By XAVIER MANCHISHI-
FINANCE Minister Alexander Chikwanda has hit back at the clique behind the smear campaign against him and said those aspiring to take over the presidency must do so in a civilised manner.
Mr Chikwanda challenged those aspiring to take over the presidency to do so within the confines of morality.
He said those aspiring for the presidency must emulate President Michael Sata by going to the grassroots to seek the people’s mandate and enlisting their trust and confidence.
“So anyone of us in the party who wants to get to the position of Mr Sata, let them follow his track record of going to the grassroots and enlisting confidence, their trust, their affection. That’s all I can say about this matter,” he said.
The finance minister has come under sharp criticism by some section of society following the leaked classified document discussing the Value Added Tax (VAT) General Administration Rule 18 which was leaked to the media.
The letter relates to the VAT refunds for both local and foreign firms and is not only restricted to the mining sector.
Mr Chikwanda cautioned the media against promoting selfish ambitions of their friends and allies while injuring other defenceless people.
“Those of you in the media who want to promote the ambitions of certain friends or allies, please do it in a way which is premised on morality. That’s not good, because at the end of the day the thing which can build or destroy individuals begins and ends with people’s integrity,” he said.
Mr Chikwanda said the media has the privilege to run stories everyday but that journalists must not abuse the privilege by running unverified stories.
“You may have the privilege of running stories about other people everyday but if you can use that privilege with a semblance of morality, it’s advisable,” he said.
The Finance minister was speaking in an interview with Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) monitored last evening.
“In life it doesn’t matter how clever you are in crafting lies or fraudulence. You must always bear in mind that lies, deceit, gimmicks have one common propensity and attribute. There is no immorality or lie that can be sustained,” he added.
Mr Chikwanda said last week in a statement that the last spate of attacks had been over the VAT general administration rule 18, premised on distortion arising from a classified letter which talked about the uncertainty on the VAT rule, a measure which had inadvertently undermined confidence in the economy.
Mr Chikwanda said he desisted from pouring scorn on individuals used by media operatives to indulge in obscenities and falsehoods against him.
The Finance minister said material trappings had never and would not be a thrust in his life.
Mr Chikwanda said this was aimed at not giving legitimacy to insinuations and credibility to the unconstrained enthusiasm to slander other citizens.
“Some media practitioners have unassailable advantages of perpetuating crusades against individuals who are perceived as inconveniences to them, shamefully, at the behest of political allies whose mission may have crash-landed,” Mr Chikwanda said.
“The media is a very potent channel of communication. Those who have the power to manage it need to act in an objective manner but with moral constraint.”