Zambian elections : Lungu shuts down opposition media 

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Authorities in Zambia have closed the country’s main private owned newspaper, a move that has been described as an attempt to stifle the media ahead of elections in August.

Managing editor of the Post newspaper, Joseph Mwenda, said police and tax officials shut down the newspaper’s offices in Lusaka on Tuesday saying the media house is failing to pay taxes.

Mwenda admitted that the newspaper owes about $4.8 million (3.4 billion Malawi kwacha) in unpaid taxes but he maintained that the closure of the paper was illegal since they paid part of the money.

Edgar Lungu

Edgar Lungu accused of issuing the directive.

“This is a clear abuse of power because we have paid some money and we even have a court order stopping them from going ahead but they have disobeyed the courts,” he said. “It’s clear that they want us shut down ahead of the elections.”

The closure left the newspaper’s staff gathered outside the locked building on Wednesday but on Tuesday night they had managed to produce the daily paper with the help of a private printing company.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has condemned the closure of the media house saying it is a deliberate ploy to silence the media.

“The shutting down of one of Zambia’s main independent newspapers in the run up to an election is an affront to media freedom and the authorities should immediately reverse their decision,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for Southern Africa.

The Post, which was established in 1991, has been critical of President Edgar Lungu, who is seeking re-election in the August 11 elections.

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36 Comments

  1. you should gather enough information before you disemit it, it has got nothing to do with the president its the zambia revenue authority(ZRA) which is a body responsible for collecting tax that closed the institution.failing to pay tax is a crime and if you cant pay what do you expect? why look for sympathyzers when you can avoid closure by paying tax on time

  2. Tax invasion is a crime why Malawians .It seems like we only know politics better and that’s the same thing we think about it all the time as if it is the only thing on earth .

  3. Its not the President but Zambia Revenue Authority. This can be don to any company or person who does not pay tax. Just that people will always want to politicise such things especially that the post being a private media are free to write against the government. They have at times written things that would incite violence, but at no time has the President or Government attempt to close them because of such. What has happened to the post happens to many other private companies that find themselves in a situation were they don’t pay taxes. But because this is media the issue is being blown out of proportion. If any thing if the can pay their offices will be append again as long as its within the period given to them. And the post is still there on the market despite this. They still have the licence to operate. What has been held is their property. Where ever they are printing from for now is their baby. Let the government not be implicated at all. In America the owner would actually face an arrest for not paying tax. Its a crime. @ Victor Manda

  4. Verani achimwene omwe awatesekela adali ndi gogole Ku ZRA uko ndi MRA ngongole zananu 53.1miliion kaya uko nizingati malawi kwacha

  5. Bafikala post newspaper isn’t an opposition’s media… Its just private owned ala…. The owner owes the nation a huge amount, he hasn’t been paying tax…. Dig up info before u talk about other countries!!! Thank u