By Bright Chikele…
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu last week summoned senior intelligence officers to a meeting at State House where he lambasted them for failing to provide him with accurate information on how The Post newspaper has continued to publish despite ZRA shutting down its printing presses and seizing editorial offices.
Impeccable Office of the President sources disclosed that President Lungu feared that the intelligence wing was working with the opposition UPND.
The sources said President Lungu called the intelligence officers worse fools than Post editor-in-chief Fred M’membe who had outsmarted them.
“You have put us under serious pressure now with this Post, the President is not sleeping now because he was sure that the newspaper would not continue [publishing]. But now this has put us in problems.
From front page The President called us at State House and told us that he was better off without an intelligence wing because no one knows where The Post is being printed,” sources said.
“He is so angry with this. He said ‘how can one person outthink all of you? What are you paid for? This is the same as not having the intelligence [wing]. You are worse fools. If you think when HH comes to power he will give you jobs, you are lying to yourselves’,” the sources quoted Lungu as saying.
The sources said President Lungu was angry because the OP’s failure to get accurate information on the operations of The Post was an insult to his presidency and vowed to take it upon himself to protect his integrity.
“Nangu balande ifyo balefwaya abakumbi (no matter what the international community says), I will still protect the integrity of my presidency, if you who are paid for that do not want to do so’,” sources quoted President Lungu as saying.
The intelligence sources disclosed that President Lungu instructed his advisors to immediately find ways of directly dealing with key managers at The Post and find out where the newspaper was conducting its operations.
“The President is under pressure from the donors over The Post closure, but he doesn’t care about them. He has actually told State House advisors to join in and get the key people [at The Post] to disclose how the newspaper is conducting its operations and who is helping,” the intelligence sources said.
And the intelligence sources said President Lungu was giving them strange assignments.
“It’s very hard to work under President Lungu, he is giving strange assignments and everyone is not sure how to handle some of the assignments that he gives. Of course he will do anything to win the elections, but some of the assignments are really strange and the traditional rituals that he involves himself in are shocking for a Head of State,” said the sources.
“But everyone is afraid to talk. We are just watching. He has even gone to the extent of allowing the police to allow PF cadres to use their uniform for operations. Some of those police officers you see harass you and UPND are actually PF cadres in police uniform. If you wish, you can go to Chawama police station and check the names of police officers there if they are employed by government. And also ask the Lusaka Division police commissioner if he knows all the officers in uniform. Ask him if he can tell you the name of the police officer who threw a tear gas canister at your offices.”