Reacting to ‘Where are our friends during hardships’ which appeared in Daily Nation (27/6/2016; p.11), Daily Nation’s readers have thanked this newspaper and this writer for publishing the stated article.
However, the same readers, like many other Zambians, have made serious observations on a foreign donor paying the stated tax arrears The Post owes Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA).
Most readers supported views that United Party for National Development (UPND)’s leader, Hakainde Hichilema (HH), US embassy, European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) System officials in Zambia shouldn’t blame ZRA for closing The Post Newspapers’ offices for not paying tax on time; but should castigate the stated newspaper for not adhering to tax laws; and thereby negatively affecting the socio-economic living standards of many Zambians.
The readers observed that, although it also creates suspicion and threatens Zambia’s peace and stability, the same Post Newspapers’ sympathisers should just pay K53 million the newspaper owes ZRA so that it can help government put up more socio-economic infrastructure and services for the benefit of all Zambians as is the case in most developed western countries.
Most Zambians have wondered why some western embassies accredited to Zambia are very particular on The Post Newspapers violating tax laws. ‘Should tax law be bent just because an organisation breaching such a law is a newspaper close to HH and some western countries?’ someone asked.
“In United States, for example, do they choose who should pay tax at what time or everyone is supposed to follow tax laws; failure to which one is imprisoned as revealed in Daily Nation (01/07/2016; p.11)?” another Zambian asked.
It has been argued that some western countries perceived to be instigating regime change in Zambia are using ZRA’s closure of The Post Newspaper to catapult their motive for causing political instability and regime change in Zambia.
One of those supporting such a view is a Chingola resident, Jam Ziba who agreed with the same article; especially where it states that government should investigate who this foreign donor is because such a help to The Post Newspapers can create security related issues for Zambia.
Mr Ziba remembers The Post Newspapers’ proprietor, Fred M’membe appearing on Muvi Television arguing that government has closed his newspaper because it doesn’t want the stated paper to expose how the Patriotic Front (PF) government will rig the August 11, 2016 polls. Mr Ziba concluded that such a statement from M’membe attracted public interest related observations from some foreign donors who might have therefrom volunteered to settle The Post Newspapers’ tax debt with ZRA to see what The Post newspaper might reveal after the next polls.
The Chingola resident noted that whether the stated foreign donor gives M’membe conditions for helping him pay the outstanding tax arrears or not, M’membe might want to justify that his newspaper has done what it suspected was the motive for PF government to close the newspaper by writing falsehood about the results of the August 11, 2016 polls; especially if President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and PF win in the stated elections.
Mr Ziba added that even if President Lungu and PF win the forthcoming elections from majority support of Zambians for obvious reasons, M’membe might be incited by such aid to report that President Lungu and PF government connived with Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to rig the stated elections in favour of President Lungu and PF.
It was further observed that such press reports soon after August 11, 2016 poll’s results might plunge Zambia into bloodshed as it happened in some neighbouring countries. The Daily Nation’s reader noted that M’membe and his associates are strategically preparing a fertile ground for The Post Newspaper’s false news reporting against the PF government after the next elections; especially if PF wins the stated elections. He argued that such deliberately planned negative news reports might endanger Zambia’s peace and stability.
And a Lusaka resident, Frank Tembo wondered why HH warned President Lungu to reopen The Post Newspapers’ offices or face unknown consequences (Daily Nation: 26/6/2016; p.1). Mr Tembo was also surprised that security wings haven’t investigated the reported foreign donor who has allegedly volunteered to pay K53 million The Post Newspaper owes ZRA as revealed in Daily Nation(26/6/2016; p.1).
Agreeing with Mr Ziba, Mr Tembo argued that security wings are supposed to investigate such a foreign donor and assess the motive for doing so as such clandestine activities might serious affect Zambia’s peace and stability before and soon after the next elections.
The Daily Nation readers among whom spoke on point of anonymity for fear of some repercussions said the reported foreign donor offering to pay The Post Newspaper’ tax debt to ZRA is worrying because some Western countries have been instigating government regime changes in Africa; adding that already in Zambia, there are collaborative statements from some opposition political leaders and some western embassies accredited to Zambia pointing to not only inciting government regime change but also directed at threatening Zambia’s peace if majority Zambians decide to retain President Lungu and the PF government after the August 11, 2016 elections.
It was stated that Zambians and security wings should note that HH has warned Zambians of Armageddon if PF and ECZ will be perceived having manipulated the forthcoming polls in favour of PF. And The Post Newspaper is perceived as propaganda machinery for HH and some western countries’ falsehood, hatred and hate speeches against President Lungu and the PF government.
However, another Lusaka resident, Enock Nyirenda reacting to HH’s ultimatum to President Lungu to reopen The Post Newspapers or face unknown consequences (Daily Nation:26/6/2016; p.1) argued that nothing can happen against Zambia’s peace and stability because God; The Almighty is in control of everything.
But Mr Tembo wondered what HH, his new friends ‘The Cartel members and some western countries’ officials agreed before one or so donors volunteered to bail out The Post Newspapers on its tax debt with ZRA which most Zambians don’t seem to know.
“Could it be that HH, the Cartel members and some western countries’ officials agreed to privatise more parastatals in an aggressive manner than it was done in the 1990s where thousands of Zambians lost jobs among whom some and their families lost their lives?” Mr Tembo wondered.
It has been argued that while majority Zambians, President Lungu and the PF government have unit of purpose to make Zambia a better place to live in through love, unity and economic prosperity, some presidential candidates, for some reasons best known to them, have conspired with some circles of the press and some western countries’ embassy officials to create political instability in this country which might cause bloodshed and untold misery to children, youths, economically vulnerable women, the aged and the disabled.
As a result, most Zambians have also questioned whose interests HH and some western countries’ embassies accredited to Zambia are serving by supporting an organisation which withholds tax for many years against public interest?
They have argued that hiding in press freedom only in one media house isn’t a moral and legal defence against evading tax obligations which negatively affects socio-economic conditions for many Zambians.
Therefore, from whatever side one looks at it, The Post Newspaper has moral responsibility and legal obligations to serve Zambia’s interest first in its news reporting and in its tax obligations or else it will be ostracised and relevant laws will be applied against it!
Majority Zambians have also express shock and anguish to learn that some US, EU, UN system and some western countries’ officials in general are supporting The Post Newspaper on such immoral and illegal attitude against public interest when the same institutions are helping Zambia in many socio-economic development projects to improve on the living standards of majority Zambians.
Therefore, the honourable thing to do for all those concerned; especially HH who is an aspiring for republican presidency in the next polls is to apologise to Zambians or else their respective images might remain dented in the eyes of many Zambians.
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