Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Isaac Chipampe says President Edgar Lungu’s live feed, in which he threatened youths against demonstrating, was not deleted but there was an upload failure due to a technical fault.
In a video which was streamed both on President Lungu’s official page “Edgar Chagwa Lungu” and Smart Eagles, the Head of State threatened that youths, civil society organizations and anyone intending to protest against perceived attacks on freedom of expression would be dealt with.
President Lungu was addressing party members in Chirundu, Saturday.
“Those of you in Lusaka who are plotting to bring chaos by saying ‘we will demonstrate, no we will do this’, freedom of speech, freedom of insulting people, we will deal with you under the law, Kampyongo is here, the police are here. I am saying this because there is a scheme by some people to bring anarchy here, they want to bring confusion. So we are not going to allow that. Some people have put money aside to incite students from colleges and universities to begin demonstrating, creating violence and confusion because they want to bring this country to its knees so that people can lose confidence in PF. People know that PF means well, people know that PF is a peaceful party.They want to provoke the police so that the police can react like it happened in America, they will say ‘no! We want change, we want change’ I think change yapa kamwa sivuta (speaking of change from the month is not difficult) because we will change you instead,” President Lungu said.
“This is a warning, through you to the people of the Republic of Zambia, because we have information that some people are ganging up under the name of civil society organizations to bring anarchy because they are saying freedom of speech has been threatened by the remarks attributed to honourable Lusambo when he said to those two that ‘please apologize’. He said that apologise, they have not apologized that is it? Can’t it end there? You want to take to the streets because honourable Lusambo said apologize? It does not make sense to me! What honourable Lusambo said, ‘those were demeaning or insulting words, guys apologize in 24 hours or else’, now should that be a trigger to bring anarchy for people to take to the streets? ‘We want freedom! We want freedom, [freedom] to make noise?’, Kampyongo deal with these boys.”
He said Lusambo was also exercising his right in telling the youths to apologize over their remarks.
“Democracy and Freedom of speech simply means you can say what you want to say against the President. Yes you can say what you want to say to the President but Democracy and freedom of speech simply means that even those who are not happy with what you have said can also say ‘waya sana iwe (you have gone too far)’ that is democracy, now what is wrong with that? If those boys said what they said and Bowman felt that they have insulted the President and says ‘this is too far waya sana, you are insulting my father’ should that give reason for people to take to the streets and bring law and order to risk?” he wondered.
He told people to engage their brains before exercising their freedom to speak.
“So those who are talented in singing, sing and we will sing with you, we will buy your music but if you insult and break the law, the law will deal with you. That is my message. Freedom of speech means you can speak freely but engage your brains first,” said President Lungu.
But the video, which was 31 minutes long, was deleted shortly after the live stream ended.
When asked why the video had been deleted in an interview, Chipampe said it wasn’t deleted but that it failed to upload because the officer who was in charge of live streaming the event had no power bank and his phone went off.
“I have just consulted the officers who were working. I have been told that the person who was doing live streaming did not have a power bank and the phone went off. That is what I have been advised by the technical people, I don’t work alone so there were other people who were doing that work and I think there was somebody who was livestreaming there. So they have told me what happened. I am just relaying the information to you since you asked. I am giving you information as it is coming to me; so I can’t dispute what they are telling me,” Chipame said.
He stressed that the deletion of the video did not mean that State House was hiding any information as the event was published by all public media houses.
“There is nothing being hidden, you have seen the newspapers, the public media [have published] the way he said it. ZNBC did report, newspapers did report so if we are hiding anything, what the President said, how come it was reported in the media? The problem is people now depend on social medi; but if you see Times of Zambia, what’s the lead there? If you see Daily Mail, what is the lead there? They were all quoting what he said,” said Chipampe.