And Post Newspapers Editor in Chief Fred M’membe has described the closure of the newspapers as a temporal setback.
Around 14 Hours, riot police moved in and fired teargas to disperse the Post workers who had gathered since morning and set up a makeshift newsroom outside the closed offices.
Workers had to scamper in all directions after teargas was fired as they tried to secure equipment such as laptops and cameras.
Police said they resorted to firing teargas because the continued presence of Post workers outside the premises was posing a security risk to the area.
This was after some UPND cadres held a solidarity protest outside the premises denouncing the closure of the privately run newspaper.
And addressing workers this morning, Mr M’membe maintained that the closure of the Post Newspapers is politically motivated.
He urged the workers to remain strong saying he will do everything in his powers to help those facing hardships at the firm.
“There are many other tax payers in Zambia who have got many worse problems that us, they are not treated the same way. You sacrificed especially the last two years and when we came back to you, you understood. The resources of the Post do not belong to an individual, this is not a Kantemba where somebody goes and takes what has been collected for the day. I don’t take any Ngwee from the Post coffers that is not my due,” Mr M’membe said.
“Probably I have sacrificed in terms of my salary more than anybody else in the company. Money is not an issue for us. There are bigger things in life than money. We have far worse things in life than money. Off course, you can’t walk into a super market and get food without paying for it,” he said.
“We live in a money economy. If you don’t have money, your home will be dark, if you don’t have money, you won’t have access to water and you will not have access to health services and so forth. That is the only value of money for us.”
Mr M’membe added, “We never go into this undertaking to enrich ourselves.
Everything that is here is what you yourselves and everybody who have worked here sweated for. This is not a company that was started by rich people with a lot of money, no, this is a company that has been built by humble workers over a quarter of a century.”
“Take this as a temporal set back. There is no struggle without setbacks. We are revolutionaries. We have the patience but we also have the determination and courage. For now, the situation will be what it is but if they think this is victory for them, they will realise that their victory will not last longer than a candle of lasts in a storm. What appears sweet today, will soon turn sour.”
Mr M’membe continued, “Let’s keep the discipline, let’s keep the patience, we will do everything possible within our abilities to ensure that the hardships are minimised for those with hardships. What they don’t know is that we don’t run things the way they run things. You have been aware of everything and every step that has been taken in this company.”
The Post Newspaper Editor in Chief said the Post Newspaper is the country’s most democratically run company because it encourages every staff member to have a say about the running of the company.
“There is no company in this country that holds a staff meeting every month end where every worker participates, where every worker has a voice even government institutions don’t operate like that, even political parties don’t operate like that. We are a democratic organisation with very high levels of accountability,” Mr M’membe said.
He added, “They came here thinking we run companies the way they run them where they just get money and go and buy cars, they go and buy this and that. Why should they make all of you suffer for just hunting one person? I am ready to face the consequences of anything that I have done wrong. If I have done something wrong, I don’t deserve lenience, I deserve to go to prison like everybody else.”
“You as my friends and comrades, the only thing you will owe me is food on Sunday or a book to come and read. We don’t set different standards for ourselves but also it means the same treatment that other people get we should also get it and that is guaranteed to us by the constitution of this country.”
Mr M’membe said what is happening to the Post is pure discrimination.
“What is happening now is discrimination of us on the basis of our editorial policy. On the basis of our political views, our own convictions. Should we sit down our principles for convenience, no comrades, never. Even if it takes a 100 years to fight the battle we are fighting, we will fight the same way and the same tenacity.”
“We are not criminals like them. They had nothing 12 months ago, today they are very rich. They can manage to dress every tree with materials, we don’t have that type of resources and we don’t use resources that way. Whatever has come in here we have reinvested it in this undertaking and it has been equitably shared. Sometimes yes we have contributed to causes that we have believed in especially to the advancement of press freedom.”
He added, “We have gone to help others even when we have had difficulties ourselves. We have made sacrifices to help others who are in more need than ourselves. We are internationalists, we believe in solidarity but we do that not because there is a reward for us anywhere, no. We help others not because tomorrow they will help us. We have fought our battles without anybody fighting with us.”
“We have not troubled even the comrades we have helped that is not too show we shall not appreciate the solidarity of others, we do. So let’s enjoy ourselves, this is our victory. They have thrown their last arrow, we still have a few in our court.”
“It gets dark sometimes but the morning comes. Where there is a crucifixion, there is a resurrection.”