Conservationist Nsama Learns says she has received death threats after she alerted the nation on the missing 80 black lechwes from the Bangweulu Wetlands.

Learns said she had received a call from a man named “Mumba” who threatened her to stop talking about Minister of Tourism Ronald Chitotela or risk being killed.

“A gentleman calling himself Mumba just called me, saying if I say anything more about honourable Chitotela and the black Lechwe, I will be killed! A woman in the background was shouting that ‘leave the Minister alone or we will track you down and break your legs, you will soon be moving on a wheel chair!’,” Learns said in a statement.

“I find these threats unacceptable, this is the second time PF cadres are threatening my life. I have reported the matter to the Inspector in Mansa who I reported to when I was summoned. I will also report the matter to the nearest police station in the town where I am. I hope ZICTA will be able to trace the call so I can take appropriate action. My life is in danger for speaking the truth, cry my beloved country, we have become prisoners in our own land!”

And in an interview, Learns said she had managed to report the matter to the Kitwe Central Police Station and had been told to surrender the number to Zamtel.

“I am actually coming from there (Kitwe Police) because last time when I reported the story of the Black Lechwe, the Minister instructed the Commissioner in Mansa to call me, but the Commissioner was not there so he instructed another inspector to call me. So, I went there to Mansa immediately when they called me, but now I was in Kitwe attending a funeral, so the Inspector in Mansa, I just phoned him to tell him what had happened on these threats, I am just coming from Kitwe Central police,” Learns narrated.

“There (at Kitwe Central Police), I was advised by a lady from cyber crime a section that deals with call threats, that, usually, Zamtel it’s very difficult to get information from a Zamtel number because the number that called me was from Zamtel. What they advised me is that if there is someone who can help me from Zamtel to trace the call, they said Zamtel Lusaka are the ones that can assist. I want to see if I can find someone who can help me from Zamtel because here, they said what they can do is just take a recording and then take it to court in Lusaka; but that will take forever because it had been two years now since they have been waiting for cases from Zamtel and they have never received any feedback.”

She complained that it was worrying that her life was being threatened on the basis of her being a mere whistle-blower.

“What is worrying me is that this is not the first time that I have been threatened. The first time we were doing a citizen consultation over the Constitution where I received similar threats. Now, this one it was just one person; there was a gentleman talking and a woman was shouting in the background,” said Learns.

“The first time (during the citizen consultation), it was a woman that was within the audience, now, this one because it was on the phone. I don’t know whether it was the same people, but it may be related because where did they get my number from? It has to be someone who has access to my phone number.”