President Rupiah Banda has resorted to crude methods of physical censorship of the media in a bid to limit the spread of the popular messages Patriotic Front (PF) leader Michael Sata is sending to the masses through radio broadcasts, according to statement by the PF.
The unprecedented act to censor the media was put in motion in Lusaka Thursday when a team of secret service agents in charge of sabotage called on Zesco Limited management and told them to cut off power to radio stations that were carrying live broadcasts of the PF rally in Mandevu.
Upon realising that people continued to flock to the rally site at Mandevu Grounds as result of the live broadcasts most stations were providing, Rupiah instructed the “political” managing director of Zesco Limited, Ernest Mupwaya to cut off power from all radio stations in Lusaka.
Mupwaya was two weeks ago one of the two emissaries Rupiah sent to bribe Senior Chieftainess Nkomesha Mukamabo III but were turned away leading to Rupiah’s threats against the principled traditional ruler.
Mupwaya decided to switch-off the entire city of Lusaka for him to be sure all the stations were off air. Power was restored to Lusaka at 17:10 hours, some 20 minutes after the end of the address Mr Sata delivered to a cheering sea of humanity estimated at over 120,000
The PF is worried as to how far Rupiah would go to attempt to rig the September 20 poll because this is the second major violation of people’s fundamental rights and freedoms after last week’s invasion of the privacy of millions of mobile phone users.
Rupiah forcibly grabbed data bases from telecommunications companies for use in his campaigns by his agents who are now targeting selected people with varying threats if they did not vote for him.
Commenting on the action to cut power to radio stations, Mr Sata warned Zesco management that such unfair acts to subject people to unnecessary hardship will not go unpunished when his party assumes power after next Tuesday’s general elections.