ANTONIO Mwanza has never been known to be troubled by television or radio interviewers; the PF deputy media director is widely regarded as a sharp and smooth-talking politician.
But as he featured on Diamond TV’s ‘COSTA’ last night, the former FDD spokesperson clearly struggled to provide convincing responses to some of the “tough” questions posed by host Costa Mwansa.
As the show got under way, Mwanza initially beaming with confidence, seemed to get rattled and unsettled by some of Costa’s questions.
Mwanza struggled to justify the expulsion of opposition leaders Hakainde Hichilema and Chishimba Kambwili by police from Chilubi Constituency where they went to campaign ahead of the Thursday parliamentary by-election.
Police said the two opposition leaders cannot be allowed to remain in Chilubi because President Edgar Lungu’s campaign programme extended from last Friday to next Wednesday.
Costa also challenged Mwanza to explain the massive distribution of relief food in Chilubi Constituency when hunger was claiming lives in other parts of the country.
Mwanza explained that the food distribution exercise was happening in several other districts and that no one has died of hunger.
At this point, Costa ran a story that had previously aired on Diamond TV of a child who died of hunger in Shang’ombo district of Western Province. The moving report showed a thin baby whose parents said survived on wild roots and that no relief food had reached them.
As the interview resumed, Mwanza’s confidence seemed to have waned but acknowledged that the story was sad.
Many viewers who followed the show via the Diamond TV Facebook page thought Mwanza had met his match.
“Costa Mwansa is the best interviewer in Zambia….He is so great,” Nashon Ngalande wrote as the programme continued.
“Antonio Mwanza is a good politician with poor political rhetoric. Costa you are a great listener and a gifted interviewer. Antonio keeps failing to answer questions on specific cases. Eg, the DMMU, constitutional act that allows them to play foul against opposition through the police and the list goes on…Holmes Madichi,” wrote another viewer.
Comedian Ken Dumbo also posted a comment promising to gift Costa with K100 worth of credit for his interviewing skills.
The show attracted over 1,200 comments with the majority commending Costa and mocking Mwanza.
And earlier in the programme, Kambwili called in and urged Mwanza to have a sense of shame.
Mwanza joined the PF in early 2018, following several years as spokesperson of the opposition Forum for Democracy and Development. He was immediately appointed PF deputy media director, a post that did not previously exist in the party.