Harassment of Hon. Miles Sampa by PF cadres
The Media Liaison Committee (MLC) is calling on President Edgar Lungu to tame thugs in the ruling Patriotic Front that are harassing innocent citizens. We specifically refer to the Saturday January 23rd incident on the Copperbelt where PF cadres brutalised Hon Miles Sampa’s supporters and airport staff at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe. Hon Sampa was scheduled to address the media on his latest political move at Moba Hotel in Kitwe. But PF sponsored thugs, including a criminal grouping called jerabos waylaid his supporters and beat them up in the name of protecting the ruling party.
Hon Sampa has every constitutional right to address the media on matters of public interest, just like any other politician. The actions of those PF thugs are therefore repugnant, criminal and primitive. Such things should not be tolerated in any democratic society like our. The MLC puts the blame squarely on President Lungu in whose interest those criminals acted. President Lungu has never condemned such barbaric actions; instead he has kept quiet because it benefits him politically. As leader of the ruling party he has powers to stop such criminal acts from his party supporters. We wish to remind the PF leadership that Hon Sampa was going to address a press conference, and not a political rally. It was therefore unreasonable for PF criminals to stop that planned conference. We demand an end to these acts, especially as we go towards a general election.
Secondly, the MLC is shocked by media reports that information minister Hon Chishimba Kambwili claimed that he and his colleagues in government owned the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation. According to the media, Hon Kambwili was addressing ZNBC management and the union in Lusaka recently. The MLC is shocked by Hon Kambwili’s continued ignorance about the ZNBC Act. His poor understanding of the procedure to employ people at the national broadcaster further perturbs us. It is very clear that Hon Kambwili will never see reason in anything, but will always have his way. We wish to warn him that there have been other bullies before him who have harassed the public media in similar manner but they have ended up in courts of law and prison. We fear that he too could be headed the same route because regimes change.
We therefore condemn his threats on ZNBC employees and management, and we urge them to ignore his threats, but soldier own. We shall not tolerate harassment of media personnel, not even from Hon Kambwili.
The Media Liaison Committee is a consortium of media associations and trade union movements that promote media freedom and free speech. The Committee comprises the Media Institute of Southern Africa – Zambian chapter, Press Association of Zambia, United Nations Information Centre, and the Zambia Union of Broadcasters and other Information Disseminators. Others are the Press Freedom Committee of The Post Newspapers, Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection, Zambia Media Women Association, Southern Africa Editors’ Forum – Zambian Chapter, Catholic Media Services and the Media Network on Child Rights and Development.