PLEASE stay away from Dr Fred M’membe and The Mast newspaper, chief Chikanta of Southern Province has told President Edgar Lungu.
Chief Chikanta of Kalomo who is also chairperson of the Southern Province Royal Foundation appealed to government agencies not to be dragged into the hate campaign that President Lungu and his PF had mounted against Dr M’membe, his wife Mutinta and State Counsel Nchima Nchito.
“I would like to humbly appeal to President Lungu to stay away from Dr M’membe, The Mast, State Counsel Nchito and Mazoka’s daughter Mutinta. Please stay away from them,” chief Chikanta said.
State agents have issued an arrest warrant against Dr M’membe for alleged personation after he challenged the liquidation of Post Newspapers Limited which he founded.
Sources have disclosed that State House, using Lewis Mosho, will go to great lengths to keep Dr M’membe and Nchito away from the Post matter.
Over a week, state police raided Dr M’membe’s house, stopped the printing of The Mast and later arrested Mutinta for questioning their presence at the private property.
She was given bail by the magistrates’ court two days later after police denied her bond on a charge of obstruction.
Mutinta is also in court for contempt of court after she allegedly tore a search warrant the day police raided her home.
Mosho and his agents then turned on the Dr M’membe’s personal speedboat which they took away and printing press.
Small components of the machine have been taken away, leaving behind the bigger parts which the state agents have failed to remove after three attempts.
The Saturday operation saw the state agents almost fighting amongst themselves after some of them suggested that they abandon the mission because it was impossible to haul the printing press.
The fight has now been extended to Mast correspondents whom the state agents are trying to locate.
They visited the place which was believed to be used as the newspaper’s newsroom in Rhodespark area on Friday morning but left after three hours when it became apparent that the correspondents were not operating from the area.
Commenting on the events, chief Chikanta said traditional leaders were always saddened to see Zambians being harassed using state machinery over issues that could best be mediated through the courts of law.
“We have the judiciary and these are institutions that are supposed to implement the Laws of Zambia. Government on the other hand is supposed to be seen to protect Zambians,” chief Chikanta said.
He added that oppressing independent media was not good for the nation and advised President Lungu to be in the forefront of promoting press freedom.
“Don’t oppress the media; allow free press so that the people can trust you. The Mast is a legal newspaper being printed under Oracle Media which is fully registered, so why try to close it? Why try to shut it down? Please help us to bring peace and unity in the nation,” said chief Chikanta .
“We have always warned that we will speak against any political leader who takes to vengeance once in power. We warned the opposition before the August elections not to turn to vengeance if they won the elections and our message hasn’t changed.”
On Saturday, chief Mukuni of the Toka Leya people of Kazungula and Livingstone told President Lungu to stop hunting what he cannot kill because he risks injuring himself in the process.
We know that Lungu is uncomfortable with Dr M’membe, The Post and The Mast. He doesn’t want any platform that will criticise his government. Now he is going for the kill; he is saying ‘if I don’t finish them, they will come for me’. However, my advice is that one should never go hunting for something they can’t kill, he will injure himself in the process. Zambians cannot be killed by one person,” said Mukuni. /SM/JC