THE Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) has condemned PF cadres’ attack on Chete FM in Nakonde.

In a statement, Monday, CCZ general secretary Fr Emmanuel Chikoya said if left unchecked, the continued shrinking media space in the country was a time bomb that may explode out of control.

“The Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) is deeply saddened by the story reported in the media of alleged Patriotic Front (PF) cadres who teargassed Chete FM station in Nakonde district during a radio program that featured UPND provincial chairman Rev Mathews Chilekwa on Wednesday, 10th of March 2021. This comes a few weeks after other PF cadres attacked Radio Luswepo in Mbala during another program that featured Democratic Party President, Harry Kalaba. It is regrettable to note that despite Zambia being known as a beacon of peace, stories of shrinking media space continue to resurface twice over,” Fr Chikoya said.

“We wish to reiterate our perspective that if nothing is done to curb the continued shrinking media space in the country it might result into a time bomb that has the potential to explode out of control especially that political stakeholders keep harboring the feeling of being stifled as the country heads towards the August general elections. We say so because all politicians need the media to reach out to their potential voters in all parts of the country amidst COVID-19 which has, to a larger extent, restricted large gatherings.We feel that in-as-much-as the Zambian government has been condemning such vices of intimidating the media and press freedom, there is much more that needs to be practically done to completely put a stop regarding the repeated acts of radio stations invasions so that an enabling and equal playing field for all political stakeholders is created.”

Fr Chikoya said there was need for the police to effectively deal with cadres involved in the continued intimidations of radio stations if they wanted to regain the trust of the Zambian people.

” We also want to take this opportunity to reiterate our call to the Zambia Police to effectively portray high levels of professionalism. It is disturbing to note that some political cadres, particularly those from the ruling party, have the audacity to break the law with impunity. The Zambia police needs to regain the trust of the Zambian people by professionally and decisively acting on such lawlessness. As a Church Mother body, we are concerned that citizens are potentially living in fear of what might happen especially during events of political nature, when the Zambia Police has a constitutional mandate to protect the rights of the Zambian people,” stated Fr Chikoya.

“We further wish to reiterate the importance of practical living by our politicians in accordance with our motto, ‘One Zambia, One Nation’. It is very important for all citizens, especially politicians, to walk the talk on a daily basis. Let us not allow politics to destroy the peace the country has enjoyed since independence. Romans 12:18 tells us to do all we can to live in peace with everyone.’ We therefore call upon every citizen to take a personal responsibility to maintain peace. The August 12 general elections are crucial and therefore we wouldn’t want to imagine how the elections might be in the absence of peace. Let us embrace peace and be agents of peace!”