MMD cadres yesterday beat up journalists from the Times of
Zambia and The Post newspapers who had gone to cover the arrival of President Rupiah Banda from Uganda at the Lusaka International Airport.
A group of cadres confronted the journalists from various organisations at the airport at the time they were waiting for the plane carrying President Banda to touch down around 11:30 hours.
The group leader of the cadres immediately approached Times of Zambia senior reporter, Anthony Mulowa and asked him to produce his Press pass but he refused to do so.
The cadre then punched Mr Mulowa in the lower abdomen and he was only freed after he produced his Press pass.
The party cadres then descended on photo journalist, Richard Mulonga whom they dragged around and threatened to break his camera until the police rescued him.
Mr Mulowa has since reported the matter to central police station in Lusaka and said he could identify his assailants.
Earlier, Post reporter, Chibaula Silwamba was slapped twice by the same group of cadres before they forced him together with photo journalist, Collins Phiri out the airport.
President Banda condemned the violence by the cadres saying it should not be tolerated.
He said journalists were employed to inform the people and should be allowed to operate freely.
He, however, urged journalists not to be used to fight personal battles but remain objective in the manner they conducted their duties.
Paza president, Andrew Sakala challenged the top leadership of the MMD and police to ensure that the harassment of journalists was brought to an end.
He said in a democratic dispensation, people should be allowed to air divergent views.
ZUJ president, Morgan Chonya said as an immediate solution to the thuggery, the union reserved the right to instruct its members to stop covering the president.
Mr Chonya said this was not an attack on the president’s office but a measure to safeguard the lives of its members.
[Times of Zambia]