MMD parliamentary chief whip Vernon Mwaanga yesterday said
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must ensure that the culture of
certain diplomats attacking government decisions in the press is brought to
an end. And Mwaanga said media institutions that are against self-regulation
will be sorry.
Meanwhile, Mbabala UPND member of parliament Emmanuel
Hachipuka has charged that the MMD government has entered into a worrisome pact
with former president Frederick Chiluba.
Contributing to the debate on
the motion of thanks on President Rupiah Banda's address to the House, Mwaanga
referred to what he described as tutorials that were being given to the
government by certain representatives of countries accredited to Zambia in some
Mwaanga said it was against proper diplomatic conduct to
start attacking government decisions using the media.
"I know that we are
poor but even in poverty our sovereignty as a nation, our sovereignty as a
Parliament must be respected," Mwaanga said.
Mwaanga said he hoped
foreign affairs minister Kabinga Pande was taking interest in the issue so that
this culture did not continue.
Mwaanga recalled that a certain Zambian
diplomat had to be withdrawn from Britain after he openly criticised the British
"There are established channels through which advice can be
given to government and we are amenable to advice," he said.
advised diplomats to channel their advice or indeed strong feelings to the
minister of foreign affairs.
Mwaanga, who told the House that he was a
member of the journalism fraternity following his service as the editor-in-chief
of the Times of Zambia, advised members of the media to heed to the deadline
that the government had given them to form a self-regulatory body.
have been a strong believer of self-regulation for many years...the tendency to
reject self-regulation has led to certain negative tendencies. For those who
reject self-regulation, I say think again," Mwaanga said. "If they do not take
seriously what the government has said, they are going to be
Mwaanga said those media institutions that did not accept
self-regulation would be "assisted" by regulating them.
"It is not a
threat; it is a fact. Those who benefit from this kind of debate may think it is
a threat. It is not a threat," he said.
Mwaanga said consultations on
media self-regulation had been on going for the past nine years.
is nothing wrong with self-regulation, doctors regulate themselves, lawyers
regulate themselves...what is wrong with the media? Journalism is a respectable
profession and it must be kept as a respectable profession," he said.
said in pursuit of press freedom, which he claimed to be committed to, there
must also be self-restraint.
"It is not right to start personalising
attacks on leaders," Mwaanga said. "When disagreements occur, let us keep them
as civil as possible, so that they do not degenerate into personal
Mwaanga said he hoped that as a country, the parliamentarians
would work together in the spirit of Zambia first.
on Thursday decided to focus his debate on what he termed as the 'genesis of
"I want to use this debate to refer to the late Honourable
[Benny] Tetamashimba, who I knew very well. I met him in the late Honourable
[Anderson] Mazoka's house many years ago in 1997/98. I have not known any better
politician," Hachipuka said. "He was one of those first...people that were sent
by the late president Anderson Mazoka to try and mediate between MMD and UPND to
form a government of national unity. That was the beginning of
Hachipuka said the proposed pact between the MMD and UPND did not
work out and Tetamashimba crossed to the ruling party, where he exhibited his
At this point, information minister Lieutenant
General Ronnie Shikapwasha was heard telling Hachipuka that he was right but
that he should not cry.
After diverting his debate to other areas,
Hachipuka indicated that he wanted to get back to his main topic, which was the
genesis of pacts and some MMD parliamentarians were heard telling him not to
spoil his debate.
Hachipuka, amidst heckles from some ministers and
deputy ministers, said even during the 2008 presidential election, MMD got into
pacts with certain political parties and that it was only the UPND and PF that
went it alone.
"You went into certain pacts and you won," he said. "We
[UPND and PF] also have gone into a pact and this pact has nothing to do with
you. They [MMD] have also entered into a pact with a former
Hachipuka said this was the pact that was worrying
"That is a pact because you want to fish in our waters," he said.
"It is a pact whether you like it or not...I hope it does not backfire. This
country must be governed judiciously."
Hachipuka said people that had
taken retirement must be respected.
"When you start breaking laws, very
careful!" cautioned Hachipuka. "I hope in our efforts to get into pacts, we
should remember that we have children and grandchildren beyond