomboka ceremony. Lozis used call us manyukunyuku ” ba natola fye” . We could get annoyed then but not anymore. They are our cousins .

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    • Bemba/Lozi cousins…….Kikikiki!
      Bembas….are just targeting the Nalikwanda. We need more security in Limulunga. Please ensure Lealui is well guarded now that the king is no longer there. Our new cousins…..mmmm

    • I feel sorry for you lozis. Bazatola Nalikwanda muzaamba swimming during Kuomboka. Ise kuno ku East they have stolen all our sisters and wives these Bembas

  2. UPND govt is practicing selective justice by only prosecuting political opponents and people coming from certain regions of the country. The issue is not inadequate laws, it is the people that are in power. Recently a certain lady was insulting people from a certain tribe on social media and nothing was done. She is scot-free. A certain young man called Jackson Chama made a video where he complained about the inadequacies of the govt on social media and how they were favoring only certain groups. He was arrested and tried in a court that had no jurisdiction in Lusaka where the apparent crime took place. He was sent to Kalomo and he is in jail with criminals! Same “crime” but no justice.

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  3. Why are people now classified by their tribes? People are able to see tribalistic traits being pushed & they must NEVER air such to suit the perpetrators.. my God. So it is okay for a certain group of tribes to push aside other tribes & when people cry out it is hate speech… Ubututu bubi sana. Zambians claim are democratic but if you see some laws are so petty & backward. These guys are putting their own tribe at risk & once they are out of power other tribes will ignore them. Lwenu

    • The other bad thing about tribalism is that it focuses on ones name, other than a persons actual culture. Lets say you are a Lozi, or your father is Lozi and your mother a Bemba and you are born and raised on the Copperbelt of Zambia. Tribalists will say you are Lozi even if you do not speak the language!. In reality, you are a Zambian with a mixed heritage. So depending on which tribal elements are in power you will be favored or marginalized. That is the evil of tribalism. Sad that the country is entertaining this vice at the highest level

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    • This is actually a well-researched area in social science but Zambians think they’re the only ones to encounter it. None of you sounds sufficiently informed on the subject of post-colonial nation-building.

  4. Actually people have been friendly to each other. The division is brought about individuals who have selfish agendas. If we were enemies there wouldn’t be all these intermarriages. Next time comes to tell you that ” our tribe must also” chase them with stones and other missiles.

  5. Its about politics and 2026 vote. The UPND is working capturing as many Bemba votes andare using Sosala. It is the hope that Bembas will vote on the same lines as their “Lozi cousines” . Sosala has sold out the Bemba vote !

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  6. Why has Ackson Sejani never been punished for openly showing hatred for people from other tribes when he said only a Tonga was going succeed Mazoka after the death of the founder of UPND in 2006. The fight against hate speech in zambia is targeted at people from selected regions only. This needs to be addressed
    genuinely.

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  7. This useless hate speech law was added to the laws of the country unconstitutionally. There’s no law that transcends the constitution and the Bill of Rights. The constitution provides shelter for anyone to say what is in their mind. It is Freedom of Speech. It is up to you to not listen or say what you feel responds to the other speech. You cannot take away freedoms to protect the HATE THAT THE TONGAS are spreading through tribalism. People have their rights to voice out and say the truth. This is cover to protect Tonga hatred for the Bembas. And Bembas not to say what they see. STOP THIS TONGA HATE and DICTATORSHIP. Syakalima should be in Jail himself. It’s unconstitutional and HH should not think he is too smart for the people of Zambia.

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