MUFULIRA PF Member of Parliament Evans Chibanda says only a member of the Patriotic Front can be allowed to speak on Radio in Mufulira because it was not yet time for campaigns.
Chibanda said, in an interview that Radio Mafken was to blame for the chaos that occurred in the district because they hosted an opposition leader on the radio station instead of the ruling party.
He said as incumbent MP, he was the only mandated politician to speak on radio, adding that there was nothing wrong with him campaigning as that was his privilege as seating lawmaker.
On Friday, two Patriotic Front cadres sustained injuries after they were beaten by residents of Mufulira and UPND cadres for trying to stop a program that featured UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.
Later, a horde of PF cadres stormed the station threatening to burn it down, before they proceeded to hold a protested march against the UPND leader.
In an interview, Chibanda said by law he was the one mandated to speak on radio stations in Mufulira.
“I spoke to the radio station manager and I said ‘look, there is a law which prescribes what time campaigns must take place’ simple and straight forward. I am blaming the radio station because even for them, they can’t allow somebody who is not a PF member who doesn’t hold a seat to start campaigning. It is not right. I have blamed them where there are people who are trying to dislodge us who are going there to campaign. For me, I am prescribed by the law to be able to go on the radio station to talk about what I am doing because for now, I am the elected representative of that constituency. So unfortunately, if I have that privilege to seem like I am campaigning it is the advantage as the incumbent,” Chibanda said.
“I am the one mandated by law to go and articulate things that are happening in the constituency because I am not just a PF MP, I am the MP for everyone in that constituency. So by law I am given the green light and power to go and talk about issues that are happening in my constituency. I told that radio station to be professional. This is the second time in the history of that radio station that they have caused havoc. The other time they went on air and propagated that they were ritual killers in the residential area. The people got agitated and burnt down a police station. So the media must be professional if you are going to be [agents] of hate then you will set this country on fire. I spoke to the management of that radio station where I told them that what they are doing is not correct. You cannot start allowing campaigns on the radio station when we still have over a year to go to elections.
Chibanda also claimed that Mufulira residents must have reacted that way because they were not happy with what the opposition leader was saying on radio.
“All I am saying is that these political parties especially the opposition must desist from starting the campaigns now. This is not time for campaigns in the country. PF still has the mandate to rule this country until 2021. Those people must be patient for now they are just causing unnecessary acrimony within the people when they start campaigning. The constitution of this country is very clear on when campaigns are supposed to start. It is an offence to start campaigning before that period has been allowed by the law. Now when you are going on the radio station and you start despising others you are causing unnecessary agitation in the community and this is why you are having this misconduct,” Chibanda said.
“When these opposition leaders are being invited on these radio stations, they should know what they should be saying to the people. If they will be agitating the people then they are the ones causing hate speech. I don’t know what whoever was on radio was saying, but for people to react, they should not have been happy with whatever he said. It is not time to start calling each other names,”
Chibanda condemned cadres from both the ruling and opposition party.
“Let the law take its course and all those that will be found wanting should be brought to book. No one is above the law, we are all Zambians. This whole excitement is coming because of people wanting to think they have the right to do whatever they want to do, no. What has happened in Mufulira is uncalled for, it is an embarrassment to the people of this country and residents of Mufulira. For me two wrongs can never make a right, a wrong is a wrong. Whether it is PF or UPND who started the fight, it is not right! We are all Zambians for crying out loud. Even when there are killings, who are we killing? We are killing ourselves, we are killing our own brothers and sisters. For what? All for the sake of power? My colleagues who are in the opposition are causing all this unnecessary fights because according to them they feel that it is time for campaigns, it is not. And then it is causing us the PF to say we can’t allow this!” he exclaimed.
Meanwhile, Chibanda said allegations levelled against him that PF cadres were using his vehicles to harass staff at the radio station were false.
“That is not true and will never be true. I am in Lusaka and you are aware that Parliament is sitting. Let them send you number plates for those cars. That is a mischievous and silly allegation. Those who are claiming that they are my cars let them give you evidence,” said Chibanda.