Global Politics

Trouble in Zambia

This radio program gets the message out to the masses in north Zambia. The broadcaster and Catholic priest began challenging what he called flaws in a very close election. The election commission asked him to stop and he refused and then the police accused him of inciting people. His opening questioning of the election results wasn't welcomed by the ruling party or its supporters, and his critics even include another man of the cloth. But he has many supporters amongst the poor. When people heard the father had been arrested, the protests spread quickly. But the demonstrations turned violent. The radio program fueled the anger that so many were already feeling. The price of corn, the main food staple, has skyrocketed, and the jobs many rely on are no longer secure. Eventually police realized they had to release the father and he immediately tried to calm people down. From the days Zambia gained independence until 1991 it was ruled by one man, and since then Zambia has shifted to mainly peaceful, multi-party elections, and observers say the elections have been mostly free and fair. But observers say there's also been a trend towards muzzling free speech. Even now parliament is considering the regulation of private media. People here pride themselves on being peaceful, but the people are also growing increasingly hungry and impatient.

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