Mpika Central Member of Parliament, Mwansa Kapeya, who is also Zambia’s Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services has refused to bail out his local radio Mpika FM which has been off air for two weeks due to a blown fuse in one of the components of the transmitter.
The blown fuse costs about ZMK25,000.
This information came to light on Tuesday when a media development team from Panos Institute Southern Africa visited Mpika FM as part of their familiarization tour of community radios in Muchinga Province.
According to the radio staff, the area MPs, including the Minister of Information were informed that the radio had gone off air due to the blown fuse and appealed to him as Minister of Information to assists the radio station repair the transmitter but refused. Since the local radio has no funds Mpika FM has remained off air for more than three weeks now.
“How can Hon Kapeya be going around saying his government supports the development of community radios when he has failed to support a radio station in his own constituency,” said a source from the radio station. “Residents of Mpika, who rely on this radio station for news and development information have been denied information and other services from Mpika FM due to the un caring attitude of the Area MP. Yet each time he visits Mpika he is fond of abusing this same radio station by forcing them to interview him live without booking or paying for this air time,” the source said.