The ruling PF has astonishingly accused respected human rights organisation Amnesty International of receiving money from the opposition UPND to tarnish Zambia’s image internationally.
The PF alleges that Amnesty International is working together with the UPND and a South African-based political foundation to sponsor a smear media campaign against Zambia using musician Pilato who has since fled the country.
PF Media Director Sunday Chanda claimed that the UPND, working with a known Foundation in South Africa is sponsoring media space for Pilato with an agenda to project Zambia as a country that does not respect freedom of expression.
Mr. Chanda dismissed the allegations by Pilato that his life is in danger describing him as an economic refugee, trying to earn a living in South Africa and England.
“There are no conditions in Zambia to warrant Pilato to go into self-imposed exile unless he seeks to exaggerate his importance. We have private media hostile to the PF but none of their editors have ever contemplated running away from the country. Pilato has been seeking an appointment with President Lungu for eight (8) months and that has not been granted. That cannot amount to political hostility as the Presidency reserves the right on who to meet, when and of where,” Mr Chanda said.
Mr Chanda said named South African based Foundation in collusion with the UPND has secured media space for Pilato in the Mail and Guardian, BBC Africa, Financial Times London and ENCA SA among the international media organisations contracted by Amnesty to create a false brand about Zambia.
“Amnesty International should not be used to do International media placements by working with known Zambians who may be on their sponsor’s payroll,” said Mr Chanda
“His masters have placed space in the Mail and Guardian, Financial times London, ENCA SA with an agenda of showing there is no freedom of expression in Zambia. He is not a political refugee. He is a political project”
And Mr Chanda has stated that Pilato’s song has not been banned in the country.
He disclosed that Amnesty International never attempted to help any other person in the country apart from Pilato and Zambians must ask if they have been strategizing with his pay masters.
“Amnesty International is using Pilato’s falsified version in South Africa to raise alarm. He has featured on BBC Africa, ENCA and sponsored an article for him in the Mail and Guardian and there is another article underway to be published in the Financial Times in London and another one earmarked for SABC. This has all been planned by the UPND and a known Foundation in South Africa. He has been hired to champion their mission of giving Zambia a bad name in the international community ,” he revealed
Meanwhile, the PF media Director has explained that the reason Zambians have lost confidence in Amnesty is a result of false alarms the organisation created and have not be proven to date.
“Amnesty once came to Zambia and lied that 15 extra-judicial killings happened after elections and never named them until now. They haven’t named or identified the prisons holding the alleged 100 political detainees they claimed. That is why the Zambian authorities have very low level of confidence in Amnesty international.”
“Zambians must look at amnesty international as a political organization and will take their advice with a pinch of salt,” said Mr. Chanda.
Mr Chanda said the PF will no longer take Amnesty International seriously because they clearly compromised.
He described Amnesty International as a PR wing of the UPND under an agreement that allows them to receive cash donation from a know South African Foundation established by a powerful mining dynasty.