THE Patriotic Front (PF) has cautioned sympathiser of the Post Newspaper especially foreign ones such as the US government to first remove the speck out of their eyes before they accuse the Zambian government of alleged stifling of the media.
PF deputy chair of Election Kelvin Fube Bwalya said in a statement that the US government is up to now hunting down whistle blower Ed Snowden for violating American laws including earlier before him, Australian activist William Asange whom they want to be extradited for releasing secret documents online.
“We do not appreciate being patronised by people enjoying our hospitality. It is insulting to our intelligence as hosts that are fully aware of international affairs,” Mr Bwalya said.
Mr Bwalya who is also a prominent Lusaka lawyer said “Ostensibly it is okay for the United States to hunt down Assange and Snowden but not alright for the Zambia government to collect tax from an offender like the owner of the Post newspaper Fred Membe?…what standards is the US setting here.”
He said the case at hand is simple, The Post owes money the government needs to provide services and in some cases save lives.
Mr Bwalya said the money Fred Membe and his newspaper has refused to pay over the years due to some tax holidays is the same money the government is supposed to use to pay public workers such as teachers, policemen, soldiers, nurses and Doctors for their noble services on time.
He said when Mr Membe decides not to pay the money or delays in paying; he is effectively taking money out of the pockets of soldiers, teachers, policemen and nurses.
“It is important to remember that every time civil servants salaries are delayed, it is because Fred Membe and The Post have not paid ZRA 68 billion Kwacha, Mr Bwalya said.”
He said once the Post newspapers pay back the money, they will be allowed to operate freely; Americans should now this because they drag Hollywood stars to court every day for tax crimes.
Mr Bwalya also warned The Post, leave President Lungu out of the tax crime and just pay up.
He said the victims here are poor Zambians and not The Post. The newspaper is nothing but a defaulter. It committed a tax crime that has denied Zambian babies medicine in hospitals and teachers and policemen delayed salaries.