ZAMBIA: ZAMBIANS NEED PRESS FREEDOM MORE THAN PF, LUSAKA – CATHOLIC PRIEST

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ZAMBIANS are in need of an independent media like The Post more than PF or President Edgar
Lungu, says Catholic Priest Fr Kennedy Chola.
Fr Chola, in a statement, stated that a
democratic country like Zambia cannot be said to be well governed without an independent media.
He stated that media freedom was the backbone of any democracy.
“Firstly, Zambians need the independent media more than the PF and President Edgar Lungu.
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We need the independent media more than the UPND or any other opposition political parties.
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The media is a platform for good governance.
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Any government that fears, intimidates, harasses the media, does not believe in democracy,” Fr Chola, who is currently studying at St Augustine International University in Uganda, stated.
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“What is obtaining on the ground, where the public media is abused, used for the agenda of the ruling party is not democracy. In a free
society where leaders are accountable and responsible to the people, the media should be allowed to operate freely and criticise them
[government]. The conclusion can be that leaders that always want to suppress the private media are hiding something.”
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He stated that the closure of The Post had put Zambia’s democracy on a test. Fr Chola stated that Zambia’s Independence was incomplete
without a free media.
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“Independence was fought so that we can have the freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom of association and many other freedoms. The founders of democracy also worked hard to ensure that media freedom is
championed in Zambia,” he stated.
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“If the closure of The Post is about winning elections, then it defeats the purpose of democracy. If it is taxes, then this is the first time we are seeing an institution closed for
‘failing to pay tax’. The Post is a private institution, which is here to stay. There are better ways of collecting that tax. We ask the
powers that be to allow The Post to start its operations while ZRA engages them on the collection of taxes. Sit down and find the way
forward,” Fr Chola further stated that it was difficult for the Zambians to believe that the government had no hand in the closure of The Post.
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“How will the people believe that it is tax they are after? In the near past, we heard how the President (Lungu) talked about The Post. We also heard how the Minister of Information,
(Chishimba) Kambwili, had threatened The Post.
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So it is difficult for the people to believe that ZRA is after its tax. That is not possible. There are a lot of public institutions that owe ZRA;
have they been closed? Why is there this selection?” he wondered.
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Fr Chola stated that in the interest of justice, The Post must be opened to allow the people access information and judge for themselves.
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He stated that even the manner ZRA had continued to disobey Tax Appeals Tribunal orders had raised many suspicions and questions.
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“It is therefore upon President Lungu to show that he has no hand in the closure of The Post by allowing it to open. President Lungu will be judged by the legacy he will leave and he must be mindful of that. For now, let The Post be opened,” stated Fr Chola

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