Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo has demanded justice for the Catholic Diocese of Chipata and its Radio Maria staff who were attacked by PF cadres for hosting a critical member from the party.
On May 1, 2019, a group of PF cadres led by Eastern Province party treasurer Zephaniah Mwale stormed Radio Maria in Chipata District, threatening to burn down the station for featuring Maxon Nkhoma, a governance activist and supporter of aspiring provincial chair Elias Banda, also known as as Eliboma.
The cadres also issued death threats on Tobias Daka, Radio Maria’s News Editor and anchor of the programme and urged him to find personal security to accompany him whenever he went out of his home.
The police command in the district did not arrest the perpetrators immediately the complaint was lodged by Nkhoma and Radio Maria, but only did so two days later.
The thugs were, however, released a day later on a weekend, after the PF provincial chair Andrew Lubusha apologised to the Church leaders for their behaviour.
But the unprofessionalism by Eastern Province Police Commissioner Luckson Sakala did not sit well with Kasolo as he felt that the cops should have taken further action against the PF hooligans despite the Church having forgiven them.
“The most unfortunate thing about all this is that the people who are supposed to be doing police work are the ones who are not looking at this. But then I can’t instruct them because it’s not my Ministry, but all I can do is protest on behalf of my media fraternity because, of course, Radio Maria is part of the media fraternity and, therefore, I as the head of the Ministry, I have to speak for them. And I complained about this, I even talked to the Police Commissioner for Eastern Province and his view was that because they had apologised and they had an understanding with the Bishop then the case was gone. But in reality, I had a complaint from the Spokesperson of the Bishop in Chipata, who actually told me that what had happened was that the Bishop had forgiven them. However, he expected the police to do their work independently,” Kasolo told News Diggers! in an exclusive interview.
“So, in reading that, for me, it means as a Ministry, the position is that they should complete the police work, that’s what they should do. If they are taken to court, then the court will decide to say: ‘no, there no case,’ that’s fine. But we can’t leave it as it is because it gives a bad name to the ruling party because it seems as though when they’ve done something wrong, nothing is done about it. And I think if you spoke to other technocrats in government, they will tell you the same thing. The politicians will have their own view, but as far as I am concerned, I am a technocrat and I am only talking about the position as it should be and according to the way I interpret the law.”
He also complained that it was unfair that the cadres who attacked NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili in Kabwe last month when he featured in Power FM had been punished compared to those in Chipata who were let loose.
“As far as I am concerned, the case is unfinished because the police had originally arrested those people, but then, they didn’t give a reason openly why they released them. The ones in Kabwe are going through the due process [of the law], so it’s an anomaly that the people who have done fairly a similar thing are treated differently,” observed Kasolo.