Zambians will regret Post closure – Mtayachalo.
YOTAM Mtayachalo has warned that Zambians will pay heavily for allowing President Edgar Lungu to shut down The Post which is the pride of Zambia’s democracy.
Mtayachalo, the FDD chairperson for energy, said President Lungu was determined to go down the country’s history as a leader who was against independent press.
He said everyone could now see that the closure of The Post was not about taxes but a repressive attempt to silence the critical news media outlet that had contributed to the shaping of the country’s democracy for 25 years.
“We have heard time and again the determination and commitment of The Post management to reconcile and settle any outstanding taxes with ZRA, just like any other company does but because of politics, no one is listening to that critical aspect. They just want the company closed. This is sad for democracy and we will live to regret as Zambians. We will pay heavily for this one day,” Mtayachalo warned.
He said without a free and vibrant media, there could be no democracy or meaningful economic development to talk about.
“That’s why The Mast that has emerged after the elimination of The Post by the government must be encouraged and supported by all well meaning Zambians. The very PF that was determined to kill The Post will need coverage one day. They should not think they will be in government forever. I remember when we were in the MMD government, we used to despise The Post. When we were removed from government, The Post became our critical medium of communication,” Mtayachalo said.
He said he was extremely concerned about the plight of Post employees, who were now languishing on the streets because of the irresponsible acts of President Lungu’s government.
“Many Zambians were relying on The Post for their economic survival. The paper employed both direct and indirect workers. And this PF is not even concerned about their [Post employees’] families. It is shameful that President Lungu’s government is determined to go down in the history books of this country as a leadership that closed this critical media, The Post. It is embarrassing for the PF that they could be so shameless. And unfortunately, everybody is just watching. We will regret as a nation,” said Mtayachalo.
On June 21, the government, through the Zambia Revenue Authority, closed down The Post offices on Bwinjimfumu Road and its printing facility in the light industrial area on the pretext of tax collection, amounts which are disputed.
The newspaper obtained orders from the High Court and the Tax Appeals Tribunal against the ZRA’s decision to seize its property, but both were ignored by the revenue body.
The government has now moved, using its allies, to try to place the newspaper under liquidation. The Post has applied for a stay against the liquidation, with the matter coming up for hearing on December 5.