Post newspaper Proprietor Fred Mmembe and Reporter Mukosha Funga have been remanded in cells pending ruling on a bail application made by their lawyers.
This followed an objection by the state, which argued tgat the matter was triable by the high court and was only before the magistrate court for mention.
In response, counsel for the defendant noted thhat the state’s objection had nothing to do with the accused’s conduct (or likely conduct).
Further, counsel stated that the reasoning behind the clause under which the accused were charged (and presented before court at the earliest practicable time)was for them to be able to make such applications.
Magistrate Chitalu has since adjourned the matter to tomorrow, Friday July 17, 2015 at 09:00 for ruling on the bail application in order for him to research on the matter.
Mmembe was a close ally of late President Michael Sata and contributed emersely to the PF victory in 2011
But with the coming in of former president Ripuah Banda as co-PF president after the death of Sata, the tables have since turned as Lungu is quick to sideline those that brought Sata into power,to embraces the same people Sata fought for 10 years such as Dora Siliya.
Meanwhile, the opposition FDD has condemned the arrest of M’membe.
The FDD issued the following statement:
Press Statement For Immediate Release.
As the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) we wish to strongly condemn the arrest of Mr. Fred M’membe, the Post Editor-in-Chief and reporter Mukosha Funga over the letter that the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) Director Rosewin Wandi wrote to President Edgar Lungu, notifying him that they were investigating his Political Advisor, Kaizer Zulu for Corruption.
The action by the Police is a desperate and discreditable attempt by President Edgar Lungu and his Government to muzzle the Post Newspapers and silence anyone who dares expose the rot that is going on in this Government.
Why should a letter about an ordinary employee of Government be classified as a State Secret? Why should Kaizer Zulu, a mere employee of Government who is being paid by taxpayers’ money be treated as a demi-god who is not amenable to anyone? Why is Edgar Lungu shielding Kaizer Zulu, a simple state employee from public scrutiny?
On May 22, 2015, the Daily Nation Newspapers exclusively carried a story quoting Ms. Wandi’s second letter to President Edgar Lungu, under the headline: ACC Clears Kaizer Zulu; Why haven’t the Police arrested and charged Mr. Richard Sakala and the Daily Nation reporter for allegedly breaching section 35 of the State Security Act? Does it mean that Section 35 only applies to the Post Newspapers? Why are the Police exhibiting such deplorable double standards? This a clear case of witch hunting!
Intimidations, arrests, even killings will never cow the people from holding public officials accountable. This is a democracy and transparency and accountability are key tenets of any democratic society.
Instead of waisting time and government resources chasing after the Post Newspapers, Honourable Edgar Lungu should for once take his job of serving the people of Zambia seriously. He should focus on fixing the economy;ending load shedding; arresting the free fall of the Kwacha; reducing fuel prices, lowering the cost of living, opening of the Copperbelt University and fixing our healthcare system.