Sam Phiri, one of Rupiah Banda’s permanent secretaries who were arrested for plunder of national resources says the Post newspaper is not being harassed for owing ZRA money but for having had supported late Michael Sata.
According to Lusaka Times, Phiri, who saved briefly as Information and Broadcasting Permanent Secretary in the Rupiah Banda regime said the tragedy facing the Post Newspapers today is self-inflicted.
Phiri said the problem with The Post is not that they owe Zambia Revenue Authority or the Development Bank of Zambia but that the newspaper helped create and sustain the monster which is now feasting on their carcass.
“Prior to 2011, The Post campaigned for and provided logistical and strategic support to what will go down in Zambia’s history as one of the most incompetent, retributive and brutal leadership of Michael Sata,” said Phiri, the man who directed the ‘Stand Up for Zambia’ documentaries’ on ZNBC prior to the 2011 elections.
He said upon taking over government, The Post ensured that their protégées were infiltrated into critical positions of Government from State House, Ministry of Information, Legal Affairs into the foreign service.
“Not less than 10 Post employees went into Government and the Post enjoyed unfettered access to power and Government contracts including the printing and distribution of the draft Constitution,” he said.
“For three years thereafter, The Post sustained Sata’s ruthlessness and the erratic, sarcastic, irascible governance. But then Sata died. One of the last persons to ‘see’ Sata alive in Britain was M’membe. In the political tussles for succession within the PF, The Post sided with Sata’s nephew who lost to Edgar Chagwa Lungu.”
He added, “Then those who were victimised by Sata in the three years of his residence at State House, found a new home within the wings of Edgar Chagwa Lungu. It’s now retribution all over again! This time against The Post. That is the context of the tragedy of The Post.”
Dr Phiri said if late President Sata’s nephew was leader of the PF, The Post could have been home and dry.
“Now pity The Post for having fed the lion which is attempting to swallow them, against all the newspaper’s good sense. They knew what character they were taking into State House and all we see now is the legacy of The Post’s support. The Post were wrong in the past and what is happening to them is wrong.”
Up to 2010, Phiri was working as media programme manager for Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) before accepting a job as PS from his uncle Rupiah Banda, to join the looting.
Just after Rupiah lost power, Phiri was arrested.
Phiri is still facing two counts of abuse of authority and corrupt acquisition of public property though he has now been given a job to lecture Masscomunication students at UNZA – may be in the new module entitled ‘how to plunder national resources when given a chance’.