There was chaos at Muvi TV studios yesterday when MMD faction leader Nevers Mumba got enraged after he was challenged to debate with the opposite faction’s national secretary Raphael Nakacinda.
Mumba has accused the television station of trying to humiliate him on a live programme.
But Muvi TV general manager Angel Phiri says the station has a mandate to give viewers a balanced position of its programmes.
Meanwhile, Mumba’s national secretary Elizabeth Chitika has written a formal complaint letter to Muvi TV saying it was unprofessional for the station to invite a “criminal” to share the platform with the former republican vice-president.
Mumba, who was on Muvi TV to discuss the future of MMD, was caught unaware when programme host Master Chimbala told him that he had Nakacinda on a video call to respond to some of his remarks.
“I would converse with Mr Mutati, not Mr Nakacinda. He is too low in the structure. So if they want, they can put Mr Mutati, I am the president. If he calls himself the national secretary, he should speak to our national secretary,” Mumba said when he was first informed of Nakacinda’s video call.
“He calls himself national secretary but let him speak to his equal number. If Mr Mutati comes, I will stop here and I will speak to him because he claims to have my position… right now you are letting me talk to somebody who really, I have no business talking to.”
After noticing that Nakacinda was linked to the live programme through a video connection, Mumba got agitated.
“If this is what you wanted to do, you should have told me, it is the responsibility of the station to tell me that they are going to bring someone so low to speak to me. I am not going to subject myself to that. If Mr Mutati is nearby, if he is in the country, put him there and I will speak to him,” said Mumba.
And a Muvi TV employee who witnessed the incident told News Diggers! that after The Assignment ended, Mumba complained bitterly and attempted to storm the control room where he suspected Nakacinda was hiding.
“He was so upset and the people who were around him were even insulting and shouting things like ‘mwalitumpa sana! (you are very stupid)’. Dr Mumba went straight for the control room upstairs because he thought that Nakacinda was hiding there but the door was locked. After some time he left with his entourage, they were about 16 of them,” narrated the witness.
“When they left, Nakacinda was connected back to the programme, and started responding to what Mumba had earlier said. So when the cadres heard, they came back here screaming and looking for the transmitters. We had to switch off some lights so that it could look as though people had left, it was bad. We all scampered because they wanted to beat us up.”
Meanwhile, in an interview today, Mumba charged that Muvi TV connived with Nakacinda to ambush him.
“We want to know how much money Raphael Nakacinda paid those journalists. The information we have is that they say that they don’t get their money in good time so that’s how they get their money and I think that they made their money on a wrong person. I was their guest and they need to protect their guest, not to embarrass, to ambush or to humiliate their guests,” Mumba said.
“I was disappointed that a media house could sink so low as to throw away media ethics and lie that the man just called when he was actually hiding in the building.”
Asked if it was true that he almost stormed the control room, Mumba replied in the negative.
“Let me just refute that nobody wanted to storm into the control room but what is true is that my team was extremely angry last night…I guess that’s what they want to project but I think what is important is that they assaulted journalism ethics and everything else that they want to say is to try and hide away from the main issue. And that is the issue of bringing someone who is according to us a criminal in the middle of my programme without informing me that that is what they want to do. I think that it is unethical and they are infringing on my rights. I am not aware that anybody went back there, we left immediately after my programme,” said Mumba.
And in her letter which was copied to the IBA and MISA, Chitika echoed Mumba’s arguments and demanded an apology.
“We demand for a public apology from your station. Dr Mumba is not only the legal president of our party bur former vice-president of this country and deserves respect from your station,” wrote Chitika.
Meanwhile, Muvi TV general manager said the station had an obligation to provide the public with balanced discourse.
He also said The Assignment was unlike a paid-for political adverts in the sense that the station was in control of how many people to bring on the programme.
“Our newsroom is free. We emphasise on our people that they must always balance what they have so that we are not looked at as one sided and according to the team, that programme was at his request so if people are for example paying for a programme, we can make a programme they pay and we will put to say this is a political advert. But when you come to a programme that we have, we have the power to add as many people as possible and as many views as possible,” said Phiri.
“Most people get mistaken, when they are invited to the TV, sometimes they are coming to rebut what has been said or alternatively, give an opinion to something new. In that incidence if the producers felt that the questions that were raised needed to have answers, because we have got an obligation to the people, we are not just serving one side. For the producer, what we try to look at is, did you balance everything and was there anything that was a misconduct and if there was misconduct on our team, we will deal with it. And if there is a formal complaint, we would want to hear that complaint and check within our people. If anyone wants to speak, this is the platform and if anyone wants to respond to that, this is the platform. We want people with different opinions to discuss and it will be up to the people to decide over what comes out.”