Zambia Reports (Lusaka)

16 January 2013

Zambia: Journalist Chanda Chimba III Says 'I Am Being Persecuted'

Photo: Zambia Reports
Zambian opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, president of the United Party for National Development (UPND).

Freelance journalist Chanda Chimba III says he is ready to suffer harm at the hands of the PF government persecuting him for producing Stand Up for Zambia documentaries that were critical of President Michael Sata in the run up to the 2011 elections.

Chimba was arrested last week and charged with allegedly producing articles that exposed the other side of President Sata's political career covering over three decades.

The television documentaries are now on the internet and President Sata is reportedly upset thereby ordering police officers to arrest and silence Chimba into disowning his own works. Chimba is since slapped with two charges - publishing an unregistered newspaper and being found in possession of stolen property.

Giving his first public interview on Crossfire Blogtalk Radio on Tuesday, Chimba said he was being persecuted for taking an unpopular stand at the time against then opposition leader Sata, The Post and their associates.

"I am ready to be hurt if the PF wants to," he said. "If I didn't do Stand Up for Zambia, I was not going to be in cells or taken to court. Journalists need protection. Even the people should not just be standing up for The Post. There are journalist at ZNBC, at Muvi TV and Times of Zambia."

Chimba dispelled assertion by The Post that he had gone into hiding after President Sata won the elections.

"I never went into hiding. What I did was just to keep a low profile," he said.

Chimba said he had no apologies to make for the documentaries and was in no way seeking reconciliation with anyone because as far as he was concerned, he committed no wrong contributing to the political discourse of the country.

Asked by presenters of the show about his relationship with Post editor and PF chief propagandist Fred M'membe, Chimba says he never knew him personally.

"What did I do wrong to reconcile with The Post?" he wondered. "They [The Post] hated me because I took a stand.

"They tried to scare me so that I don't go ahead with Stand up for Zambia."

Chimba said M'membe was not an angel who should insulate himself from criticism when he was a deep player in the politics of the country.

"Who says people can't talk about Fred M'membe. I have nothing against Fred M'membe and against The Post. Professionally, even personally I have nothing against Fred M'membe. If he has got something against me, its because of what I did for Stand Up for Zambia," he said.

Chimba urged the PF to concentrate on the promises made to the Zambian people in the run up to elections instead of persecuting him.

"Failures by the PF outweigh the success," he said.

Chimba said although he didn't support or agree with President Sata, he will respect him as a democratically elected leader ushered into office through a legitimate election.

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