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UPND accuses PF of ZNBC interference

THE United Party for National Development (UPND) has accused the Patriotic Front (PF) of interfering with operations of the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) by allegedly directing it not to record a presidential debate scheduled for last Tuesday night and organised by the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ).
But PF secretary general Davies Chama has dismissed the allegations saying his party does not interfere with the operations of the national broadcaster.
UPND campaign manager Dipak Patel said his party is disappointed that ZNBC failed to record and broadcast the presidential debate which could have been a valuable opportunity for the Zambian people to evaluate the major presidential contenders in a transparent arena.
Mr Patel said in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday that it is disappointing that Patriotic Front (PF) candidate Edgar Lungu failed to attend the debate.
On Tuesday the PF announced that Mr Lungu could not be part of the debate because he was out on his continued campaign trial in the Northern Province.
“EAZ had agreed with ZNBC to record the debate and then broadcast it at a later date. Unfortunately, once it became clear that Mr Lungu was not attending, the ZNBC crew packed up and left. Attempts to find an alternative at last minute were explored but nothing viable was established,” he said.
He, however, said he is happy that UPND president Hakainde Hichilema, MMD’s Nevers Mumba and Forum for Democracy and development (FDD’s) Edith Nawakwi were ready to participate in the debate.
“Acting President Guy Scott has repeatedly stated his commitment to overseeing free and fair elections.
But PF secretary general Davies Chama has refuted the allegations saying his party does not interfere with the operation of the national broadcaster.
Mr Chama said Mr Lungu could not go for the debate because he was on a campaign trial in Northern Province.
He said Mr Lungu is ready to attend the debate today if called upon.

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