Ministers Caught Browsing ‘Zambia's WikiLeaks’

On October 2 2012, Zambia's Finance Deputy Minister Miles Sampa and Minister in Charge of Chiefs Nkandu Luo were caught on camera during a Lusaka Council meeting browsing the online news website Zambian Watchdog. The online publication, known for its investigative reporting, was this month threatened with de-registration by the Registrar of Societies.

Several high ranking government officials including President Michael Sata, Justice Minister Wynter Kabimba, Defence Minister Goeffrey Bwalya Mwamba and Foreign Minister Given Lubinda have openly called for it to be taken offline.

Reporting about the incident, Kabwe wrote:

The PF government is relentlessly fighting online media but its top members are key followers of major websites reporting on Zambian politics.

On Tuesday, finance deputy minister Miles Sampa – President Sata’s nephew – and minister in charge of chiefs Nkandu Luo, were caught on camera during a Lusaka council meeting keenly browsing the Zambian Watchdog as deliberations were underway.

This was on Monday during a full council meeting which was also attended by Vice-President Guy Scott who is Lusaka Central MP, Mandevu MP Jean Kapata, Matero MP Miles Sampa, Kabwata MP Given Lubinda and Chawama MP Edgar Lungu.

After watching the video, Zambian netizens reacted as follows [*the site does not have permanent links for individual comments]:

Anonymous said:

In case you are under rating the substance and existance of the watchdog. Some of us we start with the watchdog then proceed to the office read a borrowed post newspaper just to check chocklet’s catoon. I may buy the daily mail [goverment owned daily paper] for adverts. But I don’t forget to re-check the watchdog just incase of any breaking news. Even before going to bed, I check the breaking news. Keep it up ZWD [Zambian Watchdog].

A screenshot from the video showing Zambian Watchdog on Deputy Minister Miles Sampa's tablet during a council meeting.

Socrates asked:

Interesting… If they could read like that in public, what do they do in private at the office?

Rick Bobby supported the ministers:

That’s the way to go Miles. I respect a man who takes his time to know what the critics are saying. And I will defend the rights of those critics to continue saying what they’re saying.

Another reader did not see anything wrong but thought the timing was bad:

Basic rule know who you are up against.cant blem them,only bad timing to surf

Another netizen called the publication “the door of hope”:

Let the pathetic fellow ministers read the ZWD – the door of hope…

Mambamba Musaama loves the “craziness” of Zambian Watchdog:

This site is simply addictive, it carters for both crazy and sane pipo which is the very axis of life. It has given us a fresh breath amidst the boring govt mouth pieces- ZNBC, POST, Times & Daily. Social networking has come to stay, just enjoy it bane, no need to threaten to close these sites coz you also have an opportunity to air your views,it even allows you to insult, I mean where do you get such opportunities to distress apart from ZWD? Viva ZWD, I love the craziness………

A screenshot of the video showing Minister Nkandu Luo and Deputy Minister Miles Sampa during the meeting.

Zed Patriot told the ministers not to kill the messenger:

Honourables Sampa & Luo, since you read the watchdog I advise you to prevail over you colleagues who are against the publiction to back off. Instead of killing the messenger, use ZWD to help you plan how to fulfill the needs of Zambians.

James did not see anything wrong with the ministers reading it:

What’s wrong with that. As a leader you have to read all papers in order to be in touch with what’s on like it or not.

Another reader who claims to be addicted to the site noted that it updates him constantly:

Zambian watch dog is the best.Its the only web that updates me every day where ever i am.Even at 01hrs when i wake up for a pee;i check the watchdog coz it is always updated with latest news.Am addicted to Watchdog.

Commenting on YouTube, user lightonphiri simply wondered:

ha ha ha… classic! I mean who doesn't read zambianwatchdog?

Zambian Watchdog reported in May this year that its website was the target of a denial of service (DDoS) attack, allegedly by the government.


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