Post Newspaper accused of fabricating Rupiah Banda retirement story

By IAfrica
In Zambia
Aug 8th, 2014
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Zambian Fourth president Rupiah Banda

Zambian Fourth president Rupiah Banda

Former President Rupiah Banda’s Deputy Administrative Assistant Kennedy Limwanya has accused the Post Newspaper of fabricating a story in which they quoted the former president saying that his retirement from Poltics was final.

In a statement released to the media, Kennedy Limwanya said that said what The Post Newspaper quoted verbatim was not President Banda’s own words and neither was it a response given in form of a press statement as portrayed by the newspaper. He describe it fabrication at its worst!

Yesterday the Post Newspaper the except below:

Banda said it was final that he had retired from active politics.

“Since my retiring from active politics in 2012, I have never issued any statement to the contrary. So it’s very unfair for anybody to insinuate that I want to come back into politics,” Banda said through his deputy administrative assistant Kennedy Limwanya in an interview yesterday.

Banda said no one should get him into active politics because he made it categorical in 2012 that he had retired.

“No one should draw me into politics because I have retired. Let people leave me alone to enjoy my retirement,” said Banda.

“People should be fair enough to understand that I retired from active politics.”

Banda refused to dwell on the issue of his return to politics, stressing that it had no credence.

Below is the reponse to the Post Newspaper Story in full

THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA
OFFICE OF THE FOURTH REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT

Press Release

Response to The Post story “My retirement final- Rupiah”

LUSAKA, 8th August, 2014— I wish to express my utmost indignation at the manner in which The Post newspaper wrote and published the story under the above headline on Thursday, 7th August, 2014.

For the record, on Tuesday, 5th August, 2014, I was called by Mr Abel Mboozi, a reporter from The Post who wanted a comment from me regarding statements in their paper to the effect that former Zambian President, His Excellency Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda, was being urged to consider a political comeback.

My response to Mr Mboozi was that I hoped he 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 tell Mr Mboozi that since his retirement from active politics in 2012, President Banda had 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.

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 had given me the permission to call the newspaper and issue the statement.

More shockingly, President Banda was even quoted verbatim, using words which I never even used when responding to Mr Mboozi.

When the story came out, I called Mr Mboozi to complain, and he offered his apologies for the part that may have offended me.

I wish to add that it is most unfair that some people are being used to attack the former president on an issue that he has remained non-committal since 2012.

It further disheartens me that I can be used as a pawn to add credence to malicious stories that only serve to injure the person of President Banda.

It is public knowledge that there have been overwhelming calls from across the length and breadth of Zambia, for the former president to come back from retirement.

The calls for his comeback have not come from him but the Zambian people who also are within their rights to exercise their democratic right of expression.

Despite that, President Banda has not responded to any such calls.

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.

Truthfulness, and not malice, should be the hallmark of our journalism if our country is to make any meaningful progress.
_____________________________________________________________
Issued by:
Kennedy Limwanya

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