UPND president Hakainde Hichilema says Zambians must give The Post unconditional support and appreciation because the job the newspaper does for everybody is too important to be trivialised by political differences.
And in his letter to Post editor-in-chief Fred M’membe, Hichilema said he took responsibility for all the insulting statements and abusive actions thrown at the newspaper.
Addressing some party officials and supporters in Choma yesterday, Hichilema apologised and said he would pay a courtesy call on the newspaper when he returns to Lusaka as a gesture of his solidarity.
“People of Zambia must give The Post Newspaper unconditional support and appreciation because the job that they are doing for everybody is too important to be trivialised by political differences,” Hichilema said.
“We have obviously misunderstood them in the past and attacked them unnecessary and this is regrettable. We want to live that in the past. We need to open a new page, all of us people of Zambia, UPND included and myself. We need to look forward with The Post. What is important now is to give The Post our unconditional support, and personally, I will visit the newspaper with my colleagues when we return to Lusaka to give our friends the solidarity they deserve from all of us.”
Hichilema said The Post must not give in to the desire by the government to shut its operations because it was the only media house providing the opposition a meaningful platform to be heard.
“The statement from Chishimba Kambwili that government owns ZNBC and all the other public media tells you why the PF think no one can remove them from power. This is because they have given directives to the people they employ in public media institutions that they should never cover the opposition,” Hichilema said.
“That is why this government wants to completely silence The Post Newspaper, which is providing us the only platform to be heard. The Post has endured harassment from state agencies, including the Zambia Revenue Authority and the police, while several of the newspaper’s hard-working journalists are appearing in court facing frivolous charges.”
Hichilema condemned the harassment and beating up of Chipata-based Post journalist Peter Sukwa.
“While this is happening, police are watching as PF cadres continue beating Post journalists, this is a case of Peter Sukwa in Chipata. PF cadres urinated in his mouth, as we are told and reported in the media, and they also wanted to burn him alive. What a cruel regime!” exclaimed Hichilema.
Meanwhile, in his apology letter to M’membe, Hichilema said he regretted the embarrassment that he caused his family.
“Over time, it is clear at least from my view that the relationship between you and I has been strained. This in someway and at times can also be said to be the case between the United Party for National Development and The Post Newspapers Limited,” Hichilema stated.
“In recognition of the above and in our desire to correct this situation, we state as follows: I take responsibility for those statements and actions which offended you, your family and The Post. I tender my apology to you, family and The Post for the statements and actions.”
He offered his solidarity to the newspaper.
“Let me take this opportunity to express my and the UPND’s solidarity to you for the arrests and persecution you are receiving from the Patriotic Front government. What the PF is doing to you is oppressive, brutal and uncivilised,” said Hichilema.