The Free Press Initiative Zambia says it is saddened by the storming of Mpika FM by UPND cadres on Wednesday night who ordered a stop to a programme which featured PF Mpika Central Member of Parliament Francis Kapyanga.
FPI Founder Joan Chirwa said the behavior exhibited by the cadres is unfortunate as it does not align with not only President Hakainde Hichilema’s pronouncements that the media is free to operate, but also Minister of Information and Media Chushi Kasanda’s continuous pronouncements of government’s commitment to provide an enabling environment in which journalists will operate freely without any fear of intimidation or harassment.
Ms. Chirwa noted that just when Zambians thought barbaric behaviour had ended, seeing the now ruling party cadres also take up animalistic behavior, waters down everything that has been promised in this democratic dispensation.
She said media practitioners and Zambians at large do not want to see a continuation of harassment, attacks, and threats that the pf cadres put the media through.
Ms. Chirwa said the UPND must immediately act on this and stop such behavior which has potential to stifle press freedom and instill fear in women and the youth who may shy away from participating in politics.
Mpika FM radio station manager Allan Dumingu disclosed that a group of cadres stormed the radio station around 20 Hours on 1st December and ordered the presenter to stop the program immediately, failure to which they would attack him and the security guard on duty and destroy property.
He explained that they said no politician from the opposition should feature on radio anymore as they threatened to deal with the radio station, the MP and anyone else who would allow the station to feature opposition political parties and their members.
Mr. Dumingu said the presenter complied with the thugs and discontinued the program for fear of being attached.
He said the matter was reported to Mpika police station on Thursday, 2nd December 2021, and investigations are still underway by the police.
However, so far, no suspects have been apprehended.