Kabwe based freelance journalist Wilson Pondamali was yestersday attacked by known Patriotic Front thugs when he went to cover the mayoral installation ceremony at the Kabwe Municipal Council.
Pondamali explained in an interview that the PF thugs beat him before grabbing and breaking his working gadgets which included a Canon camera, voice recorder, a bag, a digital camera and other items which were in the bag.
He said that the attack happened around 16:00 hours near the mayoral parlour, “the PF cadres, actually known cadres attacked and beat me. This was after they ordered me to leave the premises where the function was being held. As I was about to leave four PF cadres followed me and attempted to abduct me while some where insulting me,” said Pondamali.
Pondamali who is also MISA Zambia committee member said that a quick response by the Council and Zambia Police rescued him from a possible bitter lynching.
He said that police pursued the cadres but only managed to apprehend three of the four.
Pondamali who was still at the police station by 19:00 hours yesterday waiting to be issued with a medical report, confirmed the arrest and detention of the cadres, saying that they were in the cells.
And police at Kabwe Central Police confirmed the arrest of the cadres saying it was unfortunate that officials from the ruling party were making governance difficult in the country.
The officer who did not want to be mentioned for fear of victimisation by the PF officials in the area, said that the unruly conduct exhibited by political cadres was uncalled for and police was finding it difficult to excute its function of maintainng law and order.
“We were shocked to see how the gentleman was airlifted and beaten by the PF cadres for no apparent reason. The three arrested were among the four who physically beat him up. They wanted to bundle him into an open van and speed away to an unknown destination but a quick repsonse from our officers rescued him. Otherwise this time around we could have been talking about something else,” said the officer.
The officer also said that it was highly contemptuous and provocative for the PF cadres to continue behaving in the manner they were doing, adding that anger and displeasure among Zambians especially people they were harrassing was mounting and might explode.
“We just want to appeal to our political leaders to stop this violence on innocent people by telling or directing their cadres not to beat people, not to harrass innocent individuals. Before this happened we had intelligence information that some of these cadres were brought here to attack members of parliament but the presence of that journalist made them angry because they didnt want to their plan to be exposed against those two MPs,” said the officer.
By press time, council police were still giving statements.