opinionBy Peter Adamu
The legal doctrine that renders ignorance without defence is an important aspect of life. It is one that information minister Kennedy Sakeni may find valuable in his exercise of duty.
If Sakeni fails to appreciate this principle, he is not fit to occupy that office under President Michael Sata's administration.
He will be better seeking remedy for his dental formula rather than engage our highly qualified medics to cure an incurable disease like ignorance. Whether Sakeni was trying to come out smart or being abused to defend the indefensible in response to international lawyer Robert Amsterdam's reference to 'useful idiots' is baffling.
To try and expose his ignorance and attempt to sway Zambians using his low thinking ability is in itself an insult to us - his employers - who gave him the mandate in September 2011.
If Sakeni and some of his media stooges like Anthony Mukwita (Zambia Daily Mail deputy editor-in-chief) and Fred M'membe (Post owner) who are behaving like hyenas and pretend not to understand pejorative terms in their context, they don't deserve to be in their current positions.
Ever wondered why the great American human rights activist Martin Luther King Jr said, "nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity?"
Perhaps, King Jr had characters like Sakeni in his mind. He deliberates chooses to distort a straightforward statement to suit his agenda. Sakeni is a former intelligence officer but if this is how his reasoning fairs, it explains the poor intelligence system Zambia has.
Amsterdam did not say Zambians are idiots. No. Neither did he say those Zambians calling for Rupiah Banda's immunity are 'useless idiots'. There is a difference in calling someone an 'idiot,' a 'useful idiot' or indeed a 'useless idiot'. These terms vary so much in meaning and context.
Whether by design or selfish interest, Mukwita and M'membe want to abuse their media channels to mislead the majority of Zambians. Sakeni, in fact, because of his ignorance has fallen prey to this agenda.
How can a minister embarrass the entire government to the rest of the world by distorting a simple English phrase which is simply "a pejorative term for people perceived as propagandists for a cause whose goals they do not understand, and who are used cynically by the leaders of the cause?"
The leaders of the cause to remove former president Rupiah Banda's immunity are none other than M'membe who has engaged unprofessional journalists like Mukwita and a few others to push that line through State media.
By the way, Sakeni's statement should be enough evidence that we have a government comprising a bunch of ignorant characters. We can only guess what else they are failing to.
In any case, if Sakeni does not know the role of useful idiots, how do we expect him to do anything sensible?
One would expect M'membe, a lawyer, 'journalist' and economist should at worst, even where in case leakages were involved in acquiring his education credentials, understand the application of the term 'useful idiots'. There is no Zambian who in this generation is known for using any public medium to call people 'idiots', 'stupid', 'foolish' or name any the derogatory word, than M'membe has done.
M'membe has used crude language on everyone who crosses his path. Former presidents Frederick Chiluba, Levy Mwanawasa, Rupiah Banda and Michael Sata himself (as opposition leader) were at one time or another victims of these derogatory attacks. Today, M'membe wants to posture in sainthood sackcloth and distort a phrase used by Robert Amsterdam to suggest Zambians have suffered the worst form of insult. Shame indeed.
Lusaka lawyer Sakwiba Sikota, who is also United Liberal Party president, helped to explain Amsterdam's statement saying at no stage did the international lawyer say Zambians were idiots.
"All he said according to press reports is that '...The two men (Fred M'membe and Mutembo Nchito) have already allegedly abused their powers to force the government to help them avoid paying back a debt to the Development Bank of Zambia, and now, they are asking citizens to play the role of 'useful idiots' to support the lifting of former president Banda's immunity without even knowing why'," he stated.
There is more than 100 percent truth in this statement because all M'membe does is to assemble a few individuals that will toll his line and give them space in his newspaper. Can he parade Mike Mulongoti, Professor Michelo Hasungule or Patrick Mwanawasa like he did before the September 2011 elections again?
Most of these people have realized that they were probably used in his campaign and are now dumped from accessing any form of coverage because they can't speak any good about the PF government.
And only those 'useful idiots' like Goodwell Lungu of Transparency International Zambia are user friendly to propagate calls for the removal of president Banda's immunity. The moment they don't speak language, hell will break loose.
Imagine Sakeni's response to Sakwiba's statement yesterday. That Sakwiba and Amsterdam should wait for Rupiah's fall from grace? That's a loaded statement.
In Sakeni's own words, removing Rupiah's immunity and eventual prosecution will be a way of making the former Head of State fall from grace. Is this not a case of a prejudiced trial by the PF government? What fair trial does Rupiah expect from these dictators assuming he is brought before court if all the PF is interested in seeing is his fall from grace?
Maybe, I am being too hard on Sakeni. Maybe, he doesn't understand why there are calls to remove Rupiah's immunity? He qualifies for a 'useful idiot' himself because he seems not to understand the propaganda of the line he is pushing.
But it's good Sakeni has exposed their plans. All they are interested in is Rupiah's fall from grace. Not justice. This is very sad for a country that a few years ago was emerging as a beacon of peace but thanks to Sakeni's disease of ignorance. Rupiah and the country now know that the campaign to remove his immunity and eventual prosecution has nothing to do with alleged abuse of office but is propelled by the desire to embarrass him.
That is why one can't agree more with American political satirist, journalist, writer and author P.J. O'Rourke's sentiments stating, "...no drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we are looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power." This sums it all. We can now see the source of troubles.