RB retirement talk in new twist

Former President Rupiah Banda’s office says the former Head of State did not communicate to any reporter on calls for him to come back to active politics.

Deputy administrative assistant in the office of the fourth republican president Kennedy Limwanya has said it was most unfair that some people are being used to attack Mr Banda on an issue over which he has remained non-committal since 2012.

Mr Limwanya said in a statement to the Daily Nation yesterday that it was unfair to link the former President to comments being made by other people when he had never said anything regarding the same.

He said it was disheartening that he could be used as a pawn to add credence to malicious stories that only served to injure the persona of former President Banda.

“My response was that I hoped the reporter was not just trying to tie me to a malicious story that the paper may already have written. After assuring that there was no such story, I proceeded to say that since his retirement from active politics in 2012, President Banda has never made any statement to the contrary.

“It would, therefore, be unfair to link the former President to comments being made by other people when he had never said anything regarding the same.

That was where we ended. I was, therefore, shocked to see the manner in which this story was published in The Post on 7th August, 2014, creating an impression that President Banda had uttered words which he had not,” Mr Limwanya said.

He said the impression created from the way the headline was written was that the former President had uttered the words attributed to him and that he was permitted to call the newspaper and issue the statement.

Mr Limwanya complained that what was more shocking was that President Banda was quoted verbatim, using words which he never even used when responding to the reporter.

He explained that after the story was published, he contacted the reporter who apologized on the part he may have offended him.

Mr Limwanya said it was public knowledge that there had been overwhelming calls from across the length and breadth of Zambia, for the former president to come back from retirement and that had not come from him but the Zambian people who also are within their rights to exercise their democratic right of expression.

“I, therefore, wish to reiterate that what The Post quoted verbatim was not President Banda’s own words and neither was my response given in form of a press statement as portrayed by the newspaper. It was a fabrication at its worst!

“I am sure the Zambian public is beginning to wonder whether the trap that the newspaper had attempted to set for me has not been set for many other Zambians who The Post has been using in its campaign to cast aspersions on President Banda,” he said.

Mr Limwanya further advised that truthfulness, and not malice, should be the hallmark of journalism if our country was to make any meaningful progress.