Detained journalist Wilson Mpondamali has charged that his arrest and detention in prison is nothing but state persecution.
And another freelance journalist Thomas Zgyambo has advised Information and Broadcasting Minister Kennedy Sakeni to avoid falling into the temptation of threatening journalists because he risked being exposed by the same media he was attempting to stifle.
Speaking from his hospital bed where he was admitted after he collapsed in his police cell at Kabwe Central Police on Monday, Mr Mpondamali said his arrest and that of the other two freelance journalists from Lusaka was confirmation that the media environment in Zambia had been dampened since the ascendance to power of the PF.
Mr Mpondamali is likely to remain in hospital for the next four days chained and guarded by an armed police officer because he is still considered to be a prisoner.
He said the police knew he had done nothing wrong and that was why they had to manufacture frivolous charges after they had failed to find anything seditious in his house
Mr Mpondamali charged that government hatched a scheme that would see a number of journalists perceived to be critical, arrested and dumped in prisons on vague charges.
Mr Mpondamali was arrested on Tuesday last week by the police on his way home from Lusaka on suspicions that he was corresponding with the Zambian Watchdog, an online publication that has since been shut down by government.
He said while his arrest had traumatized his children and the entire family,but he was comforted by the fact that his incarceration was purely motivated by the desire by the state to silence journalists and citizens who had the voice to speak against the ills of the government and those in leadership.
“What I am going through is nothing but harassment and persecution. If I had done anything wrong, the police would have easily found a case against me but since my arrest, they have been looking for a case and that is why they ended up charging me with cases that were totally frivolous and tramped up,
“ And when the court granted me bail, the police were not happy and they decided to take me to jail. My lawyer has been struggling to get me out of jail but the police have been playing tricks to ensure that I remained in jail,’ Mr Mpondamali said.
And Mr Zgyambo who was arrested by police three weeks ago has disclosed that there were some senior government officials including serving ministers who were working at embarrassing President Sata by allowing him to publicly misconduct himself.
Mr Zgyambo who last week joined Solwezi Central Member of Parliament (MP) Lucky Mulusa in a protest walk against the removal of subsidies, the poor state of the Chingola-Solwezi Road and the harassment of journalists said there were some government officials who were not happy with the way Mr Sata was conducting himself and were looking forward to seeing him get embarrassed.