The opposition UPND says it is aware of plans by President Lungu to shut operations of the country’s biggest private newspaper, The Post using the Zambia Revenue Authority ZRA before the August 11th elections.
Party President Hakainde Hichilema said as a party they will not sit idle and allow the selfish and evil motive by a few disgruntled government officials to annihilate the newspaper which has proved to be a beacon of democracy and freedom of expression in our country.
He said President Lungu has all the government newspapers, television and radio stations to himself, including some private media houses hence should live The Post alone as it is only paper accommodating the opposition.
“As UPND, we wish to warn President Lungu and his PF that our party will not sit idle and allow this selfish and evil motive by a few disgruntled government officials to annihilate the newspaper which has proved to be a beacon of democracy and freedom of expression in our country.
“President Lungu has all the government newspapers, television and radio stations to himself, including some private media houses. The Post is the only private newspaper that has taken a bold step to give us, the UPND and our colleagues in the opposition, a platform on which to communicate with the people of Zambia, without any conditions attached,” reads the statement in part.
He further praised the work of the newspaper for bringing out a number of elections issues among them the registration of foreigners as voters.
“The work that has been done by The Post so far ahead of the elections speaks volumes about what this country would be without this newspaper. Had it not been for The Post, this country wouldn’t have known that the ruling party has registered hundreds of thousands of foreigners to give them an illegal advantage in this coming election. A Post reporter was almost killed on a mission to expose this criminal act by PF cadres. Without The Post we would not have known about Lungu abuse of the Office of President where he has directed them to work with Timor Consulting of Israel to rig the elections. We would not have known that there are Ugandans at State House working with President Lungu to manipulate the voters register and rig the elections for PF. It is The Post newspaper that sent a red alert when ECZ initiated a move to print ballot papers in Dubai using President Lungu’s friends,” he said.
He also accused Mr Lungu of forgetting the help they got from the same newspaper on their way to forming government.
“But Mr. Lungu has forgotten that this is the newspaper that his party used to get in government and enjoy the luxurious life that he is enjoying today that has even made him ignore the cries of the Zambian people. He is pretending when he appears on TV that he has been tolerant of the media, when behind the scenes, he is giving instructions to Zambia Revenue Authority using his agents to financially incapacitate The Post. We know for a fact that The Post pays more taxes than some of the companies that they are protecting today. Berlin Msiska and his team should not allow themselves to be used as tools for political machinations,” he said.
The statement adds that the President has assumed autocratic powers to unleash his wrath on anybody and any organisation that challenges his governance.
“We have very fresh intelligence that the ZRA is scheming another raid on The Post on instructions from State House. But let President Lungu and his corrupt accomplices in government know that the Zambia Revenue Authority is not a branch of the Patriotic Front which they can shamelessly abuse in this manner.
We therefore warn that should the PF government go ahead with its immoral schemes against The Post newspaper, the UPND shall mobilise countrywide demonstrations and protest until the newspaper which is our champion of democracy is allowed to operate freely in our country,” he said.