Police in Lusaka have recorded a warn and caution statement from Phoenix FM Journalist Logic Lukwanda regarding a story he published over the purported 80 missing Black Lechwes.
Speaking to Journalists at at Police Headquarters, Phoenix FM Managing Director, Muzaza Musulwe described the whole incident as intimidating to the media house.
“Yes, it can be very intimidating because really to find yourself here and being questioned like that, it is not very good but I think it is part of our profession,” said Musulwe.
Logic was accompanied to Police Headquarters by Phoenix FM News Editor Patricia Mbewe, a MISA representative including Lusaka Lawyer Gilbert Phiri.
Last month a Conservationist working in the northern circuit,Nsama Musonda Learns reported that 80 Black Lechwes had gone missing in the Bangweulu Wetlands in Luapula Province.
Ms Learns said the animals were captured from the Bangwelu Wetlands during the now banned exercise where the Department for National Parks and Wildlife began capturing wildlife species from their natural habitats to private ranches.
She has appealed to all concerned Zambians, Civil Society Organisations and Media and Human Rights activists to help locate the Lechwes which are endemic to the Bangweulu Wetlands.
Minister of Tourism and Arts Ronald Chitotela on 2nd October 2019 announced the suspension in the movement of animals from National Parks to Private ranches.
The suspension came a few days after controversy surrounded the movement of animals in Mfuwe where trucks were turned back by residents.
He said it was alleged that one of the Directors at the Ministry of Tourism and Arts signed a certificate of movement of live animals from one national park to a private ranch.
Bangweulu Wetlands is the only place in Africa where the Black Lechwe still occurs in significant numbers.
The population in 2005 was estimated at 35,000 but the area has the potential to carry up to 350,000 Black Lechwe.
Ministry of Tourism and Arts has refuted reports that 80 black Lechwes are missing in Bangweulu Wetlands.
Tourism and Arts Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga then disclosed that former Tourism Minister Charles Banda in March 2019 issued a capture permit for 50 Black Lechwe to Langani Game Ranch in Kazungula and 30 Black Lechwe to Kwisoko Game Farm in Lusaka.
Mr. Malupenga said that the animals were captured and translocated to the two farms on September 10, 2019 following the authorization.
On 31st October 2019 around 12:31hrs, Ms Learns then received a phone call from +260953892614 where a gentleman calling himself Mumba asked her why she had opened her mouth on the story of the black lechwe when she knew it involved the minister.He said they are aware that the opposition were paying her to destroy PF in Luapula and if she said anything more on the issue she would. A woman in the back ground was screaming on top of her voice that they will hunt her down and break her legs and make sure she lived in a wheel chair
Ms Nsama Musonda Learns says she will no longer respond to police summons over the matter.
Mrs Learns said she has now left this matter with her lawyers and that she will not respond to any police summons until they record a statement from the complainant and explain to her lawyers what charge the complainant has laid against her.
“If conserving nature in line with the legal and policy frameworks on environment and natural resources is POLITICAL and tantamount to treason, I need serious guidance so I am writing to the Anti Corruption Commission for guidance on the whistle blowers policy and protection of citizens.”