Fred M'membe, second from left, meets with delegates from the International Press Institute (IPI) and the African Media Initiative (AMI) on July 14, 2016 in Lusaka.
Fred M’membe, second from left, meets with delegates from the International Press Institute (IPI) and the African Media Initiative (AMI) on July 14, 2016 in Lusaka.

International media organisations have strongly condemned what they say is an ongoing campaign in Zambia to silence The Post editor Fred M’membe and his newspaper.

On Wednesday, over 20 armed police officers raided the M’membe residence on Nangwenya road in Rhodespark and arrested Dr M’membe’s wife Mutinta.

Police arrived at M’membe’s home with a search warrant at around 5 p.m. and arrested his wife after she argued with officers and tore up a warrant they presented. Witnesses also alleged that police roughed up Mazoka M’membe.

Mutinta was detained for two nights at Lusaka Central Police and released on bail. She is expected to appear in court on March 3rd 2017 for obstructing justice after she tore a search warrant.

The Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Press Institute have also condemned the warrant of arrest for Dr M’membe and his lawyer Nchima Nchito and the raid at the M’membe residence in his absence.
The two media bodies have condemned the arrest of Dr M’membe’s wife Mutinta and the detention of Former Post Managing editor Joan Chirwa for more than hours 27 hours for simply being in M’membe’s home when police raided it.

In separate statements, the two organisations say what is going on in Zambia is an extraordinary campaign of harassment.

International Press Institute Director of Advocacy Steven M. Ellis notes: “It is difficult to see the continuing persecution of Fred M’membe as anything but a politically-motivated attempt to silence criticism of President Edgar Lungu’s ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party and an attack on media freedom in Zambia.”

CPJ contacted Zambia’s Information Minister Kampamba Mulenga this week and held a lengthy discussion.

Ms. Mulenga insisted that this was not a media freedom issue and that President Edgar Lungu’s government was not involved in hounding The Post out of business.

However, CPJ research on the issue has raised several red flags that feed into the perception that those hellbent on victimizing M’membe and The Post are acting as proxies for the government
“It is an extraordinary tale and while the world’s attention is elsewhere, it would appear that a massive injustice is playing out in Lusaka, where the rule of law is subverted.”

Meanwhile, Opposition All People’s Congress Party leader Nason Msoni says the Zambian government has declared lawless assault on the private media and is waging a full scale assault on the independent private media and journalists.

“The mutiny and confiscation of a printing machine from the Mast Newspaper and the recent violent lawless assault and brutal arrest of the wife of Post Newspaper (in liquidation) editor Fred M’membe now confirms our worst fear,” Mr Msoni said.

“The unfolding developments are worrying and pointing to extreme intolerance of a free press and criticism. We think that there is no genuine commitment by the PF government to any measure of freedom of the press and indeed the legislation on the Freedom of information.”

He added, “It is all just a plastic cosmetic political assertion lacking any sense of realism. The bare-face of the ugly scheme to stifle the free press and media freedoms under the disguise of archaic civil litigation has been exposed. By all means this is not a government you can trust with the delicate and fragile process of withdrawing from the international Criminal Court-ICC unless you want to shoot yourselves in the foot.”

Meanwhile, the Mast Newspaper has managed to publish its Sunday edition today, a day after Police confiscated a printing machine suspected to belong to the Post Newspapers which was alleged to be used by the Mast Newspaper.

According to newspaper vendors in Lusaka, the Mast Newspaper has fast established itself as the most selling daily in the capital city with its highly anti-PF headlines.

The Mast edition of Sunday, 19th February 2017
The Mast edition of Sunday, 19th February 2017
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72 COMMENTS

    • Zambia is a failed state. We are just pretending to be a country but we are involved in a sham of a state.

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    • Very fo-olish. Why aren’t they condemning Trump. International nonsense!

      There are consequences to marrying a criminal. Mutinta is smart maybe she married for publicity.

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    • However you spin this. Mmembe’ wife allegedly asaulted a policeman and tore a warrant of arrest.

      The husband concealed assets which some have been found. He has a civil and criminal cases before him.

      How exactly is he or his wife victims here ?

      The money that may have been collected from those taxes he was mandated to have paid could have saved a life through hospital equipment etal.

      Mmembe and his wife are villains. He is playing the media and as Trump says- it’s all fake news.

      Arrest mmembe
      Thanks

      BB2014,16

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    • Now it is very difficult to see the difference between ECL and Mmembe. Both are vengeful and robotic when it comes to destruction of opponents. Now Mmembe is getting public sympathy because the entire government system is playing in his hands. I wonder whether the the Attorney General is genuinely advising govt. What a pity!

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    • Lungu store/rigged elections and he is shielding criminals in government. He fraudlently relased RB from prosecution and Henry Banda freely walks the streets of RSA. Kambwili stole from the people to mention a few then we are targeting those that expose the wrong and we think it’s right. While two wrongs don’t make a right what I am saying is that the law has to be applied equitably. No one should use the instruments of power to settle personal scores. This will catch up with them. Kaunda has been and gone and so have others. Leave the free press alone rather thaw thwart it. You can collect the f.ucking taxes without actually employing muzzling tactics. Dora is now free and corruption is order of the day. State house is the den of misdeeds.

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    • Lets have Times of Zambia and, Zambia Daily Mail pay what is owing to ZRA if this authority has clean hands in the way they approached The Post to collect national revenues! Professionalism in Zambian institutions will not be achieved in the next 100 years should Zambians continue to be sticklers to ignorance acclamation politics!

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    • @nubian Princess
      McCain says free press key to Democracy in response to Trump – The Boston Globe

      No sitting ministe or member of parliament, have come to m’membe’s aid. Maybe fear of the Statehouse And that’s what concerned some of us,

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    • Mmembe said he was going to be in the country in a few days …whats he still doing being a cry baby. I would NEVER sympathise for an arrogant monster like Fred.

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    • I had actually given up on Mushota … I can’t believe I am saying this but she has written the most sensible comment on this matter bar none!!!

      For the first time in my life, I am proud to say she made me proud!!! This is most rational comment I have ever read from her.

      Kudos to you Mushota … your comments here made the smart people of the Zambian Enterprise even more smarter, keep it up and thanks a trillion.

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    • @ ine Wine

      You, supporter of embezzling clown are making disparaging comments about APC?
      Suffering again from genetically induced syphilis, or is it 1mbecility?

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    • M’membe is being crafty and manipulative of the international community. In the USA (assuming that some of these international supporters are from there) the IRS doesn’t play when it comes to collecting taxes. They don’t hesitate to seize anybody’s property or even throw someone in jail, for tax evasion. If M’membe wants to be a true people’s champion, he needs to reckon with his own shortcomings. He needs to pay taxes like everyone else. No one should be above the law. Once he gets that cleared, then a lot more Zambians will be willing to stand up and defend his cause, when he unjustly gets persecuted by Lungu’s corrupt government. But as long as he owes the Zambian people tax revenue, he’ll be perceived as no better than the corrupt government he’s trying to put in check…

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    • (Continued)… Furthermore, the international community supporting him don’t pay taxes to the Zambian government, and will not get affected by Zambia’s lack of funds, when people like M’member are not paying their fair share of taxes. Instead, it’ll be the Zambian people who will suffer when the national coffers go dry. Let the international community supporting M’member offer to settle his tax debt, then we will believe that they’re really concerned about freedom of the press in Zambia.

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    • Yes Mr Trump is threatening the CNN and other news outlets, Malawi has closed a private newspaper, Tanzania is detaining an online newspaper owner, Kenya and Uganda have blocked the internet. I haven’t heard this fictitious body say anything about these. Then again the case against Mutinta is straight coward ..she tore a government order. Anyway this purported report could be Mmembe ‘s creation in this age of “fake news “

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    • LET MMEMBE GO TO THESE SYMPATHISER’S COUNTRIES AND THEY WILL SOON SEE THE TRUE COLOURS OF MMEMBE THE HYPOCRITE AND CRIMINAL.
      HH IS ANOTHER HYPOCRITE.

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    • This is a bunch of small boys who dont even know how a country is run. Let them start by condemning Trump. Are they saying evading tax, not remitting employees’ contributions to NAPSA, and trying to run away from a $20m debt are not criminal activities? Natulole ukutali!!!

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    • Chaona Mzako chapita…Maba chili pa iwe Today it’s Membe, before you know it, it’s on you.
      Every normal person can see this is all about silencing the free media.
      How many companies owe taxes in Zambia? And how many are being treated in this way?
      Remember not so long ago Muvie Tv and some independent thinking radio stations were shut down on flimsy grounds.
      Membe may not be an angel but the government in certainly over exerting itself and stinks of vindictiveness.

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    • Calling for National prayers every now and then and meanwhile you are vindictive to the core!
      Gods name cannot be called upon in vanity, the National prayers are a waste of time if the political authorities are being brutal and corrupt.
      Either the prayers are designed to deceive the people or the people are deceiving themselves.
      I know for sure God will not condone this kind of governance.
      True humility is what God desires. You cannot deceive God. REMEMBER KA FTJ.

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    • Thumbs up Mushota, I also suport you today, Meembe can not divert Zambia’s judicial effort from corruption and theft caused by people like him, by standing next to the New World Order machinery, I mean IPI & AMI, these are just colonial oppressors who will never get tired in perusing the New World Order (NWO) agenda by trying to promote media freedom even when the so called media is only promoting their secrete agendas, we say no to this kind of deception, stand up Zambians, Meembe is part of the secrete societies pushing the Luciferian agenda, so is HH. There is nothing like media freedom, these IPI and AMI are NWO machinery, they just want to control nations and prepare the throne for the antichrist to rule our planet, therefore they must be resisted at all cost.this battle is not only…

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  1. Mmembe run Zambian airways to the ground, owes development bank of Zambia money, owes the Zambia revenue authority taxes from way back then. Yet a fraction of Zambians are supporting someone that stole their hard earned tax revenue. Some Zambians are funny.

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    • The irony is that most of the ones supporting that crook are the ones he referred to as bantustan not very long ago. They have forgotten how Membe rejoiced when their cadres were whipped by police when they tried to stage a demonstration against the appointment of Mutembo Nchito as DPP. Seems some parties simply dont have any red lines or guiding principles and their leaders would pimp out their mothers in order to get to state house.

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    • nzelu yes he may have done that but right now we have cases with ACC what are they doing about it, kambwili has used so much money from the coffers, dora has cases still in court nchito stole now he has a new passport how many investigations have just died quietly away and someone who exposes the happenings of a corrupt government is treated like a big criminal, come on where is justice in our country. ministers were ordered to pay back money, have they? WE CANNOT HAVE TWO LAWS.

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    • @ Nzelu

      What about US$ 9 BILLION not accounted for? Shall we put that one also on M’membe account? What about your favorite corrupt RB and his Indian partners getting illegal ZDA incentives?
      Do yourself a favor, stop sucking and licking.

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  2. Ok, so maybe i’m missing something but it looks to me as a massive attack on the pen by the sword.

    Well, I know that the pen indeed is mightier than the sword because thinking and writing has more influence on people than the use of force or violence. Looking beyond events, the writer is the one more likely to emerge victorious, provided he is able to pick up his broken pieces and start all over again.

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    • In this case the holder of the sword is the one that once held the pen. Therefore the pen holder is the humble one at Mfuwe lodge.

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    • @ kubweka, I agree with you. There a lot of known corrupt Cabinet Ministers who have accumulated wealth in the shortest possible time, they are corrupt and Lungu knows them but he won’t do anything to them because he is using them to work against others. He allows ACC to act only on those who have fallen from his favour like Kambwili although even him maybe he has feared the people or Kambwili has no case. Latest case is the Dora Malawi scandal you will see whether ACC will do anything. Truth is Lungu is applying the law very selectively and this is not good for the Country

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  3. It is very clear from the on-set that,this is a battle the PF govt.will NEVER WIN!!! This is why leader-ship requires a big measure of wisdom.Certain battles, as a sitting govt.are not worthy engaging into.The leader-ship should have really found a wiser and amicable way of dealing with this issue from the start.

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    • Do you call what has remained of it ‘PF’, I don’t think so. this is an alliance of RB and Lungu. And you know well that RB stands for corruption more than anything and he is incharge. These kinds of corruption will be here with us for the rest of this 5 year tenure. You are yet to see more because RB’s and his sons mission is to make money, not forgettingi Dola Slit

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  4. How many Companies in Zambia owe ZRA and are still operating? Take the mines for example, are they all up to date with their tax obligations. The best would have been ZRA having a payment plan on the reconciled money The Post was owing them and not shutting down the operations. From a neutral point, this whole saga points to a political fight and nothing to do with The Post owing ZRA.

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  5. What exactly is going on here, in terms of the story or call it the issue? Membe is out the country. His home is searched in his absence. The wife tears a search warrant. She is detained, first denied bail, then granted one. The media refers to the liquidator of the Post Newspaper in unbecoming terms. But then, the Maize Gate Scandal was first revealed by the Mast News Paper, with a sequel of a burning Ministry of Agriculture. Is this the wrath of Khan?

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  6. Our memories for us Zambians are dangerously short that we can not remember much, we live only for that day. There has been chronicles of the path that has been followed by the so called champions of democracy. But all this falls on our short memories. Hence the confusion arising from this issue. Records are their for all to read and interpreter, but people choose populism and sensationalism, from the ” Maker and breaker” of Heads of state of the Republic of Zambia. They choose instead to hear what they want to hear. The case of Mmembe has been there even before Levy (MHSRIP). Sata came, Just hear what Kabimba has to say today. The cartel etc. Now Lungu is branded” visionless” and they continue to insult him on account that he decided not to entertain the cartel. Magande nearly gave…

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    • What exactly is wrong with making or building leaders? Some people wouldn’t be leaders today if it wasn’t for the courage of the Post to write the truth about KK. The most likely successor to KK was either, Panji, Wezi or Tilyenji. Dictatorships thrive on muzzling of the free press, intimidation of political opponents and brutality by the security personnel. Let people decide for themselves whether what they read is true or not. That is Democracy.

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  7. It was an error to arrest Mutinta! As much as Fred is an embezzellar of DBZ and Zambian airways, arresting the wife only makes them false martyrs! A miscalculation!

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    • The search warrant was for the husband, but in blatant disregard of the law ans enforcement agents she got the warrant and tore it. That is what got her into trouble, and not for the sins of the ” Great Freedom of press man”.

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  8. Not even Lungu’s mentors Mugabe & Museveni suppress independent media like the way LUNGU does.

    Why use secret service, police in a civil matter? Bankruptcy is NOT a criminal offense but a civil matter.

    Even Donald Trump has been bankrupt over 5 times but not once was he charged like a criminal.

    Harrassing Mmembe of free press will backfire on your face. Remember when FTJ incarcerated Mmembe? Today he’s well remembered as someone who died as a disgraced thief.

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  9. The ignorant ones DECEIVE themselves that the tax paid in this country is put to good use. That is why they mislead themselves that the tax the Post was supposed to pay was going to save a life. Look, I know common sense is not at all common but you don’t close a company if they have tax arrears. How come only one company the whole Zambia has been closed due to tax arrears. If we can’t think, let us at least pretend we are thinking

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    • In actual fact, ZRA is not interested in collecting tax from Zambian companies.It’s too complicated a process for them.All PF briefcase businessmen receive thousands of kwacha in payments from government departments without paying a dime in tax. ZRA is only able to collect money at boarder crossings, the mines, Zambia breweries and a few other unlucky companies that have a culture of paying tax with roots in countries where tax authorities do their job. ZRA can only be used by gov as an excuse to eliminate political competition.

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    • I hear you, Margie! Yours is a fresh breath of air on this whole “debate”. Could anyone please educate me: Is it possible, or even likely, that the ZRA will ever collect the tax arrears owed by the Times of Zambia, the Zambia Daily Mail, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation, etc., if this whole matter is strictly about pursuing tax revenues owed to the Zambian citizenry and nothing else?

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  10. Things don’t look.look good in Zambia..we are now seen in the same light as Zimbabwe and Uganda. This is very embarrassing. Pf have messed up everything. I swear lungu chipuba. He is a mad dog that needs to be tamed. I am now getting calls from my friends in the international community asking me what is going on in zed. Ah god help us

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    • What exactly are those guys in the international community asking you?you’re simply exaggerating things.We are in lusaka and things are calm and peaceful.Mmembe must simply pay taxes,and his wife tore a legal document in full view of the press..try evading taxes in developed worlds and see if you will see the light of another day,worse still try tearing up legal documents and see how free you’ll become.Mmembe has found his match and let him and all of you supporting him go to hell!!Ask HH and GBM to pay for him,they are rich aren’t they?maybe you can pay on his behalf…kikikikiki !! grow a pair and insult ECL on FB and see where it’ll take you.Chipuba ndimwe vi UPND with your satanist S.O.B leader!

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  11. ONE WONDERS WHETHER ALL THE RADIO STATIONS , TV STATIONS, NEWS PAPERS, ON-LINE MEDIA IN ZAMBIA ARE ALL SO USELESS TO SUCH AN EXTENT THAT WHEN THE POST CLOSES THEN ALL THE MEDIA IN ZAMBIA COLLAPSES. IT ALSO PAINTS A VERY BAD PICTURE ON THE SO CALLED MEDIA BODIES. WHAT ARE THEY DOING ABOUT THE TAX AVOIDANCE BY M’MEMBE AND IMPUNITY THAT HE HAS EXHIBITED OVER THE YEARS? HAVE THEY TRIED TO HELP HIM PAY THE TAXES OR EVEN ADVISE HIM. NOT ALWAYS RUNNING TO MEDIA FREEDOM AT THE EXTENT OF CLEAR BLATANT DEPARTURE FROM THE LAW. SOME FOOLISH COMMENTS THAT “EVERYONE IS NOT PAYING TAXES THEREFORE LET M’MEMBE SCOT FREE” ARE CHILDISH, AND SHOULD NEVER BE ENTERTAINED. WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT M’MEMBE AND HIS FAMILY THAT HE SHOULD BE TREATED WITH KIDS GLOVES? THE WIFE WAS TREATED ALMOST AS A QUEEN…

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    • Good netiquette involves writing in well capitalised letters according rules of grammar . I am sure your own handwriting must be very bad hence your opting to write in all caps

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  12. Aah, so there are Donkeys among “international” journalists too? And who does ICJ represent, CNN, BBC? If not then they are all donkeys, just a different colour and nationality but same as UPNDonkeys in thinking or rather a lack of thinking. Lets get on with our business as a country including arresting all law breakers, regardless of whether you are Mrs Mmembe or his concubine, or worse than that, UPNDonkey Chilyata may have the correct terms.

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    • Kikiki now you call international community donkeys and docile. Look how phucked up you look by the hour.

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    • @terrible, Get out of your “donkey” mindset for once and get a dose of reality.
      You may want to start using your brain and feed your self some common sense.

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  13. So Fred was pressing paper from his backyard and selling it…really laughable …yet he claims he is not charge of the company its his fooolish wife. We are tired of Mmembe trickery and arrogance only the docile can sympathise with him…UPND have again fallen for the trick as they are always on the wrong page.

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    • Post and Fred mistreated themselves. He was asked to comply with a plan on how he was going to settle that huge bill without time limit but the full sued the tax man and suprem court ruled that post should pay without fail. That’s where the problems started. Pf with their corruptness helped reduced the bill from govt cofas. Immediately after he received the cash he started publishing in mockery that govt is broke. And cretins here are busy supporting him.

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  14. A worried and insecure little clique passing itself off as a government. Perhaps we need to just let RB and his family and the “vested interests” he alluded to on Wikileaks just continue freely stealing all the money, maybe then they will allow the country to slowly move forward (at a pace dictated, and bled off at every opportunity, by them)

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  15. B R Mumba, Sr shame on you. Mmembe calls them cowards. The whole Zambian machinery knew that he was out of the country and that is when they decided to strike. The charge on Mmembe is impersonating as Post employee?
    How did impersonating lead to searching and eventually collecting of machines? Just such smart Lungu and not smart Zambian. A smart Zambian like me can’t behave that way. So what has your smart Lungu achieved? Why all the police and intelligence officers from the OP?

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  16. So the government didn’t know that Mmwembe was aboard or they deliberately went their knowing he was away. Mmwembe was wrong not to pay the tax but I don’t support they way the government got involved into this matter. Where is the judicial system.

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  17. The headline seems to have been done by a rookie from secondary school just learning journalism:
    International media bodies condemn attacks of M’membe and the wife-!!!!!!!
    “Media Bodies condemn attacks on M’membe and wife” thats how a professional would say.

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  18. Unfair to gov’t. These “International media organisations” should support Tax Laws. Every gov’t must collect tax due, its been going on a long time to be fair. Hope its resolved very soon.

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  19. @ Margaret, I concur with you. Chances are that even the tax evaded by M’membe would have been embezzled by these crooked politicians. And honestly how many companies have tax arrears in Zambian. It is clear this is a personal vendetta, a hot pursuit of M’membe and nothing more. ECL even declared that ‘The Battle Lines Have Been Drawn’ and he is now falling on his perceived enemies like a tonne of bricks.

    Much as I strongly condemn with utter disgust, the evasion of tax, corruption or stealing and plunder of national resources or even personal resources, I am a strong advocate of justice for all (equal justice!)

    This is not a battle of tax evaded. No! It is a fight of completely finishing M’membe and all he has a hand on. No wonder it is even going to ‘The Mast’ and Mutinta…

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  20. Ba LT background isn’t supposed to interfere with the story. It should be put at the end not at the beginning like you are doing. First, finish breaking the story as is promised by your headline then give us the BG

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