Doctors at Chipata General Hospital have referred Post reporter Peter Sukwa to the University Teaching Hospital for specialist treatment after he and Chipata’s Feel Free Radio journalist Kelvin Phiri were brutally beaten by PF cadres on Thursday.
And the PF cadres also assaulted Eastern Province UPND information and publicity secretary Victor Mbuzi before smashing the windows of his party’s vehicle.
The two reporters were investigating reports that the ruling party had mobilised Malawians who were getting Zambian National Registration Cards and registering as voters along the border area of Chikoka in Vubwi Constituency.
Upon noticing Sukwa taking pictures, the cadres, who were mobilising the people, got angered and charged at the Chipata-based reporter.
After Sukwa and Phiri were identified, one of the cadres only identified as JJ Banda asked what the journalists were doing in the area.
As Sukwa tried to explain, Banda grabbed his camera and started beating him.
Vubwi PF chairperson Mike ‘Rasta’ Tembo and others also joined in the assault until the journalist collapsed.
After Sukwa collapsed, the cadres turned to Phiri, whom they beat up using a metal bar.
At some point, FDD losing candidate in the Vubwi by-election Charles Nyoka, who recently joined PF, pleaded with Tembo to stop his cadres from beating the journalists.
Nyoka later drove the two journalists in his vehicle to Chipata, but after joining Mchinji Road, some PF cadres who were trailing Nyoka in five vehicles ordered him to dump the journalists, which he did.
At that point, Sukwa, who had gained consciousness, said he saw the cadres bring a 2.5 litre container of petrol so that they could burn him and Phiri, but the other cadres intervened.
“Then I saw this guy they called JJ Banda come towards me and then he urinated in my mouth and later started squeezing my private parts,” Sukwa narrated.
“He then got my wallet containing K250, a Zanaco ATM card, my sandals, an MTN phone before tying my legs using my belt. From there, they bundled us into their vehicle, which was in a convoy of five and took us to Chipata Police while chanting anti-UPND slogans.”
He said at the police station, JJ Banda reported that he had taken UPND cadres who were disturbing the NRC and voter registration exercise at Chikoka.
Sukwa said when the police saw his and Phiri’s conditions, they gave them police reports so that they could go to the hospital.
Sukwa’s medical report, signed by Dr C Zulu at Chipata General Hospital, recommended that he should go to Lusaka and see an ear specialist at UTH.
The doctor’s findings indicated that Sukwa sustained a suspected perforated tympanic membrane in the right ear as he could not hear.
And Mbuzi, who was also in the same area, was badly beaten by suspected PF cadres.
Mbuzi sustained a cut on the back of his head and a swollen left eye.
The cadres also smashed the windows of Mbuzi’s vehicle before deflating the tyres.
When contacted, provincial deputy police commissioner Patrick Bili declined to comment, claiming he was in a meeting.