News / Africa

Zambia Won’t Condone Political Violence, Says Official

Zambia's President Michael Sata speaks to journalists at the 18th African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, Jan. 2012 file photo.
Zambia's President Michael Sata speaks to journalists at the 18th African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, Jan. 2012 file photo.
Peter Clottey
Zambia’s information minister says President Michael Sata’s administration will not tolerate acts of violence perpetrated by political groups aimed to create chaos and destabilize the country.

Joseph Katema also denied opposition accusations that the administration has narrowed the political space preventing them from effectively playing their role as checks on the government.  He says the state’s broadcasting companies give equal access to all political parties.

“The opposition political parties are enjoying very conducive environment,” said Katema. “Little did we hear of an opposition political party on a national television broadcaster, national print media, which are solely owned by the government. They can participate and [are] given equal platform, which had never happened in the history of this country,” he said.

His comments came after Hakainde Hichilema, leader of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) was attacked while participating in a program on a private local radio station in Ndola, in the country’s northern Copperbelt region. UPND supporters accused members of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party for the attack.

The country’s Human Rights Commission and Wynter Kabimba, the justice minister and general secretary of the PF condemned the attack. Katema also decried the violence.

“The Patriotic Front government believes in the rule of law and at no time is it going to tolerate any acts of violence against any of its citizens. And it doesn’t matter from which political party the perpetrators are coming from, the government does not condone [it],” said Katema. “The spokesperson of the Patriotic Front says that anybody found in perpetrating any acts of violence would be disowned when the law starts to take its course,” he said.

But opposition groups say the government is to blame for the violence against opponents of the administration, since attacks on opposition leaders are often carried out by partisans of the ruling PF who, they contend, remain unpunished for their acts of violence.

Katema disagreed, and called on supporters of political parties to be tolerant of their opponents.

“Both the ruling party and the opposition parties [should] call for level headedness when we are handling matters of importance to this nation, that we should moderate our tone,” said Katema. “Provocation as well should not be tolerated, it being from the ruling party or from the opposition parties. So I am appealing to both parties to moderate in the way that they are conducting partisan business,” he said.

Katema says the government has implemented measures to ensure an equal playing field for opposition groups to freely carry out their activities devoid of violence. He however says the government will not condone pronouncements that incite violence and chaos.

“The government has always appealed to the opposition parties that any political player that in as much as freedom is given, it should go hand-in-hand with responsibility. Going to the media to go and propagate violence is not acceptable,” said Katema.
Clottey interview with Joseph Katema, Zambia's information minister
Clottey interview with Joseph Katema, Zambia's information ministeri
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid