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Ruling party officials storm radio station's general meeting in Zambia

On 18 June 2013, supporters of Zambia's ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party disrupted the annual general meeting of Mkushi FM and demanded to be elected to the board of the radio station. Mkushi is in central Zambia.

In an email to the Zambia Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zambia), Mkushi FM station manager, Boniface Susa, said that the ruling party supporters who hold political office stormed the AGM at about 9:45 am.

“Dear Sir, I would like to inform you that 30 PF cadres [supporters] led by their district vice chairman Emmanuel Sinkonde, district youth chairman Davies Mwenya and Chibefwe councillor Topson Kunda this morning at 09:45hrs disrupted our annual general meeting. They just stormed inside the hall,” Susa wrote.

He said that party officials demanded that they be elected as board members, despite repeated explanations to them that it was unacceptable for the radio station to elect or appoint political office bearers into its structures.

“The Board chairman and myself tried in vain to explain to them why politicians are not allowed to sit on the board until we went to see the District Commissioner (DC) to resolve the matter. After the meeting with the DC, it was resolved that we meet the PF officials at the radio station on Friday this week (21 June) to iron out the differences,” Susa said.

The station's AGM was then postponed to 16 July, 2013.

MISA-ZAMBIA POSITION

MISA-Zambia continues to condemn the sad state of affairs in which the harassment of journalists has become almost predictable in the country. We have recorded over five incidents of media harassment in just over a month and there are no indications that this trend will be reversed.

The involvement of ruling party officials and their supporters in most media freedom violations is even more worrying.

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