23 January 1998


Members of parliament demand "The Post" editor's arrest

Incident details

Fred M'membe



(MISA/IFEX) - On 20 January 1998, ruling Movement for Multi-party Democracy
(MMD) members of parliament demanded the arrest of the" Post" newspapers'
editor-in-chief Fred M'membe, reports the Zambia Independent Media
Association (ZIMA). The call comes after the paper published an editorial
critical of parliament on 16 January.

**See IFEX alert of 20 January 1998 for related case**

The editorial, headlined "Useless House", said the Zambian parliament had
rendered itself "useless" by the conduct of some of its members who were
"spineless". Minister without portfolio Michael Sata described the editorial
as "a deliberate and calculated opinion by the owners of the newspaper to
discredit the House under the disguise of freedom of the

Deputy Speaker Simon Mwila, quoting from the editorial, asked the
parliamentarians if they agreed they were "spineless and useless", to which
there was a resounding "no". Mwila then said he would make a ruling on the
point of order at a later date.

But M'membe told the Zambia Independent Media Association (ZIMA) on 22 January
that the editorial was "fair".

Background Information

In a separate case, M'membe and "Post" senior editor Reuben Phiri were
scheduled to appear before the Lusaka High Court on 22 January on contempt
charges related to an article about the detention of former president
Kenneth Kaunde. In March 1996, M'membe and former managing editor Bright
Mwape were jailed indefinitely by National Assembly Speaker Robinson
Nabulyato for writing critical opinions of parliament. They spent 24 days in
jail. (See IFEX alerts)


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