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TopStar has abrogated the law – Kambwili

NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili has advised President Edgar Lungu to be on top of things and not run the country based on emotions.

Kambwili, who has said the removal of Prime Television from the TopStar platform was illegal and demanded that government rescinds the decision immediately.

Addressing journalists in Lusaka yesterday, Kambwili said what TopStar did was an abrogation of the Digital Migration Policy.

“When a country stops observing their own statutes then citizens must get worried. When the government of the day stops to observe its own statutes then citizens must worry. If government cannot follow the laid down procedures, if government can abrogate their own policies then you know that you have a problem. I want to appeal to President Edgar Lungu that please my dear brother, be on top of things and make sure that what your ministers do, what your government is doing is within the confines of the law. Let us not run the country on emotions, this country has laws and those laws must be observed…it’s extremely disheartening that government ministers are the ones who are in the forefront to abrogate their own rules and regulations. The issue of TopStar removing Prime TV from their platform is an illegality that must not be tolerated by any reasonable Zambian,” Kambwili said.

He urged President Lungu, Minister of Information Dora Siliya and TopStar chief executive officer to immediately rescind the decision on Prime TV.

Kambwili said the law backs his demand and request.

“First and foremost, it must be noted that the platform and infrastructure that TopStar is using belongs to the ordinary people of Zambia. If you remember very well, the country was compelled to move from analogue to digital by the UN organ in charge of Telecommunication and Television facilities. The policy on page four talks about market structure and licensing framework which says the current broadcasting licensing framework shall be transformed into two broadcasting licenses namely content service provider licence and digital distributor licence, in addition, no single entity shall hold both types of licences at the same time,” he explained.

Kambwili said TopStar’s holding of two licences, content provision through running Topstar TV, and signal carrier, was an illegality.

He wondered how an illegal entity would be sanctioning other entities operating legally.

“TopStar is operating illegally, they are running a television network like DSTV, like, Strong and also GOTV so they are running content provision and at the same time they are a signal carrier, which is
against the law. The Minister of Information is aware about this provision, Cabinet is aware about this provision but have allowed this illegality to go on,” Kambwili said.

The NDC leader further said removing Prime Television from the TopStar platform was discriminatory and contrary to policy guidelines and the law.

He said when he was minister of information, TopStar was hand-picked and single sourced to operate the private signal carrying licence.

“I was against this when I was minister but government went ahead and single sourced against the law. This TopStart thing is a scandal but now you want to use a scandal to start punishing private TV stations,” Kambwili lamented.

And Kambwili said the country needs a complete lockdown over the COVID-19.

In an interview, the National Democratic Congress leader said the government must listen and impose a complete lockdown for at least two weeks in an effort to mitigate the deadly coronavirus.

On Monday, health minister Chitalu Chilufya announced that cases of the coronavirus in the country had risen to 35, barely two weeks after the first two cases were reported.

Kambwili, however, insisted that the country could be wiped out if people do not adhere to a “self-lockdown” since the government was dragging its feet on the issue.

“Nalikwebele tabulapo (forewarned is forearmed), we need a complete lockdown. I know it will affect the economy but life is precious,” Kambwili said.

“There’s no way you can fight this disease minus ventilators and emergency beds…intensive care units. And most of the hospitals don’t have ICUs….”

Kambwili said the strategies being applied by government through the Ministry of Health were not sufficient to completely avert the spread
of the coronavirus.

“People of Zambia please I beg you, stop unnecessary movements and visits. Stay indoors, stay in your homes. Even if government does not announce the total lockdown, please lock yourselves down as individual families,” said Kambwili. “If you are waiting for government to announce, I am telling you will be wiped out and once you die, there is no second chance.”

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