The Post Newspaper has said that United Party for National Development (UPND) President Hakainde Hichilema’s public apology to the Newspaper is not borne out of genuine contrition, but driven political expedience in the quest for power.
In an editorial published on Sunday, the newspaper however accepted the apology from the UPND President and forgave him.
“We forgive Hakainde and his friends not because we want anything from them. Of course there are all sorts of pledges from him about the need to support The Post. The Post has never survived or thrived on the back of a political party, ” read the editorial.
Below is the full Editorial
On Friday, The Post carried a story of Hakainde Hichilema, the president of opposition UPND, apologising for the insulting statements and abusive actions thrown at the newspaper.
“We have obviously misunderstood them in the past and attacked them unnecessarily and this is regrettable. We want to leave that in the past,” said Hakainde.
We have no problem with Hakainde and the UPND. They are not the first ones to insult and abuse The Post. UNIP did the same in the run-up to the 1991 elections. Successive MMD leaders and governments have done the same. Michael Sata accused The Post of having rigged the 2006 elections in favour of Levy Mwanawasa. The Post sued him for defamation. The most important thing is to try and understand why this has been the case.
Our own and only explanation is that genuine goodness is threatening to those at the opposite end of the moral spectrum. UNIP turned against The Post because it threatened its 27-year hold on power. UNIP felt The Post was supporting the opposition MMD. It didn’t take long for the MMD in power to turn against The Post.
And here, the problem was that the MMD had started to depart from the democratic principles that in the first place made them appear to be on the same side as The Post. Corruption set in. And with corruption, everything went wrong. Corruption fights back and The Post was the target of all corrupt elements in this country.
The problems with the UPND and its current leadership revolved around the regional character of this party and its leadership. The Post has consistently pointed out the dangers of regional and tribal politics and once labelled the UPND a Bantustan party. Despite the facts being there, the leadership of the UPND, instead of addressing their deficiencies, turned their hate on The Post.
And in the run-up to the 2011 elections, the UPND got into an unholy alliance with Rupiah Banda against the Patriotic Front and Michael. And yet not very long ago before this, the UPND leadership had been accusing Rupiah of being corrupt. In that alliance, the UPND had unlimited access to state-owned media coverage and didn’t need The Post.
This got to their heads and they started denouncing The Post at every opportunity they had. And Hakainde made it very clear that he didn’t need Post coverage. But despite this declaration, The Post continued to cover him. But the more The Post continued to cover him, the more Hakainde got virulent in his attack of The Post. He called the editors of The Post all sorts of names and accused them of all sorts of things. They could have decided to take legal action against him, but they let him get away with it.
Briefly, this is where we are coming from. We have no issues with Hakainde and the UPND just as much as we do not have issues with any other politician or political party.
One doesn’t need to share our views, to agree with us or to be our friend to be covered by The Post. It was not us who decided not to cover Hakainde; it was Hakainde himself who decided not to be covered by The Post because at that time, he had the Zambia Daily Mail, Times of Zambia and ZNBC television and radio at his disposal. He doesn’t have these institutions today to cover him and he needs The Post to do so.
We have no difficulties covering Hakainde. Every view that needs to be heard must be heard. We don’t think even his apology is really something that is borne out of genuine contrition. We believe it is a product of political expedience in the quest for power. But who are we to judge and reject his apology? What right do we have to do so?
We forgive Hakainde and his friends not because we want anything from them. Of course there are all sorts of pledges from him about the need to support The Post. The Post has never survived or thrived on the back of a political party.
The Post survives because of the individual support of the Zambian people who every day buy the newspaper and advertise in it. The support from a political party is actually dangerous for The Post because politicians change with power. They are good to The Post when they want coverage from it. But when they get into power and The Post starts to question their policies, decisions and actions; The Post starts to challenge their corruption and abuses, it immediately turns into an enemy that must be undermined, humiliated and if possible annihilated. This is the situation The Post finds itself in today with the current leadership of the Patriotic Front.
It is the same situation it will find itself in with the leadership of the next government, regardless of who wins the next elections. The Post has never been a favour-seeker from politicians or anyone else for that matter. It supports causes that are in line with its principles and opposes those which it finds to be not in the interest of the common good.
There is no politician or political party in this country that can ever claim to have extended a favour to The Post and The Post has taken that favour. The Post has always remained independent, making its own decisions and choices. The mistakes The Post has made, which are many, are its own and not something dictated to it by anyone else.
Today The Post has to bear the brunt of the tyranny of this very corrupt Patriotic Front regime of Edgar Lungu. Again, The Post has not turned to anyone, other than the Zambian people, for help. The Post is there today and will be there tomorrow not because of the support of any political party but because of the Zambian people’s support. This is what matters. This is what counts. And this is what The Post bends to.
The Post covers Edgar Lungu and the Patriotic Front even under these circumstances where they have declared war on the newspaper. Edgar has not hidden his intentions against The Post. He has made them public. He has publicly drawn his battle lines with The Post. But The Post has never surrendered to such threats or hired itself to the powerful, sold itself out to those with deep pockets. It has confronted every difficulty; pressure; and financial, political or other kinds of attacks all by itself without ceding any of its principles.
It has never sought anyone’s protection. And this is the way things are going to continue to be. We have no doubt that regardless of who wins, the government that will emerge out of the August 11 elections will not be very different towards The Post from others before it.
Let everyone who deserves to be heard be heard. Moreover, the right to be heard does not mean the right to be taken seriously. Let the best of our politicians and political parties in the moral sense, political, civic and otherwise, win the August 11 elections.