IBA abusing public office – stakeholders
By Staff Reporter
OPPOSITION United Party for National Development (UPND) says the decision by the Independent Broadcasting Authority to suspend licences of Prime Television and other critical media houses is wrong and amounts to abuse of authority of office.
In a statement yesterday, UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma said his party had observed with dismay that the IBA accepted to do illegal activity by acting on instructions from PF Secretary General Davies Mwila and information minister Dora Siliya.
He said UPND shall prosecute some IBA staff for abuse of public office the moment they assume leadership.
“We cannot have politicians running the IBA who are there to spare private media houses which are pro PF and persecute media houses that are providing a platform for all Zambians regardless of their political stance. The UPND would like to warn that the IBA in its current composition is a threat to national security as they have clearly assumed a PF agenda as advanced by PF’s Davies Mwila and PF Central Committee member Webby Mbewe’s directive that Prime TV be closed,” said Kakoma.
He said the UPND shall soon commence legal proceedings against certain IBA officials given their known political affiliation.
“We wish to put it on record that all those names who have been involved in the Prime Television Station saga so far will face the wrath of the law for abuse of public office. We urge a few who are sober at IBA to resist the temptation of the impending prosecution. If some PF surrogates at IBA are being cheated that PF is still alive, let them conduct a national survey and they will have the answer,” he said
Kakoma added that UPND shall not keep quiet and allow a few people to abuse their privileges.
And United Prosperous and Peaceful Zambia president Charles Chanda has called on Zambians not to entertain stories given by the politically inclined lBA.
Chanda said the truth is PF got disturbed by the clips on Bahati.
“They forgot about the money they were distributing to marketeers, which was vote buying. In the meantime, the unbiased ZNBC will continue to air PF developmental agenda in Bahati,” said Chanda
Meanwhile, NGOCC Executive Director Engwase Mwale says the suspension of Prime TV was intended to intimidate and muzzle the media and instil fear on the independent and unbiased reporting.
Mwale said it was sad that despite the Republican Constitution guaranteeing the freedom of expression and subsequently freedom of the press, IBA acted on a mere complaint by a political figure.
Mwale said the decision by the IBA is not only ultra vires the Republican constitution, but was also draconian and reminiscent of totalitarian regimes.
“We therefore find the suspension of Prime Television as a serious affront against the masses that depend on this station,” said Mwale.
And Mwale has demanded IBA to immediately lift the ban and allow Prime Television to operate freely.
“Even the Patriotic Front (PF) Party manifesto agrees with our position on the need for greater press freedom for the greater good of the country,” she said.