Detention, Arrest And Charging Of Journalists Is An Assault On The Rule Of Law And Freedom Of Press.

Health Minister Dr. Chitalu Chilufya
Health Minister Dr. Chitalu Chilufya

Lusaka – 15th November, 2022.

The arrest and detention of Muvi Television Journalist, Innocent Phiri, and cameraman, Obvious Kaunda, is an affront, and an assault on the Constitution, the rule of law and media freedom in Zambia, and signifies the fast-shrinking democratic space barely a year after President Hakainde Hichilema’s administration was voted into Government.
Article 20 of the Constitution protects freedom of expression which includes the right by media practitioners to access information and transmit such information to the public. This freedom cannot and should not be taken away from journalists without their consent.

President Hichilema and his administration are missing a rare opportunity to leave a legacy in which the media and people of Zambia should generally enjoy freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution of Zambia.

President Hichilema and his administration must walk the talk. They cannot actively be arresting journalists who want access to information while at the same time be claiming to be championing enactment of Access to Information law.

We understand President Hichilema and the United Party for National Development (UPND) are working towards consolidating power at the time when Government is struggling to deliver promises it made to Zambians around the reduction in prices of commodities such as fuel, fertiliser and the cost of living generally.

My sincere advice to President Hichilema is that arresting media personnel in the course of their duties as well as silencing political opponents is not the best way to consolidate his hold on power.

The arrest of Mr. Phiri, Mr. Kaunda and opposition leaders on trumped up charges is signal that Zambians who criticise the administration must brace themselves for wanton disregard of rights and freedoms which citizens must enjoy.

President Hichilema’s administration and its agents such as the Zambia Police must resist the temptation of using the same justifications previous leaders did by directing police officers against them.

President Hichilema has shown some boldness to repeal the criminal defamation law of the President but this boldness should be shown by the commitment that even before we repeal that law. The leaders in government must be committed to promoting freedom of expression and must be able to take stronger criticism against their leadership.
The arrests of Mr. Phiri, Mr. Kaunda, Mr. Tayali, Ms. Imboela, among others, is taking Zambia back to an era where persons were silenced, and in some instances killed, for being critical to leaders in power.

The repeal of the criminal defamation of the President should not just be done to win kudos from the international community while government lacks the needed commitment to show they will promote free expression.

I, therefore, urgently call on President Hichilema as Chief of Armed Forces in Zambia to prevail over institutions under his charge and insist that no journalist must be arrested for doing his work and that no person is arrested and deprived of one’s freedom for strongly criticising his administration.

I call for the unconditional dropping of all charges against all citizens who have been arrested, detained and sent to prison on the criminal defamation charges.

President Hichilema must assure Zambians, especially the media, that what has happened to journalists will never happen again. Even in war times, we have seen journalists who boldly risk their lives in the battlefront and they have never been brutalised by powerful armies in the world.

Issued By:
Hon. Dr. Chitalu Chilufya,
MP – Mansa Central &
PF Presidential Candidate.


  1. Chilufya Tayali is a political nonentity that has managed to expose HH’s major weakness. He’s like what Evander Holyfield said about Mike Tyson: He likes punishing others but can’t take the punishment himself. HH likes to insult and belittle others but he completely loses it when it’s done to him. He just can’t take it. It’s now up to his opponents to capitalize on this weakness and use it against him. He’s after all not as clever as his praise singers project him

  2. Tiyali has the capacity to cause civil unrest in the peaceful Republic of zambia with his wild accusations and rants……….

    That he fails to substantiate…..

    He must be dissuaded by any means possible from causing civil unrest…………

    Tiyali is a paid agent of PF to cause civil unrest………..

  3. This whole journalist arrest was a well planned operation by PF to score points and is part of their agenda to bring down a democratically elected government by fermenting civil unrest ……….

    With tiyali used as bait………..

    GRZ should brush aside their protestations and apply the law to its full might……….

  4. I agree with Ayatollah, HH has exposed his weaknesses beyond an imaginable measure. CT is drawing attention of the International community to see how weak the president is. CT mentioned two individuals who know the gassers, BMW and Chief Mukuni, Why didn’t the later take it up and sue CT for libel? We all want to know who the gassers were.

Comments are closed.