December 1 opened with a screaming headline in News Diggers Newspapers, a private tabloid: “NAPSA GOES AHEAD TO BUY CHRISMAR” and the value quoted was 18 million United States dollars. The story was based on a letter purportedly issued by Director General of National Pension Scheme Authority, Yollanda Kachinda dated 29th June, 2020.
Admittedly, the said letter has been described as fake and non-existence by NAPSA.
What is interesting is that the past few days, unsuspecting members of the public led by politicians took advantage of the fake letter and screaming headline to pour scorn on Government without interrogating whether the reported letter was authentic or not to deserve being published, in the first instance.
As if that is not enough, some photoshopped images of young persons below the age of 18 emerged during this same period purported to be issued with National Registration Cards and voter’s card by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Electoral Commission.
These photoshopped images of kids purportedly registering became subject of a press briefing by leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND). What is true is no one circulating those photoshopped imaged nor the UPND leader can explain the exact location where the purported illegality of children being issued a voter’s card and NRC was taking place. The reason is simple.
This is political propaganda by the very people who scream the loudest when their propaganda materials are published. The idea is to make those whom they compete against subject to public ridicule and mistrust ahead of 2021 General Elections.
The political propaganda is not only done by, mainly, the opposition United Party for National Development which has a heavy presence on social media where such images can circulate at the speed of a whirlwind but the Patriotic Front is also involved in this kind of propaganda.
Zambians must expect this propaganda to increase ahead of the decisive 2021 elections, especially when you have some media houses which must sale their newspapers. For certain, we can confirm that the letter published by News Diggers falls into the category of political propaganda and they were just a courier of the political machinations by some media teams of political parties who authored it.
We at a stage where the Zambian public can believe anything as long as it is published – whether such material is false or otherwise. The onus though is for responsible persons tasked with the responsibility to do public relations to quickly dispel such misinformation at the blink of an eye.
The biggest problem surrounding the current administration is that most public relations officers – from the lowest entity to top of government are those who can be described as robots and persons who just sit in their offices, provided they will get a pay cheque at the end of the month. They don’t care much about what is said until the propaganda begins to take a toll at their institutions or on the political leadership.
Also, those who generate this kind of propaganda may be good at exciting the unsuspecting members of the public but in most cases, this type of propaganda only last for not more than a week and does not contribute largely to increasing their popularity.
We are not afraid to say that the propaganda being done by the opposition UPND against President Lungu or the PF against Hakainde Hichilema has very little contribution to their winning elections.
In fact, for the opposition UPND, the scheme is being seen as preparing the minds of their supporters for defeat in 2021. No wonder Hakainde Hichilema spends a lot more time crying about wrong things being done. But Hakainde will have nothing to say if his team does not originate propaganda for him to speak about. But we shall watch the elections in 2021 and how far this propaganda will help any party to win.