RB responds to MISA; refuses to withdraw Kabwela’s case

MISA Regional Director Kaitira Kandjii wrote to President Banda

MISA Regional Director Kaitira Kandjii wrote to President Banda

Zambian President Rupiah Banda has promised to stop the ongoing violence against journalists in Zambia. This was in response to a letter written to him on 30 July 2009 by MISA Regional Director Kaitira Kandjii, calling for his intervention to stop his party supporters from terrorizing journalists. Special Assistant to the President, Dickson Jere, writing on behalf of President Banda, says the President’s anti-violence stance remains unchanged.

Kandjii had called on President Banda to stop the violence against the media, and withdraw the ongoing case of circulating obscene material against the “Post” Newspaper News Editor, Chansa Kabwela. Moreover, the President was urged to repeal all archaic laws emanating from the bygone era of colonialism, which today continue to be used against the media.

Jere stressed that there were no orders to intimidate any media institutions. “It is unfortunate that our cadres or suspected members have threatened violence. I wish to state that all those suspected to be behind the attacks on the journalists have been identified and have since been arrested and are appearing before the courts of law. His Excellency the President will do everything possible to stop violence. Be assured that the attacks have no blessings from the party”, reads a letter signed by Jere on behalf of the President.

However, Jere says the President cannot intervene to stop Kabwela’s case, stating that the case was before the court of law and that it is not his wish to interfere with the judicial process.

“Zambia has an independent judiciary which is not subject to the discretion of the President or indeed any member of the executive”, read the letter.

Meanwhile Kabwela’s arrest and prosecution emerged after President Banda ordered the arrest of those behind the circulation of pictures of a helpless woman in child labor as health workers were on strike. Kabwela had sent the pictures together with a letter to high-ranked government officials illustrating the impact of the health workers’ strike on civilians. She now faces charges of circulating obscene materials allegedly with intention to corrupt morals, contrary to section 177 of the Penal Code chapter 87 of Zambia.

Source:(Media Institute of Southern Africa/International Federation of Exchange

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