IT IS the theft of documents from Government and not the content that is a criminal offence, a former intelligence officer has said.
And a political activist Lonely Tatila has said that Post Newspaper proprietor Fred M’membe should not cry foul over his questioning by the police over stolen Government classified documents because he started the process and he should finish it.
The former intelligence officer said it was an offence for anybody to divert a letter addressed to the President or any other agency. “The content does not matter. What matters is that a communication is diverted from the intended recipient,” he said.
He explained that a letter addressed to the President was of the highest possible classification because very sensitive matters were often commincated, which content should not be divulged to the public without his authorization.
“It is certainly wrong for a letter written to the President to appear in the media regardless of the content,” he said. He said when Mr M’membe published the story quoting a Government classified document from the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), he knew what he was doing and he expected the consequences.
Mr Tatila was reacting to a Post Newspaper’s editorial which alleged that it would be unfair for the proprietor and his two reporters to be jailed over a classified document.
The secret document was a letter from ACC director general Rosewin Wandi to President Edgar Lungu on investigations against State House special assistant for politics, Kaizer Zulu. Mr Tatila said Mr M’membe was crying foul because he knows he has completely fallen out of favour with the Zambian people following his recent publications which border on hate as opposed to national interest.
He said it had become evident that Mr M’membe was no longer an item on the agenda of Zambians as he had failed to be relevant to their lives. Mr Tatila said it was no wonder there were no opposition political party sympathizers to accompany the newspaper owner to police over his recent summoning on a story he published.
“It is no wonder even politicians or those in the civil society did not escort him because the people of Zambia are now beginning to understand who he really is, because if he stood for the people, Zambians could have been there to support him,” he said.
He charged that the quizzing of the newspaper editor was a self imposed gimmick to seek public sympathy but unfortunately which has backfired against him as he has not received support from the people.
On Tuesday, Mr M’membe, appeared before Lusaka’s Woodlands Police where he was queried over a story which border the State Security Act.