Thursday, July 25, 2024

UPND media team; where art thou?

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PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema obviously inherited a government marred by a myriad of problems and challenges: from a stagnant and suffocating economy; uncertainty in the mines with a number of investors contemplating disengaging from the sector; huge backlog of unpaid retirees; bloated salary arrears for council employees; mounting pressure from qualified young people; restless University students deprived of bursaries and meal allowances; police brutality to the culture of political party cadres accustomed to unleashing acts of violence on perceived opponents and illegally collecting levies from markets and bus stations; it was a make or break for the former businessman-cum-cattle rancher turned politician.

Within a few months in office, President Hichilema would change the narrative and set the country forth on a different trajectory!

Under normal circumstances, the UPND should have been the first one to take to the mountain top, like their predecessors would do, and brag about such milestones while making every effort to explain what the UPND administration intended to about the other challenges such as the high cost of living and the energy crisis. But alas, it has shockingly remained “comatose.”

Politics is all about perception; the more you keep quiet, the more the public will conclude the party in government isn’t working. The more you talk, the more people will begin to believe you and have patience with you!

At least Cornelius Mweetwa, the Minister of Information and Media and of course his able Permanent Secretary, Thabo Kawana are trying their level best to defend government and explain its policies.

But where’s the UPND media team? This has of course left a number of folks including this author gritting their teeth and pulling their hair and wondering whether the UPND media team still exists in the face of the New Dawn Administration coming under siege and bombarded with a barrage of incessant attacks left, right and centre from the desperate opposition eager to dislodge it from power!

Speaking to the Newsdiggers Newspaper in an interview as far back as 2022, the Alliance for Community Action (ACA) executive director Laura Miti, who is also a Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission, had this to say, “the UPND government is terrible at explaining to Zambians what is really happening. They are also bad at speaking to the public. So if you look at the last government and if you look at this government, they’re lagging far much behind.”

Influential UK-based blogger, Barbrah Musamba Chama aka the Iron Lady recently took to Social media to vent her frustrations.

“How can we raise resources to run an effective parallel Media team? Any idea of well wishers? Inbox… we need to get serious.. serious money has been pumped in in the other camp,” she wondered.

Retired eminent colonel in the Army, senior citizen Hamwiinde Munamunungu, who also served as District Governor in the UNIP regime, perhaps put it more succinctly when he shared the following insights on his Facebook page: “Political battles are won by strong media teams that need to be professional and at times well paid. When you study the many successes of the past political establishments, worldwide, you will find that the Media teams were professional, effective and well coordinated and paid full time. This is a must because volunteers are no longer available. Volunteers were available during the struggle for national independence.”

He went on to explain that in the early 1960s, UNIP ran the Zambia News paper from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania which spread the good news about our independence struggle. The editors included Sikota Wina, a trained journalist, and several other journalists.

“The PF had a strong Publicity Campaigns and Propaganda machinery and in most cases paid its staff well. Remember Hon Sunday Chanda with his aggressive attitude together with his deputy, Antonio Mwanza,” he continued .

He observed that there’s too much time lag between the delivery of messages or at most times no responses are delivered timely with the exception of Mark Simuwe or Trevor Mwiinde and his boss Gilbert Liswaniso jumping in fend off attacks or putting things into perspective.

The media team might be fatigued after many years in the trenches. As is usually the case once a liberation struggle has been won, it’s probably the right time to find those in the media team other roles in government and replace them with new blood.

Prince Bill M Kaping’a
Political/Social y

18 COMMENTS

  1. So you want to be there? Look you don’t have to have an effective media team….all you need is to show your product and it will campaign for you.
    Today your media is now claiming that the power shortage it’s the PF to blame for countless reasons…. just fix it.
    You talk about a bloated civil service…. you must be a poor judge….. today we have more employees in the civil service.
    Today your government has borrowed more than the PF proportionate with time in government.
    Today the president is ordering who to arrest and who not arrest eg J J vis a vis the airport gold scam.

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    • “…Today your media is now claiming that the power shortage it’s the PF to blame for countless reasons…. just fix it…”

      Go and urinate in the dam, maybe we will have enough water to turn the trubines……..

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    • The media team is scared of bragging or saying anything because anything the success the leadership says is temporal . It is short lived. Examples:
      1. When the KWACHA TEMPORALLY gained there was jubilation …..but for how long. Silence followed.
      2. When inflation reached single digit Nalumango was nearly dancing is parliament…….Where is the inflation today.
      3. The president went wild bragging that there will no load shedding ………………Where are we now.
      4. What do you want the media team to say about fuel?
      5.What do you want us to say about mealie meal prices and fights over ZNS eagle mealie meal?
      6 What do you want us to say about ……cost of living?
      ALA NAIFWE BA UPND MEDIA TEAM TWANAKA……

    • You always need to communicate effectively. Always. Even private sector knows that! Some of the things govt do not have immediate benefits and many in the nation need to be informed and assisted to understand!

  2. The UPND media team is naturally numb and silent because it is expecting government to work for it. Talk about misusing taxes. Mweetwa and his PS Kawana are de facto UPND spokesmen! They diseminate UPND propaganda using government funds. Fred Mmembe would have exposed them when he had The Post

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    • Ba Mind set: Supposing Kaunda had continued with Welensky’s slave labour and deliberately barring blacks from education-because the coloniser had been doing the same?

  3. I hear HH is complaining about some spending too much time on Social Media
    How else do our concerns get across Do it openly it will be considerered slander and time at the police station ?
    HH should sort out top management in Zesco put in new blood
    so we can get done to work

  4. UPND have no media team but just people occupying positions for money without knowing what to do. Mweetwa as minister doesn’t know what to say and when to say it. Kawana has proved to be a liar time and again so even upnd stalwarts don’t listen to anything that comes our of his mouth. Clayton occupying an illegally created post of communications specialist but has no clue how to communicate save for abducting JJ.

  5. Kapinga What a silly question! You mean you dont know where the UPND media team is? Both Mweetwa and Kawana are in the Ministry of Information and Media getting fat salaries from our taxes all for doing UPND propaganda work.
    We know they are not the first party cadres to masquerade as civil servants. There was Dora Siliya and Emmanuel Mwamba Chishimba Kambwili and Amos Malupenga and a dozen other party cadres who could only vuvuzela their parties.
    Seriously this is one ministry that is not needed in a democracy because it represents government’s media control. UKA when you take over in 2026 get rid of these money drains on our budget. Democracies dont have Ministries of information. Go to Britain or the US and bring me one minister of information and media. You wont find one.

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    • They can’t but in today’s world it’s easy to know what is happening in lands afar without our moribund media

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  6. #Spaka… how amazing! Why don’t you show us how to urinate in the Kariba Dam… since like the time you were in opposition you knew how to urinate in that dam. Get it in your thick numbskull…we are not blaming your party for this misfortune but for the fact that you lied that there was no water shortage in the dam… your friends listened to the experts and started to ration the power. But because you are Superstars you decided to do what you know best…. creating disasters.

  7. Media team !!! Upnd media team!……Upnd media team …..but mule lya mweka. Even media team wants to eat. What do you want us to do? Our requests are ignored. We go hungry sometimes but them are eating. So do you expect us to do!? We are tired!

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  8. I am slowly starting to conclude that the objective of the UPND after Mazoka changed to that of simply having a president from that tribe in power. The ability to govern or resolve issues is lacking. In a scenario where UKA work with the SP, with a low turnout, the UPND may be in for a shock, mark my words.

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