ZAMBIA: WE’LL KEEP PUBLISHING THE POST – M’MEMBE

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By Bright Chikele
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POST editor-in-chief Fred M’membe says the newspaper will continue publishing despite having the newsroom and other operation offices locked up under police guard.
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Speaking on BBC’s Focus on Africa programme , M’membe said there was no law
which the newspaper was breaking by continuing to be in circulation despite the seizure of its offices by the Zambia Revenue Authority.
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“Yes, we are coming out tomorrow. The order does not stop us from coming out. They have seized our printing facilities, they have seized our editorial offices and they have even garnished our bank accounts. But there is no law that stops us from publishing so we are coming out tomorrow. A newspaper is not buildings, it’s not printing presses, it is not computers. A newspaper is an intellectual property. With or without those things, we will still be able to come out and we will come out for as long as it takes,” M’membe said.
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“We have our own personal computers, there are many printing presses in the region where we can print. There’s no order against what we are doing, we are not defying an order. There’s no order stopping us from publishing. There isn’t any order that we are defying.”
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He insisted that government’s intention was to close the newspaper.
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“Their intention is to close the newspaper, they have had this intention for a long time. It’s not tax collection they are after, it is closing the newspaper. If a tax collector is after collecting taxes, there is no way they would rush to stop a printing press from running, switch it off and close the printing plant. Lock up the editorial offices, that means they simply didn’t want the publication to come out, it’s not tax collection,” M’membe said.
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“It’s politics, they do not want The Post to continue publishing and expose their criminality. This is a corrupt regime that is highly intolerant and it can be witnessed from the high levels of political violence in the country that the country has never seen. They are intolerant of any opposition, they have monopolised all the state owned media, they are being covered to the exclusion of all
others.”
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He said The Post had never refused to pay taxes.
They have the right to collect taxes, nobody disputes that. And we have been taxpayers for the last 25 years. This is not a new business, it is a company that has existed for 25 years paying taxes. Even right now we are among the highest taxpayers in Zambia among the Zambian tax payers,” M’membe said.
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And M’membe said silencing critics is a wrong way to survive.
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“They have to survive but it’s a wrong way to survive because Zambians are not known to like violence. They are not known to like such high levels of intolerance, and violence begets
violence. As the corrupt become more and more challenged, they resort to more and more violence, they have to defend their corruption. How else can they defend it if it’s not through intolerance on those who challenge them?” asked M’membe.
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“It’s not one specific story, The Post publishes many stories dealing with corruption, abuses of power, intolerance and so on and so forth. So it is a general dislike for The Post and they had made up their decisions way back last year that they should, at all cost, close The Post. Even if the international community and other pressure groups come up, they will just ignore them. They made up those decisions and we published the stories

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