By Mast Reporter
ZICTA has summoned Lusaka based journalist Melony Chisanga for questioning over what they termed a cyber security issue. The officers have threatened to pick Chisanga by force if he fails to show up tomorrow. Chisanga is one of the administrators of an online publication, Kalemba.

The Mast has learnt that ZICTA have been investigating the protest by youths last month that was beamed live on some facebook pages which was watched by several thousands of citizens.

Chisanga has been receiveing several calls from senior Zambia Information and Communications Technology (ZICTA) officers since last week, asking him to report to their offices.

According to a recording obtained by The Mast between Chisanga and two officers who identified themselves as Pablo and director, the journalist would be picked if he did not take himself there. Chisanga appears before ZICTA officers tomorrow with his lawyers at 09:00 hours.

Below is a transcript of Monday’s phone conversation among the three parties

Pablo: This is Pablo from ZICTA. I waited for you as per our agreement.

Melony: Yes, I decided to talk to the lawyer so that may be, I can come through. Then we tried to reach you on the line, the same landline but no one picked.

Pablo: Say that again, I didn’t get you.

Melony: I’m saying I decided to engage the lawyer so that I can come through with the lawyer because I remember you didn’t specify the case I was coming to hear.

Pablo: We’ve been waiting for you from Friday, and today is Monday.

Melony: Yes, yes. If you can give me, may be, the line that can be picked. From there you will be able to talk to the lawyer and then we’ll come through, depending on…

Pablo: Listen Melony, let me explain to you your rights in investigations, alright. You’ve got the right to legal representation. That does not bring the lawyer in the picture for what we are following. You are the subject of our investigation. So, if you’re engaging a lawyer, that’s your right, we respect that; it is you to deal with your lawyer. I’m not gonna pick a call here from your lawyer, or make a call to your lawyer, coz this is not my business. That’s your legal representative.

Melony: Yah.

Pablo: So, if you come here, it doesn’t matter how many lawyers you want to come with, but I’ll call you to come here. So, you want to tell me to pick a call from your lawyer, for what?

Melony: Yes, I was even calling on my line. Kaili it’s me you want. I understand you are in communication, and communication should be a two-way communication; not whereby you are the only ones who are able to call me, not me calling your line so that we can engage each other because what you’re doing, this communication it’s a one way. You have reached me, but me when I’m trying to reach you and…

Pablo: So, me I’m inviting you. When are you coming?

Melony: Hello.

Pablo: When are you coming through?

Melony: Are you getting what I’m saying?

Pablo: Hah.

Melony: The issue at hand is, I don’t understand what I’m facing there. So, no wonder, I have engage a lawyer to come through with. You understand?

Pablo: I’m saying that’s your right because you’ve got a right to legal representation. So, when are you coming with your lawyer?

Melony: When I’m reaching you, I want to make fresh arrangements so that we can come through on such a day; we also communicate back to you. So, no wonder I’m asking that give me a line that can be picked then I will say when I’ll come through and time. But the issue at hand now it’s like it’s just a one-way communication; it’s only you who can call me, not me like getting to you.

Pablo: We are just trying to be civil. We know you are a freelance journalist; we know where you are, we know where you live, we know what you do.

Melony: That much I know, but…

Pablo: We invited you out of courtesy so that we have a civil conversation with you. But if you want us to look out for you and find you, we can still do that.

Melony: Aa, if you look at it from the time you called me up to date, I’m not hiding.

Pablo: Aah, we have no objection with you coming with a lawyer or two, or three, or four lawyers; that’s your right. I’m saying, when are you coming here with your lawyers? That’s my question.

Melony: Ah, coz why I was calling you back it’s like to rearrange in terms of communication; to rearrange because, also lawyers, the ones that I’m engaging they’re also committed. We need to make…to make a plan. No wonder I’m saying let me get back to you, let me talk to the lawyers; how available they are, then I’ll communicate what time we can come through.

Pablo: So, now you’re the one determining the pace at which investigations should move?

Melony: No, no, no it’s not me determining. It is the way it is. Is it by command or something, I don’t know? I know that you have called me, you have called me there’re some people that I need to come through with.

Pablo: Who has stopped you from coming? Why can’t you come with those people? Have we stopped you from coming with them?

Melony: No, no, no, no. Are we communicating? So, if they are committed what do I do?

Pablo: O, so we have to wait until those people are free?

Melony: No, I was calling you to make sure that we make fresh arrangements.

Pablo: You tell me the arrangements coz I’ve called you now.

Melony: Aa!

Pablo: I’ve called you, so what are the arrangements?

Melony: Okay, is this line going to be available in the next few minutes so that (you) let me just communicate how ready we are, so that the time I call back we will be ready…like we are able to meet. I’ll give you a concrete response because, you know, I’m also not like I’m just seated or something, I’m also doing something here and there.

Pablo: You call me back on this same number.

Another voice: Tell him that your supervisor is there.

Pablo: Just hold on, you gonna talk to my director now.

Director: Good morning.

Melony: Good morning.

Director: So, this thing I’ve just come in and it’s been pending for a little while. And we rarely tell people to come here, we usually go for them and collect them. But yours is a little bit hazy, and hence that’s why we wanted you to come here so that we could ask you a few questions. Otherwise, I’ve seen that this discussion that you are having with one of my senior officers here is deteriorating and it’s getting out of hand. So, two things will happen: one, you can talk to your lawyers that you were supposed to come to ZICTA last week which you did not.

Melony: No, on Friday…

Director: Last week is Friday.

Melony: Yes.

Director: Last week was Friday. So now, what I’m saying is, I am giving you until tomorrow 10:00 hours to come here. If not, I am going to use other means that we use to come and pick you up because now, instead of me engaging you at that level like I told my officer here to just talk to you, this thing is, there’re so many things that are happening that we wanted, first of all, for you to confirm because for me you are not even the main subject. But if you keep on holding him, have you ever seen what happens when a taxi…

Melony: No

Director: Let me finish, bwana, I’ll let you talk also, kaili you were talking about communication being a two -way. So, if I finish then you are going to hear me, isn’t it?

Melony: Yes.

Director: So, you’ve known what usually happens, if a taxi takes thieves to a house and they steal but the taxi is noted, even the taxi driver who didn’t know what those guys are doing is usually picked, isn’t it?

Melony: Yes, yes.

Director: He becomes a suspect, isn’t it?

Melony: Yeah.

Director: Until finally the people that had taken it… But if these guys are bad hearted, they will say no, he was part of the group.

Melony: Mm.

Director: And sometimes he even is kept there for months and months, and yet you only find out that he wasn’t even there because he was working. You get the point, ayi?

Melony: Yes, yes.

Director: So, this is the situation that we have with you. There’s something that we wanted to find out, something from you. So, now, last week we, the whole week we waited until Friday you didn’t show.

Melony: No, no, no.

Director: I have got information on my table that I need to clear, I cannot hold on to something as simple as this. So, boss, talk to your lawyers so that you can find out. You can call back, you can call back my officer on the same line; just ask them to transfer you to the cyber security desk, they’ll transfer you. There’s no need to… this number that has been given to you will go through. And when somebody answers tell them that you want to speak to someone from the cyber security desk. It will be redirected to my officers. So, I’ll be expecting a call…

Melony: May be, I get also your name?

Director: Bwana, the, I think…

Pablo: I told you, Pablo, my name is Pablo.

Melony: No, I’m talking to the second person. Sir, listen, if I’m like dodging all these things, this phone would have been off. Listen, what I’m trying to do…

Director interrupts.

Melony: No, no, no, listen let me talk as well, you have been talking.

Director: Okay, Melony, Melony.

Melony: Let me talk.

Director: Melony, ok, no, no, no, in fact let’s not waste your time.

Melony: Let me talk.

Director: No, no let’s not waste your time. I think you’re a busy person.

Melony: No, no, let me talk.

Director: No, no we are cutting this call. Just know that if you don’t show up tomorrow, we’ll come and pick you up ourselves, okay.

Melony: Are you threatening me or what?

Director: No, no, no, no it’s not a threat; it’s a promise.

Melony: But let me talk as well coz you’re communicating to me.

Director: You know what, we’ll keep on talking and we’ll not get anywhere.

Melony: The problem with you, the way you want to handle it, you want to handle it like you have too much power on it. But I don’t understand the issue, I…

Director: We work with the law here, bwana, we don’t even have power. Us we are just…

Melony: Boss.

Director: It’s like you telling a sando (hammer) ati it’s hammering hard, no. The job of a sando is to hammer a nail, that’s it’s job. So, here we are not using any power, there’s a law. Mr Chisanga if you don’t [show up], believe you me, we are going to pick you up tomorrow; that I can assure you.

Melony: But the problem is you don’t want to communicate with me, you just want to…

Director: No, bwana, I think my officers have been doing this for a long time, you are playing with them, and it’s not good.

Melony: No, no I’m not playing with them, they called me on Friday.

Director: Oh, yes you are. Pablo has been talking to you for forever, and now you’re trying to…

Melony: Not forever, that’s a lie. If you say forever, you’re lying, sir.

Director: We will just use our instruments and we’ll pick you. If you want, show up yourself so that we are civil. But when we come, we’re coming to pick you up as a suspect because now this thing has changed, okay. Now I’m telling you, if you don’t show up here with your lawyers, tomorrow we are picking [you]; whatever happens. Friday was given, and now we’re telling you and then you want to start dictating to us!

Melony: No, no, no, I’m not dictating, I’m not dictating.

Director: This is not a kantemba where you are getting mobile money, no. There’s a cyber issue here and it’s a security issue. So, I’m telling you now, cut the line. If you don’t show [up] here, bwana, we are coming to pick you up.


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