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Zambia's election controversy spills over to airwaves

Zambia's election controversy spills over to airwaves.

Zambia's Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) has shut down three private broadcasters for alleged professional misconduct.

The country's largest private TV station Muvi television, along with radio stations Komboni and Itezhi Tezhi, has been closed just hours after broadcasting a news story in which the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) confirmed its decision to rescind 8000 votes erroneously awarded to the incumbent president Edgar Lungu.

Yesterday morning, Muvi aired a story quoting ECZ's Chris Akufuna.

The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) and the police subsequently moved in to secure the premises and take control of the broadcaster's transmitters.

Hours before it was shut down, Muvi TV lawyer Milner Katolo said the station had been served with a suspension letter by IBA.

Katolo said, "the company has been given the chance of a hearing by IBA on September 20 and that the company will utilise the opportunity to engage the IBA in order to lift the suspension."

IBA chairman Brigadier General Justine Mutale said in a statement yesterday that the broadcasters posed a risk to peace and stability during this month's general elections.

"The authority has observed that before, during and after the August 11, 2016 elections, Muvi TV, Komboni radio and radio Itezhi Tezhi have been conducting themselves in unprofessional manner contrary to the provisions of the IBA act," Mutale said.

Zambian president Edgar Lungu's re-election has been disputed by the country's main opposition, the United Party for National Development (UPND) which has since petitioned his declaration as winner in the Constitutional Court claiming the results were manipulated.

Lungu has since refused to hand over power to the Speaker of the National Assembly until the matter is resolved by the court as demanded by the constitution

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