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Increase in fake news in Zambia worries PFBy Joseph Mwenda on 14 Jun 2017
Mumbi Phiri has condemned the ongoing mudslinging and political propaganda involving the ruling Patriotic Front and the biggest opposition UPND, which has seen a record high number of fake stories being published on social media in Zambia.
And Mumbi says the UPND once lied that she had travelled to South Africa to abort her pregnancy when in fact she has been wanting to have a baby
The PF Deputy Secretary General was reacting to a circulating statement where she is alleged to have said “We are not planning to release Hakainde Hichilema this year”.
“‘PF Deputy Secretary General Mumbi Phiri has disclosed that HH will not be released this year. Addressing some PF members who included Emmanuel Mwamba, Stephen Kampyongo, Kennedy Kamba, Sunday Chanda and 10 others this afternoon, Mrs Phiri said it was the desire of President Lungu to keep HH in detention for two years or more until he is politically finished’,” Mumbi was quoted as saying.
But in an interview, she told News Diggers that the UPND was churning out fake news which some unsuspecting media houses like The Mast newspaper were falling for.
“I have seen the statement and I can firmly confirm that it is not mine. In fact to prove that that is not my statement, the day that they claim I had a meetings with those people, that’s the day we were burying Honourable Chama’s mother in Chingola,” Mumbi said.
She claimed that before elections, the UPND and The Mast (which was established four months after the August elections) circulated a statement alleging that she had gone to abort in South African.
Mumbi added that contrary to the allegation, she has to date, been wanting to have a child with her husband who is opposed to the idea.
Take a listen:
“This UPND and especially The Mast newspaper, always spread falsehood because they hate me. They know that I am a strong Catholic; I am married in the Catholic Church. They circulated news just before the elections that Mumbi Phiri had gone to South Africa to abort a two-month-old pregnancy,” she said.
“I didn’t even see that they had published that, my husband who was then working in East Africa is the one who called me to see what they had written. He was laughing about it because at that time he refused to come to Zambia for holiday because he knew that I wanted to have a child. The children are the ones who went to his place for holidays. Because he said we are old now we can’t have anymore children, and I can confirm to you that upto date I still want to have my last child because I am not yet satisfied with parentage. And I am married; so what insinuations are they trying to say? In the Catholic Church , we are not allowed to abort. I am one woman who is Catholic inside out, I don’t even do family planning, I do natural planning. I don’t take any medication. So for them to show that I am a Catholic person but I pretend, they created a story that I had gone to South Africa. In fact they said I hired a jet to fly to South Africa to go and abort that pregnancy.”
She added that a statement attributed to her where she was condemning the Catholic Church was also fake.
“If you saw just a few days ago, there was a report which they were circulating, saying that I was condemning the statement issued by Arch Bishop Telesphore Mpundu in his pastoral letter. That’s our father, we respect his opinion, but they want to twist and start a fight between my Church and me,” she said.
“No matter what they say, some of us were born politicians. It’s in me, it’s God who gave me this talent which I use to serve the people of Zambia. So that statement is not true. They are trying to paint me black because I am one of very few strong political women who no one can mess with. I am strong, that is why I have remained married for the past 27 years. I realise that I am a mother and I am a wife, there is no way that I can make such a reckless statement. I am the [deputy] chief executive of the PF and I am very careful with what I say.”
When reminded that the PF had its own propaganda wing which was churning out fake news, Mumbi said her office does not encourage members to issue propaganda statements against the UPND.
“We are not encouraging our people in PF to spread propaganda, no one issued a statement that HH was sick and taken to South Africa. But There are people based in UK who spread propaganda for UPND and they started during Michael Sata’s time,” said Mumbi.
“Last week they circulated another story on Social Media saying that Mumbi Phiri has said ‘Mrs Hakainde is ugly I am more beautiful than her’. How can a grown up woman, a grandmother like me sink so low. And people were responding and attacking me until I went on one of the blogs where I said that statement is not coming from me.”
About Joseph Mwenda
Joseph Mwenda is a Zambian journalist experienced in political news writing, photography and video editing.
Email: joseph [at] diggers [dot] news
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