Lusaka - Former Zambian vice president Guy Scott has criticised President Edgar Lungu's recent attack on United States diplomats, who aired their displeasure at the ongoing assault on press freedom in the southern African country following the closure of the The Post newspaper.
Scott shared his disappointment that Lungu was not being advised correctly by those close to him and said that the president should respect the foreign diplomats.
A previous News24 report indicated that Lungu had told the US diplomats to raise the funds owed by The Post newspaper to the Zambian Revenue Authority (ZRA) if they felt that the newspaper was being victimised.
Zambian authorities ordered the closure of the publishing company, Post Newspapers Limited, on June 21, demanding $6.1m in tax arrears. This was despite the newspaper having a court order to prevent its closure.
The closure of The Post came as election campaigning was gaining momentum, with the critically independent newspaper being outspoken in its reporting of illegal activities and corruption by the government.
Lungu questioned why the diplomats felt they were entitled to share their opinion on the matter, as Zambian diplomats in their country would never feel obliged to comment on US policies.
Scott, however, maintained that the diplomats indeed had a say in the affairs of the country as they had a vested interest in it.
"The diplomats are absolutely right, this is a deliberate interference by the executive in the press. You have to be very childish to believe anything else. It is such poor political judgement to attack the donors, and I really hope it sees the PF to its grave," Scott was quoted as saying.
He said it would be suicidal for Zambians to give Lungu and his ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party another mandate.
Zambia was set to go to the polls on August 11.
- News24 Nigeria