HARRY Kalaba says President Edgar Lungu is a dictator in all its forms who has reversed all of Zambia’s democratic gains, under almost six years of heavy-handed rule.
Meanwhile, Kalaba has called out national guidance and religious minister Reverend Godfridah Sumaili to resign from her post, or else she will be “smeared with dirt” especially over the closure of Prime TV.
In a press release dated April 9, 2020, Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) director general and board secretary Josephine Mapoma, announced an instant cancellation of Prime TV’s broadcasting licence and cited “public interest” for the action.
The cancellation of the broadcasting licence is pursuant to Section 29 (1) (j) and (k) of the IBA (amendment) Act of 2010 which provides that the Board may cancel a broadcasting licence if: “the cancellation of the licence is necessary in the interest of the public safety, security, peace, welfare or good order.…”
The privately-owned Prime TV started broadcasting in April, 2013 and has some 100 employees on its payroll.
Commenting on the matter, Kalaba said such pointed to a very sad day in the history of Zambia.
“The closing of the biggest Zambian-owned TV station by the PF government without cause is not only an unfortunate incident,” Kalaba said in a statement. “It is an act of cowardice, impunity and desperation by an unpopular government which has out-used all its unwitty government survival ploys and now resorts to dictatorship.”
He noted that Zambia had so much progress since 1991.
“Today President Lungu has managed to reverse all the gains of the multiparty state in just six years of his rule. This is the fastest collapse of any economy in the history of the world!” Kalaba said. “He has taken us back to pre-1991 where we were queuing up for mealie meal. He has added another element which has never been seen in Zambia before; he is a dictator in all its forms. Zambians have more than suffered under President Lungu’s leadership. Corruption, intimidation, political violence and killings, arsons, gassing of people and dictatorship…it’s all under PF.”
He said Prime TV was the only one that got to the community and “showed the world how you live, your sufferings and your happiness moments”.
Kalaba is distressed that the PF government was using the same old MMD tactics which “president [Michael] Sata, and all of us fought” against.
“How many Zambian companies are we going to allow President Lungu to destroy? Dora Siliya destroyed Zambian Airways, President Lungu got her to destroy The Post, and today they have managed to destroy our community pride Prime TV!” Kalaba said. “The closure of Prime TV demonstrates that President Lungu is not interested in your welfare. How does he close Prime TV for no reason when Prime TV is a Zambian employer of youth?”
He asked how President Lungu could destroy Prime TV and “yet he went to China to broker a loan for digital migration, a loan of $274 Million?”
“When we had the option of going digital with no cost to government! President Lungu brokers and guarantees a loan for TopStar, a Chinese company to come and regulate and carry content for Zambian companies! Is President Lungu president for Zambians or for Chinese?” Kalaba wondered.
“The Chinese have their own very good President who takes good care of his people. He provided funds for his Chinese people to build business enterprises in China and all over the world. Yet the Zambian President is all out to destroy the businesses facilitated by his predecessors!”
He said President Lungu had destroyed more jobs while he had failed to create any for the suffering youth and other Zambians.
“He has failed to control the price of mealie meal. He has failed to control the economy which is completely dead. The only thing he wants to control is you and I. Is that what we voted him for?” Kalaba said, adding that the closure of Prime TV was not about its proprietor Gerald Shawa and his employees. “It’s about President Lungu not wanting the Zambian entrepreneurs and Zambian business men and women to survive and thrive. It’s about President Lungu sending a message to you and I that only he and him and what he wants matters. It’s about taking you and I back to the days when Zambia was a one party State when no dissenting voice was allowed. It’s about President Lungu’s cowardice and desperation of losing the elections next year, the fact which is well known to him and his colleagues.”
Kalaba urged Zambians to stand with Prime TV.
“I call upon the Church to stand with Prime TV. I call upon all the politicians to stand with Prime TV. We must show madam Dora Siliya that Zambia is bigger than her. We must show President Lungu that Zambia is bigger than him,” he said. “Let us all join hands as brothers under the sun at this crucial and defining moment of our time. Let us defend the values and morals of our country. Today it’s Prime TV, tomorrow it’s you and you and you and me. It’s all of us.”
Kalaba added that Zambians ought to defend the principles upon which “beautiful precious Republic of Zambia was founded upon.”
Meanwhile, Kalaba appealed to the conscience of Rev Sumaili over the closure of Prime TV.
“I am not one to judge good and evil and I don’t want to judge the religious convictions of President Lungu, the religious minister and all concerned, as I have no authority over that. However, the behaviour of our own leadership does not reflect the behaviour of a government of a Christian nation,” stated Kalaba. “I call upon the religious minister, my mother whom I respect so much, to resign if she is not effective in providing guidance on morals and values for the leadership to which she is party to. If your own leadership cannot rule the country on values, how do you expect the people to live by proper values? My mother madam Sumaili, we know that the PF dirt is not yours, please resign as you are being smeared with this dirt.”