Recklessness and lies can never be a good political strategy.
Politicians should not be reckless and untruthful in the things they say. This is a position Hakainde Hichilema cannot argue with. How can he say the Zambian government of the day is training militias in Sudan and expect not to answer for his assertions? If what Hakainde has been claiming is true, let him go to court and prove it.
Without proving through evidence that what he said about the Zambian government training militias in Sudan is true, Hakainde may be successfully prosecuted for causing to be published and broadcast false news with intent to cause fear and alarm to the public.
But so far, Hakainde has not provided any evidence to show that the Zambian government is training militias in Sudan. Hakainde has even stopped talking about this issue that he was so passionate about a few weeks ago. Probably this is in the hope that the police will forget about it.
Instead, Hakainde picked up another lie: that The Post had entered into a deal with President Michael Sata over the Zambian Airways debt. Again, Hakainde will not be able to produce any evidence that will stand in any court of law as evidence of The Post getting into a deal with the President so that the money it owes the Development Bank of Zambia is not paid.
Hakainde knows very well that The Post never borrowed any money from the Development Bank of Zambia; he should also know very well from his friends who were dealing with this matter that The Post never guaranteed any debt of Zambian Airways to the Development Bank of Zambia. But it is not the truth Hakainde is after. It is smearing people he perceives to be political opponents that Hakainde is after.
Today, Hakainde is in trouble for lying about the government’s training of militias in Sudan. The police have given Hakainde an opportunity to make an ordinary statement – a statement made without being warned and cautioned – in which he should retract his reckless and false statement and have the matter closed once and for all. But he has refused to do so, leaving the police with no option but to arrest and have him prosecuted in court.
We know that both options are not easy ones for Hakainde. It is not easy for Hakainde to apologise for his lies. He has never done so since he entered politics. And moreover, there are serious political consequences for him to accept that he told lies. Hakainde knows very well that his political opponents would try to make political capital out of this.
And he is not ready for that kind of thing. What Hakainde is forgetting is that when mistakes are made, when false statements are made and they are apologised for and retracted, it becomes very difficult for political opponents to use them in a very strong way against him.
But opening himself to prosecution may leave Hakainde in a far much worse situation if he doesn’t have the evidence to show that it is true the government has been training militias in Sudan. He may also need to show that he actually never made such a statement. But there is abundant evidence to show that Hakainde actually made such a statement. His defence over this matter will be a very difficult one.
And if he is convicted, the political consequences will be devastating and far worse than if he had apologised. Hakainde will have a criminal record. Is this really what he wants?
It is always better to admit when you are wrong and you will avoid embarrassment. It is said that “a wise person will not speak until the right moment, but a bragging fool doesn’t know when that time is” (Sirach 20:7).
Lying is truly an ugly blot on a person’s character, but ignorant people do it all the time. No wonder it is said that a thief is better than a habitual liar, but both are headed for ruin. A liar has no honour. He lives in constant disgrace.
We have consistently advised Hakainde to be truthful in his politics and in life in general. Hakainde has managed to weave his way into many things through dishonesty and he thinks he can continue to do so for the rest of his life and in everything.
Things don’t work that way. Hakainde will not succeed in his political endeavours through lies, calumny and despising others. Hakainde should seek to increase his popularity not because his political opponents are despised, but because he is understood, supported, trusted. But with these lies and contradictions he is engaging in so often, who will trust him?
People who falsely and maliciously seek to hurt others will be hurt by their own actions and will have no idea why. No wonder it is said that “…liars deserve to be cursed, because they have been the ruin of many people…” (Sirach 28:13) and that “Anyone who pays attention to slander can never find peace of mind.
A whip can raise welt, but a vicious tongue can break bones. More people have died as a result of loose talk than were ever killed by swords. Count yourself lucky if you have been spared the experience of having irresponsible talk directed against you…” (Sirach 28:16-20).
What is at stake here is not only a legal issue but also a moral one. You cannot have a person who is consistently operating on lies about others seek to become a leader of his people. You can’t lead successfully on lies because lies won’t take the nation far as they have short legs.
There is too much lying in our politics. And at the helm of these lies is Hakainde. We need to change our politics and the way we treat each other as citizens of our country. A decent society can never be based and built on lies. It is based and built on truth. We all have a duty to show respect and tolerance to each other. But this is only possible when those who lead try to adhere to truth.
Hakainde has told too many lies, and it is time for him to be taken to court and let the Zambian people know what type of liar he is. We are not calling him a liar out of malice. We are calling Hakainde a liar because he has lied about us. And when the time comes, we will prove that what Hakainde has been saying about us is a lie coming from a person who is said to have been born a liar.