Government spokesperson Ronnie Shikapwasha says Zambia has all the pre-Rwandan genocide symptoms.
And protesting journalists have given vice president George Kunda a petition to stop beating of journalists by MMD thugs.
Gen Shikapwasha said Friday during an oral and answer session in Parliament that the genocides in Rwanda were agitated by Journalists from both electronic and print media.
He said this should be avoided in Zambia.
Shikapwasha also gave a ministerial statement on the continued harassment of media personnel by party cadres mainly from the ruling MMD.
He however accused the media practitioners particularly the Post Newspaper of encouraging violence because of what they publish.
He accused the church of siding with the Post to agitate violence in the country just like what happened in Rwanda.
“Just recently the Post carried the story with a headline “Zambia’s envoy to South Africa, Zuma’s office have no knowledge of Banda’s trip. Zuma not aware of RB’s Visit.” “Mr. Speaker before that article was published, the president was already having a president to president talk with Jacob Zuma.”
Mr. Speaker I don’t know why The Post did not call me, I am the minister of Information. I have given my phone number to The Post, not only that I have given my private number to The Post, not only that, the minister of foreign affairs has given the number to The Post. But they went ahead and fabricated a story without even calling the high commissioner to South Africa Mr. (Leslie) Mbula.
“Mr. Speaker it is the radio stations that started the genocide in Rwanda where 25 journalists were arrested… The media is causing agitation in the country.
“Mr. Speaker I will be failing in my duties if I end without mentioning that the Church in Zambia has taken sides with the media.., the Church has taken sides with men other than with God.” “Mr. Speaker where is the Church when a newspaper is insulting the President. The Church must learn from the genocide in Rwanda.” My appeal to the Church is, seek thee first the kingdom of God and Zambia shall be saved.”
Meanwhile slogan chanting journalists Friday afternoon petitioned government to stop the beating up of journalists.
The journalists from almost all media houses in Zambia matched from the showgrounds to Mulungushi conference hall where they presented the petition to acting president George Kunda.
Earlier, there was confusion as journalist refused to go inside the hall where the vice president was waiting for them. They wanted him to come out and address them outside where the African Union statute is.
But Mr. Kunda refused forcing the journalists to go in.
The journalists denounced government through banners for failing to protect journalist from thugs.
They said that they want protection from the police, thugs and government.
When Mr. Kunda was given chance to say something after receiving the petition, he began by shouting ‘abash thuggery’ to which journalists responded ‘abash’.
But there was little doubt that the vice president had a different definition of what thuggery is from that of journalists as he told journalists that they should be professional in their reporting.
He said that journalism is a noble profession and that in their execution of duty, they should be different from thugs.
He said he will deliver the petition to president Rupiah Banda and that government will study the petition and chart the way forward.
But Mr. Kunda who was flanked by Ronnie Shikapwasha and Home Affairs minister Lameck Mangani refused to answer questions from journalists.