While the opposition and the ruling party spent their Friday, a real Freedom day for me, trying to drown out each other’s screams with legal jargon whether somebody stole their elections or not, I was busy reflecting on the significance of the day which has given these political leaders a licence to lie to us, abuse us and denigrate the citizenry without any iota of responsibility.
It is strange that 26 years after embracing multiparty politics, most politicians whether from the ruling elite or the so-called opposition are behaving as if we are still living in a one-party era.
My Lord, people are more intolerant nowadays towards those with a different political view. Everything else is seen from a parochial perspective of the party one belongs to and anything contrary is regarded as abnormal.
This madness is unfortunately being extended to even to some government agencies where decisions are made arbitrarily to please the powers that be, yet such decisions could not in the least be sanctioned by the so-called powers that be.
My Lord, I don’t think serious people like the Mapuyas of this world would sink so low so as to start ordering around people to suppress dissenting opinion.
Take, for instance, the blanket banning of phone-in programmes on radio stations in the aftermath of the elections; was that ban necessary or was done by some overzealous officers who wanted to show their allegiance by creating a crisis where there was none, to create an impression that they can do anything to protect authorities?
Who told you that anyone needed protection as if they have committed some crime?
My Lord, I don’t really believe that all radio stations are irresponsible to promote hatred through phone-in programmes.
Where was the regulatory body when the state broadcaster was promoting hate through phone-in programmes in the period before the elections?
Of course there could be excesses just as there is an idiot in each and every village, but that does not warrant naming every villager an idiot.
A regulator in a multiparty democracy, My Lord, should not act a censorship board of old whose goal is to stifle debate, but rather should be cognisant of the fact that a diverse society will always have divergent opinion.
My Lord, it would be healthy for people to debate topical issues through various fora available while the issues are still hot to reach a cathartic point before they move on with their lives.
Wouldn’t it be proper to just punish only those radio stations that are breaching the code of conduct instead of shutting up everyone?
My Lord, a Chichewa saying that Mkoze mkoze adanyula maliro a eniake would have aptly summed the conduct of whoever ordered that radio stations should stop phone-in programmes.
My Lord, I know that you are busy with fellow judges of the constitutional court looking at the election case but that doesn’t stop me from labeling the decision of the regulator as incompetent, embarrassing, irregular and incurably defective.