Embattled Newspaper owner Fred M’membe has announced the rebranding of the Post Newspaper to what he is calling the Mast.
The Mast had its first and inaugural publication today.
It has assumed the same brand colours and lay out as the former Post.
Fred M’membe is embroiled in serious charges of tax charges which has seen the station facing possible liquidation.
On Wednesday evening, the last surviving workers of The Post had what they called their last supper.
Below is Fred Mmembe’s New Editorial
THE MAST WE ARE HERE AND HERE FOR A PURPOSE
Sometimes life forces you to take up responsibility you are not ready to shoulder; to become a parent before you are mature. This is the case of The Mast.
This newspaper was supposed to be launched on December 13, the day article 4 of the one party state constitution was repealed in 1990 to pave way for a multiparty political dispensation and a plural society in Zambia.
Even the name of this newspaper was not going to be The Mast, but something else.
We had to make adjustments to everything, including the name, to give solidarity to The Post and its example, its selflessness, its courage, clarity, honesty, integrity and indeed intelligence.
The last quarter of Zambia’s history cannot be written or talked about without mentioning, quoting The Post.
There is no institution over the last two and half decades that has contributed to the governance of this country more than The Post, its editors and staff.
No wonder Fred M’membe, the editor of The Post, is respected worldwide and honoured as a press freedom hero and a recipient of numerous international media and journalism awards.
We have no doubt that the ideas and principles that The Post advanced and defended will continue to live in the hearts of all Zambians of goodwill.
In the midst of political harassment brought about by corruption and other abuses in our country, victimised by an Olympic disinformation campaign and subjected to all sorts of pressure than any other institution in this country, The Post still held on to its founding principles and integrity.
The pressure on The Post has been very high such that even us, its friends, those who admired it the most, were starting to get worried about how long it was going to be able to withstand these attacks, pressures without compromising its principles.
However, despite what happened the evening of Tuesday when a provisional liquidation order was granted to Lewis Mosho, a lawyer who has got so many issues against him and is not, by law, fit to hold the office of liquidator, we were firmly convinced that The Post will emerge victorious from the battle.
The Post staff and its editors seem to have a contagious, enthusiastic belief that this overwhelming period is transitory, like an insolent storm cloud that blots out the light of the sun for a short time.
We spent a bit of time yesterday with Post staff trying to find out what had happened and what the future was.
They talked to us about their boundless confidence in the Zambian people and human beings in general and we were saddened when they spoke of the weaknesses, grudges, envy and ambitions that frequently surrounded many political leaders and have not also spared us in the media.
They reminded us about the importance of fighting for others, saying that one who can’t fight for others will never fight for himself when the time to do so comes.
Their belief in human solidarity, even under these difficult times they are facing, is unbelievable. We were reminded of what Samora Machel said about solidarity: “…It is not an act of charity: it is an act of unity between allies fighting on different terrains toward the same objective. Foremost of these objectives is to aid the development of humanity to the highest level possible.” In the same spirit, we will render this solidarity as taught to us by The Post.
We will continue the work that The Post was doing while introducing and developing our own brand of journalism. One can try to imitate The Post, but it is not easy – The Post is The Post.
We will work very hard to ensure that The Post comes back as soon as possible and take up the space it has carved for itself in our national life. We will be more than happy to struggle to create our own identity.
For now, we will try to, as much as possible, do what The Post had been doing in addition to our own.
When The Post comes back, we will compete with them – of course in the positive sense – because our country needs a plural media. One voice is not enough.
More diverse voices are needed and that’s what a plural media system entails. No one should be left behind in terms of coverage.
But no single news media outlet can cover everything and everyone at the same time and in the same way.
Right now, the media landscape is tilted towards one group and one voice.
Only the voices of those in the ruling Patriotic Front and its government and those, in one way or the other, affiliated to them are heard.
But it is said that to hear one voice clearly, we must be allowed to hear all voices clearly.
The Post tried very hard to achieve this with its highly professional and accurate reporting.
Whatever one reads or hears, one had to wait for The Post to confirm if it’s really true.
Today, that voice has been silenced by a judicial action that should have not been allowed in a more fair and just society.
But this is Zambia! Judiciary decisions are determined by where one stands vis-à-vis those in power.
We asked The Post why they still bother going to court. The response was: do we have a choice? What other options are there?
And in the spirit of solidarity, we urge Post journalists to supply us with stories whenever they can on a basis that is mutually beneficial.
But we must emphasise that as long as we continue to believe that The Post will be back, we will not take any of its staff on a full time basis; nobody will be poached.
If we recruited from The Post right now, that would be betrayal and it will just go to confirm what we were told yesterday when we asked about the betrayals of its former staff: “If Judas could betray the Lord Jesus Christ after being with him for three years, who are we?”
We were also reminded of how Caesar was shocked when he saw that Brutus was part of the group killing him.
We were also reminded of the emotion and meaning behind Caesar’s famous words: “Et tu brute (And you Brutus!).”
It’s a strange way of announcing our birth.
But again, what choices do we have? What alternatives are there for us? What is important is that we are here and here for a purpose.