JUNE 22, 2005
Posted: June 30, 2005

Anthony Mukwita, Radio Phoenix

Police in Zambia threatened to charge radio host and commentator Anthony Mukwita with sedition after a June 10 broadcast on privately owned Radio Phoenix in which he read an anonymous fax criticizing the government.

The fax, signed “Annoyed Zambians,” criticized President Levy Mwanawasa’s administration for allegedly failing to crack down on corruption and suggested the president’s inaction could result in a coup, according to Mukwita. His show, “Let the People Talk,” is a phone-in program, and Mukwita told CPJ that listeners frequently fax their comments to be read on the air.

On June 22, police served Mukwita with a “warned and cautioned” statement, informing him that he was under investigation for sedition under section 57 of Zambia’s Penal Code. Mukwita’s lawyer, Sakwiba Sikota, told CPJ that the statement is a step toward pressing charges against Mukwita.

Police previously questioned Mukwita’s two guests on the June 10 program, Paul Mususu, an advocate of constitutional reform; and Ngande Mwanajiti, executive director of the Inter-African Network for Human Rights and Development (Afronet). Mususu said he was asked whether Mukwita “was reading from a real fax, or if it was a hoax,” the independent Zambian daily The Post reported. Mususu said he confirmed Mukwita’s account.

Following the broadcast, Radio Phoenix management terminated Mukwita’s contract, an action Mukwita believes was prompted by threats from Zambian authorities.