Lusaka (Agenzia Fides) - "We are deeply saddened and alarmed by the Government’s muzzling, harassing and persecution of the private media", said a joint statement of the main Christian denominations in Zambia, after the forced closing down of some radio stations, decreed by the authorities (see Fides 24/08/2016).
The statement sent to Agenzia Fides, signed by the Zambia Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB), welcomes the peaceful conduct of the presidential and parliamentary elections of 11 August, but expressed that they "are very dismayed and concerned" over the "tension and wanton violence that greeted the announcement of the election results" condemning the violent confrontations between rival political party members specifically between the governing Patriotic Front (PF) and the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND).
The religious leaders also expressed concern regarding the presence of party militias and threats made by members of the ruling party against the Constitutional Court, to which the opposition has turned to invalidate the vote which saw the victory of the PF and of outgoing President Edgar Lungu: "it is an intimidation of the Constitutional Court that citizens must not accept".
The statement concludes by appealing to the Head of State so that he revokes the right to close down private radio stations, and to media operators, so that they are always in compliance with professional ethics and avoid hate speech. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 01/09/2016)