QUESTION OF THE DAY
Every new government must go through two main tests. The first test is one of tolerance of public opinion and the other is the tolerance of public protest. If a government has the capacity to tolerate divergent views and dissenting opinion expressed in a free media, then it passes the first test.
If it has the capacity to tolerate peaceful protests to speak truth to power, then it has passed the second test.
A careful review of the situation reveals that public opinion is being expressed without fear even though the National media is still lukewarm in the provision of access. There is a step in the right direction but improvement in that score is still necessary. Guidance is also necessary to reduce abuse.
On the other hand, peaceful protest is still seen as a security threat. The Kanilai, Bakoteh and Westfield experiences indicate that the Government is yet to grasp the difference between security threat and peaceful protest, to let out steam and motivate authorities of given sectors to be more alert to the quality of service delivery of their individual institutions. Improvement is needed on that score.