By Nation Reporter
THE United States believes that Post Newspaper proprietor Fred M’membe, his wife Mutinta and deputy managing editor Joseph Mwenda were beaten by the police on the day the trio were arrested.
US Department of State Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield said yesterday that the alleged beating of the trio was a direct assault on the freedom of the press in Zambia.
She also said the closure of the Post Newspaper over evading of tax by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) was of deep concern.
Ms. Greenfield urged Government to facilitate its reopening in order for the institution to start paying back the debt.
She said Zambia’s reputation was on the line as the country went to the polls, adding that there was need for the country to hold free, transparent and credible elections.
Ms. Greenfield also said it was important for political party leaders to guard against the usage of unpalatable language towards one another.
“The August 11 elections matter to the United States government, the region, international community as well as the Zambian people. Zambia has built itself a democratic tradition that should be jealously and courageously guarded.
‘‘Zambia’s reputation is on the line during this pre-election period and on August 11. The August 11 elections must be free, transparent and credible.
“Our candidates for the August 11 elections are the Zambian people and democracy. The Zambian people must be able to freely choose the candidate of their choice on August 11, without pressure, fear, intimidation, or coercion.” Ms. Greenfield said.