National Restoration Party(NAREP) president Elias Chipimo has demanded the immediate release of father Bwalya who has been detained in custody and charged with defamation of the president.
In a statement to the media, Mr Chipimo, who described father Bwalya as a a brave and fearless patriot, said that describing the president as a “Cumbu munshololwa”, a Bemba term which means “stubborn” or “unable to be advised”, does not amount to insulting the president.
Below is the full media statement
We are saddened and deeply troubled to learn about the arrest of Fr. Frank Bwalya in Kasama following his appearance on Radio Mano.
His only crime appears to have been to describe the PF leader and republican president as “cumbu mushololwa” during the course of the interview.
It should be categorically stated that this Bemba expression is not an insult. It is merely an expression used to describe someone who is “stubborn” or “unable to be advised”. It is in fact a perfectly legitimate way for one politician to describe a fellow politician, if indeed that person is stubborn by nature.
Generally, “cumbu munshololwa” would be the type of person that acts without consultation, refuses to listen to other points of view and generally assumes that he or she knows best. It describes a person who lacks flexibility and who like a potato (icumbu) will only break when you try to change their fixed ideas.
We wonder where we are heading to as a nation if a leader of the Opposition can be arrested for stating the obvious. Zambia desperately needs leaders that will openly declare – when necessary – that “the King is naked”.
For we are so long past the era when the truth in all its bare reality could be hushed-up for fear of authoritarian repercussion. We cannot and must not allow anyone to harbour the belief that in this 21st Century, we can be intimidated into silence.
Everything we fought for in restoring multiparty politics will have been lost if the seed of intolerance that has been planted with the arrest of Fr. Bwalya is allowed to germinate.
Prior to the police effecting the arrest and before the interview had come to an end, PF cadres had already taken it upon themselves to storm the radio station in a bid, no doubt, to mete out mob justice. No action against this threatened violence appears to have been taken by the police.
NAREP demands the immediate release of Fr. Bwalya. As a brave and fearless patriot, Frank Bwalya does not need to be locked up.
If he has committed any crime, he will readily avail himself before any authority at the relevant and appropriate time should he be summoned to do so. Certainly, it would be a gross mistake to arrest him for describing any leader as “chumbu munshololwa”.
National Restoration Party
Monday 6 January 2014