Satirical singer Chama Fumba alias Pilato says he didn’t report threats on his life because police in the Zambia are controlled and over powered by PF thugs.
But Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba has disagreed with Pilato saying that if he wishes to live in South Africa, he can live there without damaging Zambia’s reputation.
Speaking when the duo featured on SABC’s ‘Question Time’ program on Thursday, Pilato said the police had no power at the moment to arrest the PF cadres who were perpetrating violence.
“These cadres are managed and paid by the people in power, the Patriotic Front. They (have) beaten people from the police station, hacked people at graveyards, and when you report to the police, the police have no power at the moment. I didn’t report [the matter to the police] because they are controlled and over powered by the same thugs. Its like reporting the son to the father,” Pilato said.
And Pilato said Ambassador Mwamba was speaking out of duty and not convinction.
“I think the High Commissioner is just doing his job. There is a very big difference between someone who speaks out of convinction and someone who speaks out of duty so he has to be paid. There’s no way he’s going to sound differently from what he’s sounded. I hope that these boys (cadres) don’t rise against him because when they do he will have no excuse or story to tell,” he said.
Pilato said he had refused to meet Ambassador Mwamba because he didn’t believe that he had been threatened.
“It’s very difficult to meet somebody who doesn’t share in your fears. I was going to meet him if he had understood and appreciated the fact that I was threatened. This man doesn’t believe that I’m threatened. What am I going to sit down and talk about?” asked Pilato.
“The institutions [such as] police, officers must be independent and free, they have the duty to protect everyone. In our case the police have become democratic decorations which exist as figures. Its people like ambassador Emmanuel Mwamba and his team that are controlling these people. These people have ignored crimes. Like in the past, we have people that have been beaten, injured at police stations and no one has beeing arrested up to now. Government keeps distancing itself from such members, the people that committed that a crime. I must mention that Zambian officers are very good and professional but they have been overtaken by politicians and people like ba Emmanuel Mwamba.”
However, Mwamba said Pilato should live in South Africa if he wished instead of damaging the reputation of the country.
“It is regrettable. We have many cases of party cadres from both sides who have misconducted themselves or acted violently and have been arrested charged. In many cases even jailed. So Pilato is not telling the truth, if he wishes to live in South Africa, he can live in South Africa without damaging the reputation or democratic credentials of Zambia. He has in the past sang songs that are far stronger in lyrics, far deeper than what he has said (in Koswe Mumpoto song), far more offensive, he has not been arrested, taken to court, or acted upon violently by any person,” he said.
But Ambassador Mwamba insisted that Pilato should have reported the threats to the police.
“And Pilato is not the only one that would issue strong words against (government), they are many including opposition leaders and they are not harmed. If someone from Intercity Bus Terminus has threatened Pilato, simply go to the police, we will have him arrested. Because Pilato has a fundamental right to express himself, he has a fundamental right to enjoy his artistic freedom. We have shown over the years that he is not the only one. There are many people over the years who have said things that are offensive against government, and they have not being arrested. His lack of confidence in the police does not reduce a standing of the police in our country. The police remains a constitutional office, they have the mandate to keep law and order and to attend to any threat or freedoms like in the case of Pilato,” he said.
He said Pilato was welcome to stay in South Africa if he wished but told him to stop spreading lies about Zambia.
“That is not true. You should hear a man called Chishimba Kambwili. You should watch his press conferences. You should see how explicit he is in his language. The language is direct, offensive to the President. There is even a law that stops someone from defaming the President, its a criminal offence but he [Kambwili] has never being arrested. And there are thousands like him. So why would government target Pilato over a song that is indirect, that mentions no one, that refers to animals? I think, if Mr Pilato wishes to join us in South African, he is welcome but he should not state lies, he should not manufacture fear in his own mind because that fear for me is not legitimate because it is not founded,” said Ambassador Mwamba.
“No Government, state institution or organ has threatened him. We have stated that its a criminal offence for anyone to issue any threat and such threats should be attended to. He can even go to court to compel the police to act if he doesn’t have faith in the police but to state that there is no freedom of expression, is a lie. There is freedom of expression.”