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Thursday, 25 June 2009

President Banda : The Other Transcript

The President's Speech was the calmer part of yesterday's press conference, then the temperature went up with this Question & Answer Session. I am of the opinion that the Q&A was lacking in substance and more deeply disappointing compared to the main speech. The President clearly has not heeded the advice I gave in A Memo to Banda and Governing in difficult times.

Updates (Q&A Fallout) :

Needless to say the nature of the Q&A session was always going to have deep reactions from those singled for special treatment by the President. We'll keep a rolling update to the Q&A reactions.

The Post was among the earliest to respond with their detailed editorial Rupiah is a Joker.

The Media Ethics Council of Zambia (MECOZ) has come out in support the President Rupiah over the alleged controversy surrounding photos of a woman giving birth.

The UPND Leader Hakainde Hichilema has launched a scathing attack on President Banda in the wake of the latter's remarks - Rupiah can't reconcile himself mentally, charges HH.

The Pf Leader Michael Sata has now responded to the President's remarks - Rupiah has always been a total failure - Sata.

1 comment:

  1. How unfortunate, I really did think that the speech played well, but things definitely seemed to get derailed by the President's tirade over the very concept of recording a (still-)birth on film. This has some echoes in the American political past that I know of, similar to accusations of child pornography against a photographer during the war in Vietnam for taking pictures of a prepubescent girl who had had her clothes burned off by a US napalm airstrike; and most recently to the initial Pentagon reaction to photos of prisoner abuse in Iraq, whereby the pictures themselves were the problem, not the situation they recorded.

    I must say that I do not envy Dickson Jere his job keeping the President on-message and on-script. Presidential "Handlers" always have a difficult task, as chief executives tend to be expansive personalities to begin with, something which can only further expand to fit the powers of the highest office. Part of the genius of democracy of course is that our leaders remain human like the rest of us, with the same human frailty and fallibility.

    Still, I doubt if any professional press consultant could have watched their client fly off on such an emotional tangent without flinching [assuming of course that it was indeed off-message]. However inflamed and outraged the President may have personally felt by viewing the alleged photos, it does not reflect well on the office or the serious content of the preceding speech for such a thing to be expressed amongst the top priority items in addressing the national and international press corps. The government may well come away from this press conference with the two top stories being a urinating monkey and the grieving family of a dead infant, probably not the headlines that they were hoping for.


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