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Radio Phoenix public affairs programme host questioned by police, fired by station

(MISA/IFEX) - On 14 June 2005, Lusaka police questioned Anthony Mukwita, a Radio Phoenix "Let the People Talk" programme host, over a fax anonymously sent, which he had read on air during the 10 June edition of the programme. The fax accused the government of condoning corruption and warned that the country might slip into anarchy as a result.

Mukwita told MISA that a chief investigations officer for Lusaka Division and two detectives followed him to the MISA Zambia offices from where he operates and questioned him in connection with the fax, signed only "Annoyed Zambians".

"They demanded to have a copy of the fax, which cautioned the Mwanawasa administration to be responsive to the people's needs or risk throwing the country into anarchy through another attempted coup, similar to the one staged by Captain Stephen in 1997," Mukwita told MISA Zambia.

Mukwita said the police wanted him to give a statement but he refused, insisting that he would only do so in the presence of his lawyer. The interview was done in the presence of MISA Zambia's chairperson, Kellys Kaunda.

In a related development, Radio Phoenix has terminated Mukwita's contract as of 16 June, citing his decision to read the controversial fax on the "Let the People Talk" programme, among other reasons.

In a 15 June statement, Kaunda condemned the police action saying it was part of a grand scheme to silence the "Let The People Talk" forum, the only platform available to the Zambian people to air their views freely.

Mukwita will be questioned again in the presence of a lawyer at the MISA Zambia secretariat on 16 June.

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