The Zambia High Commission in London has expressed its disappointment to the Editorial Board of the Sunday Times UK over an article that appeared in the their newspaper dated 10 th February 2019 under the title “Zambia’s President tries to kill opponent”.
In a statement released to the media by Mrs Abigail Chaponda, the First Secretary for Press and Public Relations at
Zambian High Commission in the United Kingdom, the embassy said that they have since written to the Newspaper categorically stating that the article was malicious and did not portray a true reflection of the situation in the Zambia.
“We feel disappointed that the newspaper sensationalised accusations made by the opposition leader and his political party. Such sensational headings are not just misleading but are in bad taste given the fact that the journalist did not verify her story,” the letter.
“We take exception to the fact that the newspaper saw it fit to publish false accusations, from the political leader against a sitting Head of State bordering on liable and slander,” read the letter in parts.
The Mission advised the Sunday Times Editorial board that Zambia cherished freedom of assembly and expected every citizen to respect the rule of law irrespective of their status in society.
The Mission further advised the Sunday Times that while the Mission appreciated and espoused freedom of speech and press freedom, the Mission felt the story had not been balanced and the Sunday Times should have endeavored to get the position of Government and the police on the matter.
“In this regard, the Mission is requesting for an urgent meeting with the Sunday Times to discuss the matter and future relations. We wish to reiterate our commitment to responding to any queries from the media on issues relating to Zambia,” concluded the statement.
Yesterday the UK Zambia Times reported that Zambia’s opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema, has accused the country’s president, Edgar Lungu, of trying to kill him.
Hichilema, 56, warned that the international community’s failure to act on state-sponsored violence in Zimbabwe is encouraging other African regimes to crack down on opponents.
The opposition leader said he was holding a rally on Friday in Sesheke, southwest Zambia, when police and activists from the ruling Patriotic Front opened fire.
“We were having a peaceful meeting when about 100 heavily armed men from the ruling party arrived, escorted by police, and started firing live ammunition on us,” he told The Sunday Times yesterday.
The Sunday Times said that they obtained Video obtained that showed terrified men and women cowering behind vehicles and fleeing through the bush amid the crack of automatic gunfire.
However, Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja said that no live ammunition was fired by the officers to disperse the unruly crowd in Sesheke.
Mr. Kanganja has since warned that the police will not tolerate people perpetrating violence and that they will be sternly dealt with.