PF cadres on Wednesday stormed Chikaya Community Radio Station in Lundazi district and forcibly stopped a recorded political programme featuring Ndolola Tembo, who was explaining the policies of his newly formed political party.
And Caritas Chipata programmes unit coordinator John Mthaziko Zulu regretted the attack on the radio station, which occurred barely three days after Rainbow Party leader Wynter Kabimba escaped lynching by PF cadres at Breeze FM radio in Chipata.
In an interview on Thursday, Chikaya Community radio station manager Rabson Mumba said the PF cadres stormed the station as Tembo was explaining the policies of the Party For All.
“Around 10:00 hours, a mob of PF cadres, in the company of newly elected district PF chairman Emmanuel Mulenga, stormed our station after they heard Ndolola Tembo featuring on the programme,” Mumba said.
“The cadres demanded that the programme be stopped because the person (Tembo) was insulting the President. Others proceeded to the On-Air studio where they switched off the radio mixer on their own and ordered the announcer on duty, Samuel Botha, to play music and not the political programme.”
He said he was disappointed with the behaviour exhibited by the cadres, especially that they were from the ruling party.
“I am really shocked and disappointed with this kind of behavior that was exhibited by PF. Just a few days ago, we gave them air space, they featured on a live radio programme where their national mobilisation committee members had an opportunity to talk on the radio and no one refused or harassed them,” Mumba said.
He said the programme was recorded and wondered how it could be insulting to the President when it had been edited.
“The programme the PF are reacting to was a recorded one, which means the programmes manager had edited the package and as a media institution, we uphold media and journalism ethics. We recorded the programme because we wanted to be sure of what was going to run on radio,” said Mumba.
“This radio station was formed in the interest of the community and for PF to behave in this fashion, it won’t help. Chikaya radio will remain non-partisan and they should not drag us into politics. We have a broadcasting policy in place. This is so worrying for media practitioners, especially that we’ll soon be having general elections. There is need for PF to be disciplined. I am not happy with what happened yesterday.”
But Mulenga claimed that the cadres went to Chikaya to offer advice.
“PF is a friend of the media, we love the media, why should we harass Chikaya Community Radio station? We went there just to offer advice and not to threaten them. You see, they allowed that person to be insulting the Head of State, can you allow that? I have a duty to protect the Head of State. As district chairman, I can’t allow such to happen,” said Mulenga.
However, Tembo denied having insulted the President.
Meanwhile, Zulu said it was sad that what happened at Breeze FM repeated itself at Chikaya.
“There are no two ways about this bad behaviour, this is a cancer to our democracy. When we introduced multiparty democracy, we wanted a number of political parties to give alternatives to the government. These cadres should know that they are making their party very unpopular,” said Zulu.