Zambian ruling party’s Patriotic Front top journalist cadre Amos Malupenga is now blaming some opposition leaders in the country of hijacking the issue of the reduction in the transmission radius for UNZA Radio to pursue their political agenda.
Malupenga, the PF information permanent secretary, was on cloud nine last week lecturing UNZA Radio management in journalism matters and ordered the Zambia Information Technology Communication Authority (ZICTA) to reduce the varsity’s radius to 500 watts from the 1000 it had held.
ZICTA promptly implemented the orders but the students are now reacting angrigly and on Wednesday gave Malupenga a piece of their mind.
A group of students marched to Government Complex, where Malupenga – a former Post Newspaper Managing Editor – has an office.
He chose to speak to a few and their union representatives but the meeting yielding nothing as the students walked out of the meeting leaving a shell shocked Malupenga dumbed. He later called a press briefing for self preservation.
The students have threatened to riot if Malupenga’s orders are not reversed.
Malupenga, together with his employer Fred M’membe at The Post were fierce critics of Rupiah Banda’s leadership and the MMD over freedom of expression issues, but the cadre journalist is now showing his true colours as information permanent secretary.
Malupenga, like his new boss President Michael Sata, is intolerant to divergent views and accused UNZA Radio of advancing political interest before his recent action was implemented.
After creating the problems at UNZA, Malupenga is heaping the blame on the opposition, in apparent reference to UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema whom he has been deriding in statements he writes for government spokesperson Kennedy Sakeni and defence minister Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM).
It is the fourth time UNZA students, the highest learning institution in the country, have gone to the streets within four months in the one year of the PF rule.
The first time UNZA students protested was when government attempted to extend the vacation following a dispute with management over salaries. They also went to the street when management wanted to prematurely close the college to pave way for renovation ahead of the Zone Six Games in December.
The students were back on the streets when their bursaries were delayed and now Malupenga’s emotional and careless tantrums have invited them back to the streets.
On all their previous protests, government has responded without delay and it remains to be seen if Malupenga and ZICTA will have a change of mind.
Qfm radio is, however, quoting Malupenga as having said there is totally nothing political about the move stressing that all what the Zambia information communications authority (ZICTA) has done is to regularize all community radio stations in the country.
He claims that it is unfortunate that politicians have decided to take advantage of innocent students at the institution to mislead them into believing that the move is politically motivated.
Malupenga says the licenses given to community radio stations clearly stipulate that all community radio stations in the country are supposed to operate within 500 watts and not beyond.