A Zambian government minister has offered a US$2000 reward to anyone who can unmask the identity of people behind independent media website Zambian Watchdog for writing stories and printing pictures alleging infidelity against him.
In a counter-offer, the Zambian Watchdog has offered iPads and other tablets to people with what they call “credible information” on an alleged extra-marital romantic affair of Miles Sampa, Zambia's Junior Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry. Sampa, a senior member of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF), sued the independent social news website Kachepa 360 (which is no longer available online) for defamation and was awarded US$50,000 in damages by a United States court early last year.
The Minister made his offer after the Zambian Watchdog published a story alleging that he recently travelled to the Northern provincial town of Kasama to dish out money to party cadres to stir trouble after local parliamentarian Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba announced his resignation as Minister of Defense.
The Watchdog quoted Sampa as saying:
I don’t care whether they are hiding in London or wherever they are. I recently won damages in the United States and I have no qualms about pursuing people that spread falsehoods [in reference to the Watchdog]
Sampa continued his commentary on his Facebook page, insinuating that these news items were a form of “cyber crime”:
I am making an appeal to all upright and noble people. If anyone knows the name and address of a man or woman, local or abroad, that writes or is an agent for Publishers of falsehood or are into character assassination on the Internet or Facebook for political expediency or just for fan [fun], please inbox me those details or text to [number given]
A reward of K10,000(rebased) [Zambia recently rebased her currency by removing three zeroes from it] or $2000 if abroad will be availed to Senders of bonafide details sent.
Full confidentiality is guaranteed to all informers and reward will be via Western Union if not in person. My hobby for 2014 and on behalf of all those who feel they are victims of this cyber crime, is to locate the abusers so they can see the inside of a court room nearest to their physical address anywhere on this planet.
Those who enjoy defaming other people be it politicians, should be brave enough to validate their stories in court.
The Zambian Watchdog reproduced Sampa’s post on its Facebook page and in its response, stated:
We (Zambian Watchdog) are also appealing to anyone who knows any of Miles Sampa’s current concubines to tell us. You can ‘inbox’ us just here or email to editor@zambiawatchdog
If you send us credible data, we shall send you an Ipad or Kindle for you to continue browsing the Watchdog. But make no mistake, a courier will deliver the Ipad or Kindle to you but you will never know from which direction it came from.
And for you Sampa, take notice that we [are] with you.
Commenting on the Zambian Watchdog Facebook post, Kaluku Musumadi advised Sampa to stay away from the fight with the news website:
This hide and seek (Tom & Jerry) between Miles and the ZW Dog will be getting out of hand. Miles must just learn to ignore such because the more he “pulls his sleeves to clinch a fist,” the dog is also jumping for another bite of him. Learn to ignore certain media nonsense and their attention on you will eventually shift to other hotter subjects.
Several Zambian journalists have in the past been arrested on trumped up charges on suspicion of being linked to the Zambian Watchdog.
Related stories, all by Gershom Ndhlovu
Minister Ridiculed Over Website Closure Statement
Another Journalist Arrested in Zambia
Journalist Charged With Sedition in Zambia
Zambia: ISP Faces Backlash Over Blocked News Site
Zambia: VP “Would Celebrate” Shutdown of News Site
Zambia: Minister Threatens Editors of Online Watchdog with Treason Charge