By Mwape Mbwelela and Elly Musonda

STATE House agent Lewis Mosho, using state police, has planned to completely disturb the operations of The Mast, a newspaper owned by celebrated journalist Dr Fred M’membe’s wife Mutinta.

Apart from his move to take out a small printing press at Dr M’membe’s house where The Mast was being printed, Mosho, the Post Newspapers provisional liquidator, has extended his drive to annihilate the independent newspaper to correspondents.

“What is happening is that Mosho, under the instruction of the high office, is trying as much as possible to extend whatever he started with The Post to The Mast. This is a well-calculated move meant to completely take out this critical newspaper which has been revealing whatever is happening in the government under the boss [Edgar Lungu]. The boss can’t stand criticism; this is the main reason The Post was closed, not taxes at all. Unfortunately, he is taking this fight to this new newspaper which has done nothing wrong,” State House sources have revealed.
“Here is how it was all planned: first, they arrest Fred and his lawyer [Nchima Nchito] to get them out of the Post liquidation case, take out the machine which you guys have been using, then move on to fight The Mast in the name of looking for Post equipment. What they want is to get anything reporters are using – even personal laptops, recorders and whatever equipment.”

A check at Plot 19, Joseph Mwilwa road in Rhodes Park where The Mast newsroom is believed to be operating from saw a number of plain cloth officers and state agents parked within and around the premises, while two walked around in search of The Mast journalists.

After about three hours of waiting, the state agents who were greeted by cameras and high alert journalists drove off when it was clear that the journalists they were looking for did not operate from the alleged house.

Later in the afternoon, Mosho sent four of his agents to Dr M’membe’s house to take out the remaining components of the printing press with a bigger forklift.

Last Saturday, the state agents failed to remove the printing press and promised to return on Monday with an engineer.

But no one went back until yesterday afternoon when they resurfaced with a bigger forklift.

However, the forklift’s prongs were not long enough to take out the machine.

The officers then made several phone calls to their ‘bosses’ and awaited further instructions.

“All these things they are taking out will not even be used. We wonder why our leaders are behaving in such a manner. These officers are tired of being sent to do some of these operations where you even know that it is all out of hate for a person. This is very bad,” said a senior PF official, who phoned to ask what was going on at Dr M’membe’s house.

Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja, Lusaka Province police commissioner Nelson Phiri and spokesperson Esther Katongo were unavailable for comment on the matter as their mobile phones were switched off by press time.