By Laura MITI
The drama that has played out around Former Post Editor, Fred M’membe, since President Lungu came to power is eye popping. Just when one thinks the “Flatten Fred M’membe campaign” can get no worse, a new episode plays out.
Now there can be no arguing with the fact that a few years ago, when Fred was at the height of his business having assisted Michael Sata to a previously considered unlikely presidency, a lot of citizens silently prayed for the day he would be brought down.
He was insufferable, Fred was. And untouchable it seemed. It would appear it was at that time that he inexplicably stopped paying taxes. It is those taxes that President Lungu’s administration is using to fix him.
While all that is true, I am very convinced, as are many people are I am sure, that the current Job-like tribulations that Fred is being out through have very little to do with unpaid taxes. We all know that the Times of Zambia and Daily Mail for example, owe not only taxes but all manner of unpaid bills to service providers and staff. No one is going near them.
So we are not dumb much as those in power like to lie to themselves that we are. We can see through Fred’s persecution and reach the conclusion that it is political, vengeful and wrong.
To get at one man, this administration was willing to close down a newspaper that employed hundreds of people. This in a country with our kind of unemployment figures. It is tragic that a political vendetta would be more important than the thousands of people that were affected by the closure of the Post Newspaper. As we all know, in Zambia, one employed person takes care of a network of people some whom they do not even know.
Anyhow, as I see it, President Lungu and his administration are doing to Fred M’membe exactly what he was doing under Sata. Acting like they will always be in power and never have to be made accountable for their actions. It makes the rest of us observers think – ha, one day! Simply, my advice to the President is never use state power to settle personal scores. So enough already. Leave Fred alone. Let him build his Mast. It is an independent voice that is needed in this country. Right now, you are looking like a bully kicking a man when he is down. Not good for your image Sir, not good.