FINANCE deputy minister Christopher Mvunga on Saturday ordered police to arrest Radio Phoenix reporter Priscilla Chipulu after she went to visit him at his Mulungushi Village Complex residence.
And sources close to the minister have disclosed that Mvunga has had an affair with Chipulu but was trying to find means of dumping her before his wife discovers.
Lusaka Province police commissioner Charity Katanga explained that the minister ordered the police at Mulungushi Village Complex to arrest and detain the journalist.
“On Saturday 5th December, I think between 13:00 hours and 14:00 hours, a journalist by the name of Priscilla ‘Shipalu’ of Radio Phoenix went to Mulungushi Village, requesting to meet the deputy minister for the Ministry of Finance [Mvunga]. But at the gate, we have guards and police officers who are there, so they tried to find out if she had any appointment,” Katanga said.
“From the information, she is known there. The police have been seeing her and the other people there. So she went there to meet the [deputy] minister. So as she demanded to see the minister, the security got in touch with him, so of course they found out whether she had any appointment or not. After they got in touch with the minister, there was the issue of her being detained; that she should be detained and her phones also should be gotten from her.”
She said the police could not arrest or detain Chipulu because the minister was not clear on what offence the journalist had committed.
“The police didn’t know what offence to charge her with, so they made consultations. Because at that place we don’t have cells; the cells are in Ng’ombe [compound], that’s where she was supposed to be taken. So now, for what offence? It was not clear. [The directive was] that she should be detained, but for what offence? We didn’t know,” said Katanga.
“So police made consultations with others and made their own judgement not to detain her. So she was just there for over an hour and that’s how she went. But information has it that even today (yesterday) in the morning, she was there, she is believed to have slept there. Basically that is what happened.”
But sources close to the minister said Mvunga has been “dating” Chipulu.
“It’s just a relationship that has turned sour. The honourable has been dating this girl for some time now. But it seems he didn’t tell her that he is married because his wife is in South Africa. But now, the honourable minister wants to end things, but he is struggling because the girl knows too much,” the source said.
When contacted, Chipulu referred all questions to Mvunga.
Mvunga confirmed that Chipulu went to his house on Saturday, but that he didn’t want to see her because he wasn’t ready to give her an ‘interview’.
“The truth of the story is that I did not even see the journalist. When the guards at the gate called me to say there is a journalist to see you, I said I was not in a position to see any journalist so they should not allow anyone in,” Mvunga said.
“So no one was arrested, she was just denied entry. There is a procedure at my gate; when you arrive, the guards call me to get authority whether to allow you or not. So all I did was to say ‘no, do not allow her in.’ They did not arrest her. What I said to the police is that ‘I am not allowing her entry to my house, if she wants to force herself, you should arrest her’. So they did not even arrest her, they just told her that the minister has refused to see you.”
He said he was enjoying a private moment at home.
“So there is nothing untold. I was having a private time with my family so I said to her that if you want to interview me, come to the office. There is no issue in you interviewing me, but you cannot just barge in to interview me as you wish. So the whole issue is being sensationalised.
I did not know what happened, all I said was that I have got guests, I have got people visiting. You cannot just come to interview me. If I was by myself, I would have asked her to come, but
I had people. I have got visitors; we were having a braii, how do you come to interview me?” Mvunga explained.
He explained that he met Chipulu in the course of his duty.
“You know where I met this lady? I met this lady in May, we went to North-Western Province, she was part of the delegation of the journalists, that is when I saw her. I had no issue with her interviewing me. I do not know what she wanted to interview me about, and of late I do not want to talk about interviews because there are a lot of things we are dealing with at the moment. We have the exchange issue to deal with, we have got this to deal with,” Mvunga said.
He said when Chipulu went his house, he was with another journalist.
“As a matter of fact, what I said to her is that I am at home, the people I was with are here. I was with Doreen Mukanzo and her daughter, who is a journalist herself and Doreen even said,
‘Minister, you should not be entertaining interviews over the weekend, she can come to the office’. So I told her that if you want to interview me, make an appointment with my secretary. I have no issue with that,” said Mvunga.
“I told her that I do not entertain single women at my house. I do not even know where she stays. Apparently, there was an insinuation that I go to her house. Why do you want to interview me at my house? Imagine if I had allowed her and people found us? I can speak to the police if something happened. She said I had some classified document at my house. Why should I keep classified documents at my house? All I told the guards is that I do not want to see her, what is wrong with that? I have my right to privacy.”