Dear colleagues, friends and all of us relatives of the late Susan Musukuma. It is very hard for me to clearly state what exact role Susan played in the media allows me to use the words which you all expect me use. She was a role model a real activist, a team player and someone who had a vision for an advanced media.
The current executive committee of PAZA, took over from Susan‘s executive committee but she promised one thing when she left, and I’m quite call on me anytime if you want to consult’’
Since then, Susan remained more active in PAZA than the majority of the members. She became the defacto vice president in the absence of Andrew Sakala, the President of PAZA.
Because of her influence, drive and desire to see PAZA succeed, she ably represented the Zambian media on the Mwangala Zaloumis Electoral Reform Technical committee.
After that there was the Willa Mangómba constitutional Review Committee. When PAZA was almost reaching its decision to boycott the process by declining to make the submissions guess who came along to convince that the boycott in the constitution would have serious negative effects on the future of the Zambian media.
Her explanation was that, PAZA represents the view of media practitioners, but most importantly the Zambian people, through its role of promotion of a free society. As such, PAZA should be above all the divides, be it political or otherwise. She said PAZA was not exclusively an association for journalists, but all Zambians because its role is to promote democracy, by closing all doors that prevent the enjoyment of freedom of expression.
So, when we said but the decision has been made by every association to boycott, Susan as former PAZA vice president did not believe that we must all do something on the basis that other people are doing it. Rather she believed that we can only do so if we are convinced that our action is best for the future of the media .
PAZA changed its decision and asked Susan to chair the special committee, responsible for drafting the submissions. She took it up and the media chapter in the draft constitution borrows heavily from what Susan wrote. The document she produced formed the basis of the advocacy of the media. When you hear people say, a free media access to information, independent broadcasting authority and so on, most of them were picked from Susan’s submissions, presented to the Mung’ombe constitutional review commission.
Now I ask my question, what would have been in the draft constitution, If Susan did not come along to convince us?
From 2009-2011, there are hundreds of practitioners in the public media but Susan’s name was always on top. She coordinated training for women. In summary, ladies, gentlemen and colleagues, Susan has gone after fighting a good battle, and will ever remain as one of the women in Zambia who believed that despite the many huddles, the media fraternity faced in this country, one day , Zambia would gladly rejoice in our collective advocacy for a better media environment. Her death is particularly sad , because today we are standing on the verge of the dawn of a new media environment partly made possible because of her advocacy work. Her death is a challenge especially to PAZA ZAMWA and other journalists to step up and be counted as worthy gallant advocates of media reforms, in order for them to be fully recognised and honoured the same way Susan has and will be.
We shall live to remember her good work. From the journalists here and out there, my challenge to you is that if we truly loved Susan, we must honour her by joining the fight against cancer. On this day she died , each journalist must reach out to at least ten or more women to encourage them to go for cancer screening. Allow me ladies, gentlemen to say good bye to Susan at the point. Susan you may not be there now, but your work is here and no one will ever succeed in erasing and killing your achievements.
Rest well and in peace dear colleague