OPINION: Press Freedom Or Economic Development? Paul Kagame Shows African Governments What Is More Important

In Zambia, the debate is still on, as to whether Prime TV was unjustifiably shut down following its appetite for controversial and, often times, fake news to prop up the political image of the opposition in the country. Who can forget about how the TV station carried a breaking news item of Mr. Hakainde Hichilema dodging police bullets for 8 hours in the bush? Is that Press Freedom?

Now and again, President Paul Kagame has reiterated one principle: If there is no political stability in the country, you can’t expect production to take place, you can’t expect the right reforms to be implemented therefore you can’t expect fast economic growth. And yet in Zambia, the opposition aligned press reports one falsehood after the other, basically undoing every progress government posts. Who benefits from scandalising government Ministers apart from those who believe they can only win elections if there is Armageddon.

The advent of social media has even given credence to some otherwise unknown destitutes in the diaspora insulting the Head of State and his government. How can the Health Minister, Dr. Chitalu Chilufya, after all the effort he has put in, of late, be accused of stealing face masks by an economic refuge in the UK and it’s treated back home as breaking news?

Rwanda’s progress is not a game of chance. Let’s seriously learn from the discipline that we need to post economic growth. In the year 2000, the government established Vision 2020, a long-term development strategy with its main objective to transform Rwanda into a middle-income country by 2020, based on a thriving private sector. Since then, the Rwandan economy has been growing steadily at seven percent every year, earning a reputation as one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies.

One of Rwanda’s noted political commentators, Frederick Golloba-Mutebi, explained how the country’s economy has recovered after the devastating war and 1994 genocide against the Tutsi ethnic group.

“The economy was destroyed and through the process of economic reconstruction, it picked up with a tendency to go very fast, faster than the economies which are already developed,” said Golloba-Mutebi. He added that President Paul Kagame’s leadership has played a positive role in terms of the political stability the country has enjoyed since 1994.

To maintain steady economic growth for almost two decades, the government invested time and resources into soft and hard infrastructure in order to attract foreign direct investment. The government established key institutions that would help it achieve its objectives enshrined in Vision 2020.

The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) was put in place in 2009 to help oversee the country’s business regulations, foreign investments, tourism promotion, environmental conservation and broader economic and development planning. What is key is that everyone is looking at the same target. There is no room for negative politics of Mr. Hichilema lying about Government selling parastatals.

According to Vision 2020, the Rwandan state is tasked with ensuring good governance, which includes accountability, transparency and efficiency in deploying scarce resources to key sectors of the national economy. The 2017 Corruption Perception Index ranked Rwanda the third least corrupt country on the African continent behind the Seychelles and Botswana.

But according to Reporters Without Borders, President Kagame is still among the world’s Predators of Press Freedom. This is because many journalists lack the responsibility it takes to have freedom of expression. They report on anything as long as it is exciting ignoring the negative consequences that may come with it. While we appreciate President Edgar Lungu’s tolerance of negative energy from the press, the question he may wish to ask himself is at what cost?

The fact that respect for press freedom is enshrined in the constitution does not mean it must be abused. President Paul Kagame knows all about that. He tolerates no embarrassing questions at press conferences, frequently insults independent journalists and brands all critical media outlets as new versions of “Radio Mille Collines,” the radio station that encouraged the 1994 genocide.

The government cannot deny the obvious – it is tough being an independent journalist in Kigali. The authorities target any journalist, local or foreign, who puts out news they do not like or who violates the taboos of the society rebuilt by the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which came to power after overthrowing the genocidal Hutu regime and ending its massacres.

In 2008, a Ugandan journalist was declared persona non grata, a Tanzanian journalist was deported and three other journalists were forcibly expelled from a ceremony marking World Press Freedom Day. Every year several Rwandan journalists decide to go into exile because they find the atmosphere unbearable in their home country. This does not worry President Kagame, who refers to some journalists as “mercenaries” or “bums”.

But if this is what it should take to check the ever escalating levels of poverty on the continent, then be it. What Paul Kagame has demonstrated is that Africa must ignore Western democracy and implement its own democracy in line with how we communicate as Africans. We are not Europeans or Americans. We don’t speak in the face of elders nor do we correct them in public.

There is an urgent need for a home bred governance system that must prioritize development over political hegemony. The enormous popularity of the Cuban revolution in the face of outside interference and economic isolation, in my opinion, suggests that this approach of a non-partisan people power electoral system may be the best for economic development in Africa. In Zambia, partisan politics has reignited tribalism that was buried back in 1973 by Dr. Kenneth Kaunda.

In the Cuban view, freedom is the participation in power by the people and it should make a lot of sense to all of us who value cooperation and consensus because it promotes integration and equality among people and a strong sense of community based on good education of all and public control of mass media.

My argument has been that democracy should take centre stage and not party politics. The idea is to obtain a slate of national representatives who are a “mirror of the nation.” Politics is that particular area of human endeavour which involves creating and changing societal rules in all areas, driven only by the concept of the common good not behaving like sheep behind a shepherd.

Democracy should not be misunderstood for anarchy that comes with irresponsible journalism but, rather, it is anchored on the nation being able to consider all honest perspectives in order to reach the broadest possible consensus. The focus must not be on who must win the next elections but how many children in rural Zambia must not go without food, healthcare and quality education.

“We need to mobilise the right mindsets. In Africa, we have everything we need, in real terms. Whatever is lacking, we have the means to acquire. And yet we remain mentally married to the idea that nothing can get moving, without external help. We are even begging for things we already have. That is absolutely a failure of mindset,” President Paul Kagame reminds us. I may ask you, Press Freedom or Economic Development? My take is, let the press be a catalyst of economic development and its freedom won’t be checked at all.

Surely, there must be something good about Government Ministers that private media are hiding. Unfortunately, you will only hear about it when they join the opposition ahead of the 2021 General Elections. The wrong political system is behind our numerous economic issues.

Mpandashalo Evans Mwewa
WhatsApp: +260 977 430702

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at: editor@zambiareports.com

Copyright © 2020 ZR.


  1. bsiamc

    There is no need to emulate Rwanda. Zambia is rated better than Rwanda presently, as disclosed in the non qualification to COVID 19 bailout loan. The only problem is residents can’t feel that directly. It the level of disparity or perceived inequalities in the populace. No country has been able to equalize that.

  2. FedUp

    Mpandashalo Evans Mwewa you are not in touch with reality. Please enlighten us “unknown destitutes in the diaspora/ economic refugees” among other things of the corruption rate in Rwanda compared to Zambia. Point out the scandals by Rwanadan government officials that have gone unpunished. Zambia is on auto pilot & idiots such as yourself are the beneficiaries of this thieving government. BTW, are you aware why citizens become ‘economic refugees?’ It’s because their home countries cannot provide… chapwa. In the PF government you have former grave diggers such as Bowman Lusambo & shoe cleaners Kampyongo serving as ministers…really!!! Just eat quietly ….idiot.

    • Flu ni flu

      Rwanda is not our kind of democracy. The opposition is openly killed in Rwanda. We don’t kill opposing people here
      The author is Idi Amin and wants us to blindly toe the line of dictators

  3. Young youth

    Just open prime TV

  4. hD

    but zoona ba eva insala yamushupa on the issue of black rings u defended pf ministers if it was upnd sembe unakamba cha? just keep quiet boyfriend we ar tired of of partriotic dictator frount PDF

  5. Malizgani Nyirenda

    ZICTA, ZICTA, ZICTA, because of your inconpetence and biasednes have you seen ZAMBIANS (Mr fedup) are even insulting respected visitors, i today appeal to the INSPECTOR GENERAL of police to look into this matter

    • FedUp

      @ Malizgani Nyirenda, did you appeal to the inspector general of police to look into all the other embezzlements under PF? Yes, I am Fed up & I want to believe the majority of Zambian thinkers are too. You are excused. Sit the F*k down.

  6. Jms

    A nice story but I don’t think Paul kagame can tolerate some unlawless behavior of someone building houses ie the 48 houses, kagame’s regime has even local companies whereby locals empower themselves you u fail even to do so but you compares yourself to a person were in his country innovation is welcome.

    • FedUp

      I agree with you. Comparing President Paul Kagame’s Govt to PF’s company (not government) is not only malicious but extremely delusional. Its like attempting to put distilled water (President Kagame) used oil (E*l) from a high mileage auto wreck in the same container. Ta kwaba elo ta kwabe.

  7. Kadoyo

    Fusekeni Rwandaness are all over in Zambia and you are talking of emulating who?

  8. Mulenga

    Editor be careful of Evans , I believe he is Kagame agent , president kagame put all his money in publicity and invest in killing his own citizens.there is no way all Evans articles he praises kagame when we know that Rwandese refugees are all over the world . There is no freedom of speech in Rwanda because of different reasons. Rwandese die from hunger but the media can never talk about . Sure what can zambia learn from Rwanda?

  9. Rabbison Malwena

    Let Government just reopen prime Tv we want freedom of expression to exist in Zambia because we’re in democratic countryrule we want parcipation,accoutability,equalily,traparency, rule of law,to name a few.

  10. Angoni

    I LOVE THIS QUOTE We need to mobilise the right mindsets. In Africa, we have everything we need, in real terms. Whatever is lacking, we have the means to acquire. And yet we remain mentally married to the idea that nothing can get moving, without external help. We are even begging for things we already have. That is absolutely a failure of mindset,” President Paul Kagame reminds us. I may ask you, Press Freedom or Economic Development? My take is, let the press be a catalyst of economic development and its freedom won’t be checked at all.

  11. Jms

    We need Prime TV to reopen, otherwise press freedom won’t be obtained. The president must be careful with his ministers otherwise the blame will be on his head.

  12. Chozi napozi

    Ku Rwanda

  13. Saimbwende

    In Zambia it’s too much of this fake news govt please deal with them even economic refugees have become journalists shame all those news outlets who don’t follow ethics must be closed freedom comes with responsibility so prime shawa & post mmembe are good examples of the fake & irresponsible news.
    These fake news if taken with kid gloves they are capable of removing a ruling party out of govt & it’s cold in the opposition so you govts it’s up to you if allow this opposition sides press they will throw you out of govt with their negative reporting.
    Imagine Mmembe started calling himself a king maker because of this useless post rag the thug Mmembe become arrogant and silly where is this minion now iam told he is a socialist my foot he is an egoist.
    Deal with the fake media very strongly let them also be held accountable.Sata is and will be the last president who won because fake media no more winning through false stories in newspapers & tv’s.
    Sell your manifesto not hiding behind useless journalists to churn out favourable news for you.

  14. Christian

    My analysis is that the the author has a hidden agenda which fortunately is not hidden anymore and that is to lobby for Kagame. He claims he loves PF and ECL and yet he is a champion of dictatorship, authoritarian regime found in Rwanda. PF holds election and changes leaders. Kagame has been president for 26 years; he shouldn’t mix up the PF manifesto with Rwanda ‘s method of governance . He believes he can do anything he wants with impunity under the cover of being a PF supporter. Mr author talk about Zambia’s achievements and stop promoting undemocratic governance in Z.

  15. Jms

    Incredible and unfortunate for a reporter to line different situations among one column. This is one of the corrupt ideas.that money you are chowing will chow you one day.

  16. Jms

    Incredible and unfortunate for a reporter to line different situations among one column. This is one of the corrupt ideas.that money you are chewing will chew you one day.

  17. Benjamin

    One think I want to remind you, Zimbabwe was built with Zambian resources, see now where Zimbabwe is. It the same with Rwanda, everything in Rwanda is from DRC. Just to be short. Don’t praise kagame. Things will turn around in days to come.

  18. Youth movement

    We know were you’re siding but remember that tomorrow when tables change you’ll cry for the same press freedom,don’t only think of today but even tomorrow.

  19. Pan Africa

    I think Zambian journalists should be professional, bocoz most of the reports they release to the public is fake and centred at demeaning the the reputation of Zambia. They carelessly report negative news about Zambia instead of supporting the development and economic growth. Such
    neo colonial contra be usurers deserve bitter sanctions .I never heard any news media outlet of U.S.A reporting of how People in USA are suffering or UK but those are reports for Zambia becoz we we are not conscious of the reputation that are attached to our reports.

    • klui

      By the u saying in USA the news is never about people living there suffering…then my friend u are lying…I have been living in USA for 8 years now..n as u know each state there on prime minister …n own news reporters…and the same reporters read on news about fuel prices …turkey prices going up n how poeple were complaining towards obama at some point due to major crisis Of petroleum….so next time think before u lie…I net u don’t even watch news….fool

  20. Pan Africa

    Too much freedom is more problems.. I don’t even Mr H.H I’ll condone journalist s that are harmful to the reputation of Zambia instead him maybe he I’ll even Lock up the the culprits .The media is the power to build or to demolish so reporters must use their power wisely .Or Else they are themselves a setback to their own countries development.

  21. Jms

    An institution is created to solve and let every one understand what is on the ground, suppose nothing won’t on the ground how could you have known the 48 plus houses, fire tenders etc, some journalists have have departed znbc why do you think they are unqualified no,znbc is submerged in water,failing to me out.as your name implies to be patriotic then we need to see how patriotic you are unfortunately its too long being unpatriotic.

  22. Reasoning

    All said and done, is Zambia’s economy improving or going to the dogs? No country can improve the economy by stifling the press.

    • Sane citizen

      If a dictator wants to rule he must show the development which comes with dictatorship. Kagame can defend his style but could Mobutu or Bokassa or Amin have? No because they were just tyrants for the sake of the word. Thieves hiding behind the power of office

  23. bronco

    malizigani uusapota nefyakumputi ba zicta aabanshi ?ata iwe.

    • FedUp

      @Bronco, Malizigani is a foolish illiterate witch. A loser in life. ZICTA this. ZICTA that… until the chickens come home to roost. He believes i having peoples views stifled. The idiot has forgotten that
      ‘We’ the people voted ECL into State House NOT God & it will be ‘We’ the people that will kick him out.

  24. Reuben Kamanga

    Is this article written by Chris Phiri or by Evans Mwewa?

  25. klui

    Dear people first of all ….
    Does anybody realise that this govt is the worst …come on lets get to the roots of it….
    1. They bought a jet worth 9 billion kwacha n yet the country was in debt
    2. They steal money through buying ambulances from the 90’s
    3. They dis honored the most powerful lawyer in zambia in the name saying hos lying That ecl should not stand as president
    4. They took away prime tv all because it says what’s really there.
    5. They failed our economy..they keep spending more and less imvesting
    6. They keep making things political making loose concentration on serious matters
    7. They brought about bill 10…so to have back up when they are thrown out.
    …..u see people the God we worship is very powerful….pf n yo president u will suffer very soon n in a terrible manner….
    U corrupt gang…

    What touched the most was..
    They have enough cars fprices campaigns but they claim they never had a car to transport samples of covid 19…u poeple…God is watching u …..n I pray n hope that he should deal with each and every corrupt leader in our government system..

  26. Alex walumba

    Even in bars and Tarves they don’t like ba ‘Rwanda ‘

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