President Michael Sata’s press aide George Chellah was among government officials that came out strong to defend yet another diplomatic boob by the Zambian head of state at a regional summit on Friday in Maputo.
A popular website Zambian Watchdog reported that President Sata threw in a joke, albeit, in bad taste when a brewing conflict between Malawi and Tanzania was mentioned at the Sadc meeting.
Zambian President Micheal Sata interjected the chairperson’s speech to joke about the border dispute between Malawi and Tanzania.
When opening the summit earlier, Mozambican President Armando Guebuza said the regional bloc will also have to confront a brewing border conflict between Malawi and Tanzania.
“If they start fighting we are going to host the refugees,” he shouted from his seat.
The information immediately went viral in Malawi and Zambia prompting Zambian foreign affairs minister Given Lubinda to summon a hastily arranged press briefing in Maputo.
Malawians, on their breaking news facebook page, took to derogatory references of the Zambian leader calling him all sorts of names.
And as Lubinda was responding to the Zambian Watchdog story, Chellah took to the defence of his boss on facebook where a Zambian journalist based in the United Kingdom Gershom Ndhlovu questioned advisors of President Sata on diplomatic issues.
Chellah, who assumed his position as press aide after being a successful conduit of Sata’s falsehoods during campaigns when he was a reporter for the PF propaganda wing – The Post, accused those against the head of state of being bitter.
In supporting a blogger – Tina Nyirenda – who defendend President Sata from the Zambian Watchdog story, Chellah stated; “Zonda uzalema [hate until you are tired]…@Tina Nyirenda great interventions. However, my advise to you is that, not until you understand what oils the anti-Sata machinery, you will defend, explain and clarify continuously.
“Of course, they know its not true but they are bitter and would want to take advantage of some people’s gullibility and convey hate messages and jaundiced accounts of events.
“Strangely, even certain people you respect fall prey to such. Personally, am always in stitches because they have become so predictable and have lost value. Theirs is a lost cause, which is riding on tired legs…sooner than later it shall dock in its rightful place, in HELL. I feel so lazy to debate matters conveyed through certain irresponsible blogs. I strongly feel insulted when asked to comment,” he said.
According to Chellah’s account in the discussion, President Sata has his own way of capturing people’s attention – probably including his fatal diplomatic boobs making fun of a looming border fight between two neigbhours.
“@Tina, you and I who attended this event [and] know how independent minds, I mean people who were listening to Michael Sata speak for the first time received his maiden speech.
“Right in the conference hall, I overheard one minister from one of the countries within the region remark: “…that is Michael Sata from Zambia, this man has a special way he captures his audience’s attention,” he added.
Chellah’s comments did not go without challenge. Ndhlovu, a former Zambia Daily Mail journalist and now hosts a talk show on an internet radio Crossfire Blog, told Sata’s spokesperson; “ It is not a question of kuzonda and kulema [hate until you tire]. There are those of us who want the best out of our leaders and the best out of country.
“This is why you, the people close to Mr Sata, should play your role so that we achieve the best out of our leaders and our country. Veiled barbs are not very helpful. You cannot, and in this case the head of state, cannot please everybody. Yeah, if the president performed like we have been corrected by those who were there, then kudos to the president and the entire team.”
It was another contributor Mwamba Vieso Okoro who told off Chellah to stop being primitive in defending President Sata.
“Well said Gershom Ndhlovu, kuzonda and kulema is primitive politics George Chellah. You sound like an illiterate cadre but I guess you can’t help it see[ing] we know who butters your bread,” she said.
Another contributor Emmanuel Chisanga laughed off Chellah’s defence of President’s Sata’s diplomatic flip; “Kuti waseka [It’s laughable]. It appears no one is permitted to voice a difference of opinion with the establishment, lest one wants to be labeled an empty head or much worse. Kwaliba? [Is that so?]”
When Ndhlovu chipped in to Chellah to find a moderate way of correcting misrepresentation by his boss if it arose in the course of President Sata’s duty, he arrogantly conceded but was met with full force by yet again Mwamba Vieso Okoro.
“No one is calling you out of your name. Gershom called you out and now you tell us you’re only debating him? Do you see how you sound? Because we disagree with the way your party leader conducts himself doesn’t make us any less patriotic. What is being asked of you who claims to know about progressive discourse is to perhaps pass on the same knowledge where it is so plainly lacking,” she said.
Chellah was then forced to drop all his comments on the discussion as he could, seemingly, not withstand the level of debate that was emerging.
Later, Chellah announced on his facebook page he would permanently log off drawing massive reaction that pleaded with him to stay on so as to continue gauging the mood in the country and pass on to the head of state.