Reports that President Michael Sata is now personally phoning privately owned media houses to harass them over the stories they carry is a serious threat to media and free expression in Zambia.
We are aware that President Sata is very intolerant to opposing views, but the idea of him now personally phoning private media houses, like he is reported to have done to Daily Nation to harass them over the story they carried regarding his impasse with the Paramount Chief Chitimukulu of the Bemba-speaking people makes sad reading.
If the entire Head of State can phone a privately owned media houses to intimidate them about a news story, we wonder how much he personally phones and interferes with government owned media houses to control their editorial content.
We know that this is not the first time he has done such a thing as he recently phoned Joy FM radio to intimidate them when they were having a live programme featuring an opposition leader.
As UPND, we have always said Mr. Sata pre-occupied himself with very petty issues at the expense of important national issues of the economy and unprecedented high poverty levels among our people.
We are also wondering why Mr. Sata is involving himself with issues to do with chiefdoms and traditional affairs when he has limited or no jurisdiction as these can ably be handled by the local traditional leadership themselves or through the House of Chiefs.
As UPND on this matter involving installation of the Paramount Chief Chitimukulu, we stand by the processes and position taken by the Council of of the Bemba Royal Establishment that the recognised Chief Chitimukulu is Henry Kanyanta Sosala, who is formerly Chief Mwamba.
We believe that whether Mr. Sata and his government recognise him or not, the traditional authorities are much older than any Zambian government and hence government recognition is merely ceremonial and purely a formality.
Zambians expect Mr. Sata and his PF government to be seriously dealing with reducing the price of mealie meal, reducing fuel costs, addressing the depreciation of the Kwacha, the high cost of living and delivering a people driven constitution than dwelling on matters of traditional affairs.
UPND- National Chairperson