Suspected PF cadres attacked and beat up Chipata’s Breeze FM reporter Grace Lungu in Lundazi, Tuesday morning, where she was assigned to cover the ongoing Mkomba ward by-election.
Narrating the ordeal to News Diggers! in an interview, Lungu explained that she had hired a taxi to take her to the ward, but was attacked by unknown PF cadres who mistook her and her driver of being members of the opposition UPND.
Lungu narrated that the cadres started by beating her taxi driver and later on turned to the back of the taxi where she was seated, dragged her from her seat, while beating her. She said the cadres also grabbed her purse and handbags and got away with and undisclosed sum of money.
She said she could not proceed to go and cover her assignment as she had sustained injuries on her lip and her nose from the beating, adding that the matter was reported to the Lundazi Police Station, where a medical report was issued before she and was later taken to the hospital.
“It happened somewhere around 08:20 hours. So, what happened is [that] I booked a tax because I wanted to be at the polling station early. So got a taxi early and we started off. As we approached the Islamic School, off Lundazi Road to Mkomba, we met a white van, which was full of people; we didn’t even know who they were. Yes, they looked like thugs, but we didn’t know they were PF cadres. So, we passed them and they waved at the driver and the driver waved back. But according to them, they thought the driver was UPND because he didn’t flash the PF party symbol. So, they shouted for him to stop, but he didn’t stop, he just continued driving,” Lungu narrated.
“After they noticed that he wasn’t stopping, they turned and drove passed us, stopped their van in front of the taxi I was in and that’s [how] my driver also stopped the car. They came and opened the doors and started beating up the driver. I was sitting in the back seat and they didn’t know I was also in the car, but after one of them saw me, they were like ‘so you are also here, why are you hiding?’ Before I could do anything, they grabbed me as well and started beating me as well. Then one of them grabbed my purse and asked what was inside. They opened my purse and started getting my money. One of them first got a K50 and then when I tried to ask why they were beating me, another one grabbed my handbag and someone else hit me very hard on my right cheek…”
She narrated that as the beating continued, she started bleeding from the nose, but the assailants did not stop.
“Before I could see who hit me on the right cheek, someone else slapped me on the left cheek and I started bleeding. When I started wiping blood from the nose, someone else slapped me and that’s how I even sustained an injury on my lower lip. I started bleeding from the lip, too. Then they got more money from my purse and drove off and they just left my bag and purse scattered. So, I just picked everything up and we made a U-turn and went to the police station in Lundazi. So, I went to the police first and gave a statement and I was given a form then proceeded to do a medical statement. Right now (around 10:15 hours), I am doing the final statement, I am at the police right now in Lundazi. But I am hurt, my lower lip is hurting and I am bleeding from my mouth and nose,” explained Lungu.
Lungu travelled from Chipata to Lundazi on Monday and spent a night in Lundazi to cover the Mkomba Ward by-election.
Meanwhile, Eastern Province Police Commissioner Luckson Sakala said he had not yet received the report.
The development comes amidst sporadic political violence, which occurred in Sesheke, Southern Province, where a parliamentary by-election took place, Tuesday.