The toxic clique

Tue, 28 Feb 2017 06:23:06 +0000

THE parting shots of American Ambassador Eric Schultz were characteristically reminiscent of the patronizing and maddeningly condescending attitude of diplomats from so called developed countries.

He could not help but fire a broadside at Government, suggesting that authoritarian governments suppressing the media had a very short life. He was of course referring to the difficulties the Post Newspaper finds itself in for evading taxes and failing to honour financial obligations.

He failed to acknowledge that his own President has taken strident steps to escalate attacks on journalists as “the enemy of the people” and berating members of his own Federal Bureau of Investigation as “leakers” who he said were putting the nation at risk.

Addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference, Mr. Trump criticized as “fake news” organi zations some of the most prominent news institutions in the world, including CNN, BBC and others.

His gripe, of course sometimes exaggerated, is that journalists were purveyors of fake, negative news whose narrative was negative, ill-informed and sometimes downright lies intended to mislead.

If, at the height of his tribulation second Republican President Frederick Chiluba had dared use the same language to condemn the international media penchant for negativity, let alone the “fake” new publication that mirrored the same, he would have been condemned and was indeed declared an enemy of democracy.

One of their own, Donald Trump, finds himself in the very same situation.

He finds himself grappling  with the same vices that most developing countries have struggled with in relating to global media which has continued to paint a negative picture of the African continent in spite of tremendous strides made in reversing the misfortunes they have suffered at the hands of colonialism.

The international media has colluded with equally toxic local media to promoter an image of an Africa and Zambia in particular as nothing more than a den of corruption, vice and depravity. That nothing good could come out of such leadership.

This is the toxic stereotype that a handful of our own citizens continue to parrot. Surprisingly, a sizeable portion of our population accept this image and lap up every word of negativity.

How many media awards have been won by African journalists pandering to the negative stereotypes lampooning leaders and their “minions” who are corrupt, inept and therefore incapable of providing effective leadership?

They fail to realize that political leaders inherit systems, cultures and economic structures that are inherently adverse and demanding bold and determined measures to reverse. Often global forces mitigate against change.

They do not care to analyze why the two Koreas are so different and yet they are populated by the same people.

Our struggles must go beyond the person of the leader to creating a cohesive national ethos that has an overview of global challenges and roles each and every member of society must play to effectively gain development traction.

For as long as we pander to Western stereotypes, Zambia will remain in the backwaters of development.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button