By: Bright Chikele..
HAKAINDE Hichilema has given President Edgar Lungu a 10 day ultimatum to reopen The Post newspaper which was closed by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) for the non-payment of K53 million tax debt or face unknown consequences.
And Mr Hichilema has promised that should he be elected republican president after the August general elections, courtesy of Zambians, his first task would be to reopen mines that had been closed.
He pledged that all the miners who had found themselves unemployed as a result of the closure of the mines would be re-employed as soon as the UPND formed government.
Addressing a rally in Luanshya yesterday, Mr Hichilema, the UPND presidential candidate said the Patriotic Front (PF) Government and President Lungu had closed The Post newspaper and should, therefore, reopen the tabloid within 10 days.
Mr Hichilema claimed President Lungu closed The Post newspaper in an attempt to stop the newspaper from exposing the alleged theft activities of the Head of State and other government officials.
He accused President Lungu of having orchestrated the closure of The Post newspaper and demanded that the Head of State should within the next 10 days reopen the newspaper so that it could continue with its operations.
“The Post newspaper is a major employer of people, both directly and indirectly. At a time when Zambia needs to create jobs more than ever before, President Lungu’s actions once again go against the needs of our country. This action also sends a terrible signal to the business community and will further put them off investing in our country when that is what we so desperately need to create the jobs,” Mr Hichilema said.
Mr Hichilema said the ZRA action to shut The Post newspaper for failing to settle the K53 million tax debts was unjustifiable in a democratic society.
The UPND leader accused President Lungu of having resorted to the tactics of oppression instead of telling Zambians policies he said would improve the lives of citizens.
He said The Post newspaper represented one of the last beacons of democracy in Zambia which he claimed had been economically broken by the poor leadership.
Mr Hichilema said the closure of The Post newspaper had denied Zambians from holding those in leadership accountable and exposing corruption scandals of those who were in government.
And Mr Hichilema has denied having privatised the mines on the Copperbelt declaring that the accusations were a lie meant to scandalise his aspirations to lead Zambia.
Mr Hichilema said if it had been proved that he had personally privatised the Mines on the Copperbelt, he would have been arrested and jailed a long time ago.