Criminality in journalism

Hypocrite: the man who murdered both his parents… pleaded for mercy on the grounds that he was an orphan. ~Abraham Lincoln


JOURNALISM is a noble profession which has no room for criminality. Secret recordings, surreptitious and malicious campaigns intended to blackmail  should be treated for the criminal acts they are and must be treated with the contempt they deserve.

The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) has said as much.

Criminality and dubious professional conduct have introduced a very pervasive culture of cynicism in our country. So damaging is the culture that straight forward matters such as rule 18 of the VAT refund scheme have been politicized and subsequently shrouded and mired in contraversy and outright misrepresentation.

We do not even know if  the report intimate conversations with President Sata have been secretly recorded and are being used for blackmail to seek Government favour.

Ultimately, if Government and the President in particular are blackmailed into undermining Government functions, it will be the economy and the Zambian people that will suffer  the consequence of misplaced politicization of economic  matters by people with vested political interests.

In this particular rule 18, it must be clear to all Zambians that the Government has accumulated billions of Kwacha in refunds that should have been paid back. The Government now has no capacity to repay the money.

This is the simple reality.

Criminal logic however would rather benefit from confusion to gain pecuniary advantage, by creating red herrings as a diversionary ruse from real issues.

Evading tax has nothing to do with rule 18.  Evading tax is theft of public resources. Those who engaged in this activity are criminals who should be prosecuted by the law.

There is a maxim:  he who comes to equity must do so with clean hands.

This is very much like Lady Macbeth cried:


Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather. The multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red.


In other words equity cannot support a party that is at fault, dripping with blood of innocent  people he has  consigned  to their early graves by pontificating as a paragon of virtue.

Indeed equity will not come to the aid of a party that has created adverse circumstances by his own fault.

Therefore hoping to extricate oneself from circumstances created by selfish carelessness only disingenuous but an exercise in futility. Blackmail will not work.

No court in this country or anywhere else will grant relief from a self-created hardship, “founded on his own misconduct.” And if any court does so serious questions of  its integrity will arise.

What we are experiencing in this country are criminal activities that totally vitiate from the rule of law and from the ethics of journalism which clearly prohibit the use of information illegally obtained with the purpose of extracting undeserved favours and pecuniary advantage.

For the first time we know which people President Sata consulted in the appointment of Wynter Kabimba. What guarantee is there that Mr. Sata was not equally secretly recorded and has thus been compromised for the things he said in an unguarded  moment.

Is this the reason why there is pressure on Mr. Sata to dismiss his immediate ministers? Who else has been compromised by the secret recordings?

Equity will not relieve a plaintiff trying to evade taxes or defraud creditors with a business deal,  and Zambians are watching to see that justice is not only done but must be seen to have been done.

The Bible says “But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For to whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more”.