MISA Zambia has condemned the threats issued against CITY TV reporter Wellington Chanda by the Kasama District Commissioner Elizabeth Goma and some Provincial Youth leaders from the United Party for National Development (UPND).
Mr. Chanda, a CITY TV reporter based in Kasama wrote a story on some youths in Kasama District expressing dissatisfaction over the outcome of the selection process to recruit supervisors and enumerators in the 2022 Census.
This development has prompted the DC and the Provincial Youth Chairperson, Mr. Paul Mulenga to threaten the reporter.
Other party officials involved are Moses Kanyanta, Deputy Provincial Youth Chairperson and Doreen Namuchenje, Provincial Chairperson for Women.
MISA Zambia Chairperson Fr. Barnabas Simatende, OMI said threats against reporters are disturbing and retrogressive to the development of the media sector.
Fr. Simatende said acts against reporters from the DC and UPND officials are also an attack on President Hakainde Hichilema who has been expressing his commitment towards the enjoyment of freedom of expression and freedom of the media.
“Such acts are disturbing and retrogressive to the development of the media sector and an infringement to freedom of expression. The acts are also an attack to the Head of State following his commitment towards the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms of expression and the media. We wish to remind the DC that media freedom and freedom of expression is a constitutional right that should be enjoyed by every Zambian. Madam Elizabeth Goma overstepped her boundaries and her actions should not be tolerated in any functioning democracy. Her actions are not only an infringement to media freedoms but also a thorn to democracy. Further, we wish to express disappointment with the UPND Kasama District Provincial Youth Leadership for threatening Mr Chanda’s life. What the UPND in Kasama needs to understand is that Mr Chanda was only doing his job of informing the public,” Fr. Simatende said.
“The actions by Mr Paul Mulenga, Mr Moses Kanyanta and Madama Doreen Namuchenje are undemocratic and an attack on the office of the President. The Head of State has on a number of times stressed the need to enjoy fundamental freedoms of the media and freedom of expression which we strongly believe are key tenets of democracy. The Provincial Youth Chairperson and his compatriots have no right to demand that Mr Chanda should always consult them each time he wants to issue a statement concerning the youths in the district. The youths have a constitutional right to enjoy these fundamental rights such as the access to information that allows making informed decisions.”
Fr. Simatende added:”We note with sadness that the three-party leaders mentioned have threatened to deal with Mr Chanda by applying politics against him and further stating that caderism has not ended.Mr Chanda has on a number of times received threats of all forms from the provincial youth leadership. We have been informed that some youths have been mobilized and ordered to beat Mr Chanda for giving youths a platform to voice out. We would further like to bring this matter to the attention of the President and the UPND leadership to discipline the leaders in question as their actions do not reflect the true reason why Zambians voted for them.”