The depressing truth - freedom of expression will not exist under President Lungu

Muvi TV Journalist Kalani Muchima has been summoned by the Zambia police service for questioning. He was due to present himself yesterday morning at the Zambian Police HQ.

This decision by the police was prompted on Sunday, after PF Media Direction Sunday Chanda urged the police to “take particular interest” in the manner in which Muchima was reporting the matter.

Mr Chanda contended that some aspects of Mr Muchima’s news report contained his own opinions meant to incite the public against Mr Lubinda. Meanwhile, the case of the five people arrested in connection with the assault on Mr Lubinda took off in the Lusaka Magistrates Court on Wednesday. The five were arrested on Monday and charged with the assault on Mr Lubinda, which took place at Kabwata Market on Friday.

The five accused were Martin Mambwe Kankonju, Patrick Chanda, Moses Mulenga, Goodness Mwange and Major Chanda, and they all pleaded guilty. Kankonje has been charged with the offence of assault occasioning actual bodily while the other four have been charged with conspiracy to commit a felony.

This is not the first time Kalani Muchima has had a run in with the Zambian police. He is a figure that regularly raises alarm amongst the government and the police force. In December 2016 he was detained whilst filming the police in action of beating and tear gassing UPND Leaders Hakainde Hichilema and his Vice Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba and their supporters, shortly after the court adjourned the Presidential election petition matter. It has been reported Michima was brutally beaten by the Zambian Police following this case.

This case sheds light on the depressing truth in Zambia; that freedom of expression has deteriorated under President Lungu and his PF government. The current Zambian government has no respect for these rights, with authorities continuing to stifle freedom of press, targeting journalists, human rights defenders and activists who express dissenting views. A separate example of this was made last year when musician Fumba Chama, also known as Pilato, faced constant intimidation and threats to his life by state agencies because his music was critical of President Lungu.

In Zambia the reality is if you criticise President Lungu or his party you must question your safety. This was exactly what happened last year with government critic, Dr Kwalela Kafunya, who was sentenced to seven years imprisonment on charges of defamation of the President. Zambians must not settle for this. Freedom of Expression is a human right that we are entitled to.

Open ZambiaComment