SUSPECTED ruling Patriotic Front cadres on Monday evening disrupted a live telephone interview at Kwenje Radio featuring opposition UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema by tempering with the power supply system.
The live transmission of Hichilema’s interview was cut mid-way, about 50 minutes into the programme.
The opposition leader, however, continued with the phone interview which was recorded for airing at a later time.
He thanked the UPND youths in Chama who protected staff at Kwenje radio from harassment.
“Under the UPND government, no opposition party will be made to endure such measures, just to be able to enjoy their democratic rights. The culture of thuggery and intolerance will end with our government,” stated Hichilema in a Facebook post shortly after the disruption.
Meanwhile, commenting on this incident in an interview, UPND deputy secretary general Getrude Imenda charged the PF government was no different from the Janjaweeds of Western Sudan as they were also training militia groups amongst their cadres.
Imenda said Zambians were under a fully-fledged dictatorship and a militia style of governance.
“I think Zesco will have to also be put to account because this is not the first time that PF cadres have cut the power supply to a radio station where UPND or HH is featuring. You know, this should tell the people of Zambia what regime we are living under. We are under a fully-fledged dictatorship and not only dictatorship but it’s a militia style of governing that we are in. These people in PF are they any different from the Janjaweeds of Western Sudan? They are not different from those that instigated the Darfur [genocide] in Sudan. No wonder this government is in good friendship with Sudan because we know that they sent their cadres to be trained in Sudan, they said they (the cadres) went for training. But what kind of training can you get in Sudan other than terrorism?” Imenda asked.
“So this kind of behaviour and what PF is doing is terrorism of the worst kind. The only difference is that this is state terrorism. Otherwise, where was the police when these PF cadres went to disrupt and threaten the journalists?”
Imenda also wondered why police were unavailable to protect citizens from such attacks when they were always ready to arrest those wanting to organize peaceful protests.
“It is shocking that the police are nowhere to be seen when such things are happening because when people want to demonstrate peacefully and follow the law, they are not allowed. Even where people who want to protest take their letter of notice to the police, the person who takes the notice is arrested and put in in cells and then you read in the media comments from the PF and their surrogates to say ‘we will not allow anarchy’. Do they even know the definition of anarchy? Anarchy is when you are operating outside the law like what happened in Chama, that is what is called anarchy. But if you are operating within the law, it cannot be anarchy,” said Imenda.