BY PETER MANDA
Ample wisdom. Political maturity.
This is what the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has demonstrated through its decision to recuse itself from participating in a series of debates for running mates and presidential candidates organized ahead of May 21 polls.
First things first. Debates which take place ahead of elections are an important element of democracy when they are conducted by professionals with noble motives. As a matter of fact, such debates offer an important platform for presidential contenders to present their party policies.
In the case of the sitting heads of state the debates offer a platform for them to articulate their future policies while at the same time defending their record.
But while in mature democracies most debates are organized by professionals, the same cannot be said of political debates which take place in some developing countries.
The first of such debates was held last week on Zodiak Broadcasting Corporation. But it left a lot to be desired.
It has been reported before that these debates in the local political scene have been taken hostage by some political parties who bulldoze through the ticketing system to fill up the galleries with their own whose job it is to shout down those they oppose. If this is true, then the behaviour of the audience at the last debate lends credence to the claim. When It was announced that one running mate would not be available, the audience went into an insulting shoutdown. This raises the question: If this was a neutral audience, what was the purpose of these insults? What was this rowdiness all about? That behaviour indeed raises serious questions on the integrity of the process of organizing the debate.
The big goof during that debate for running mates held on March 7, 2019 in Malawi capital Lilongwe was another example of how unprofessional and chaotic the debates can be.
During the debate, the anchor and even the debaters took time to peddle complete lies and bash the government on a report about the nationwide high resolution airborne geographical survey data.
The lies included serious allegations that government was secretly concealing from the public the outcome of the survey which was conducted with support from the World Bank and the European Union (EU). This was despite the fact that the government launched the report publicly in 2015 and the media covered the launch report extensively.
During the launch Natural Resources Minister Bright Msaka actually emphasized on the fact that the data generated from the survey was readily available and could be accessed by interested individuals and companies.
Why did these participants opt to tell lies about the report during such a debate?
Needless to say the host himself helped the participants in peddling the lie on this when he claimed the report was under wraps by the government. If the host himself was ignorant on this important issue, how would he ably make the debate a battle of honest ideas? If he know the truth but decided to tell a lie, what was the motive?
One can safely conclude that there was hidden motive to use a lie to