Reporters Without Borders condemns a violent attack by members of the ruling Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) on a Muvi TV crew that included two women that went to Nakachenje, west of Lusaka, on 18 July to investigate claims that MMD members were illegally seizing and sharing out land.
The police, who are investigating the assault, said they arrested two suspects yesterday on charges of “assault, criminal trespass and obtaining money by false pretences.”
“The particularly violent and barbaric attack on the Muvi TV crew must not be minimized,” Reporters without Borders said. “We welcome the interest shown by the police in quickly identifying those responsible and bringing them to justice.”
“With three months to go to general elections, were urge political party members to act with restraint and not repeat this kind of attack on the media. We hope the authorities will not give any special protection to those responsible because of their membership of the ruling party. Ensuring a favourable climate for media personnel is essential.”
The crew from privately-owned Muvi TV that went to Nakachenje consisted of reporter Dainess Nyirenda, camerawoman Annita Kalwani, cameraman Emmanuel Kaluba and driver Edward Ntele
Shortly after they began filming, they were surrounded and repeatedly hit by MMD members chanting “boma ni boma” (the government is the government), who seized a camera, a microphone and four mobile phones and forced them to hand over money
In a video broadcast by Muvi TV, Kalwani said: “We were badly beaten. They tried to rape me. We started running back to the car. They threatened to burn us alive.” Kaluba was attacked with stones and sticks, sustaining an injury to his mouth. Ntele was forced to the ground and a knife was used to cut into his forehead. Nyirenda and Kalwani suffered internal injuries and psychological trauma.