(Luke 20;25 also Mt 22 V 21 and Mk 12 V 17)
Paying taxes is a Biblical requirement. In the gospels of Luke 20;25, Mt 12V17 and Mk 22 V 21 we hear of a story where the Pharisees and the Sadducees sent spies to Jesus on the issue of paying taxes.
‘Keeping a close watch on Him they sent spies who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something He Said so that they might hand Him over to the power and authority of the governor. So they the spies questioned Jesus. “ Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God, in accordance with the truth” is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not”? He saw through their hypocrisy and said to them ‘ show me a denarius? Whose portrait and inscription are on it? Caesar, they replied” He said to them, then “ give to CAESAR what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”.
Paying tax is both a Biblical and citizenship obligation. The closure of the POST NEWSPAPER on account of failure to pay tax should not be politicized. Every government needs tax, because it is through collection of taxes that government raise the much needed revenue for development. The argument by some opposition political parties that Fred M’membe and his Newspaper have contributed to the growth of democracy and therefore should not be treated is laughable and ridiculous. While it is true that the late Frederick Chiluba spearheaded the campaign and return to multiparty democracy, there are in f act thousands of Zambians who have contributed to the establishment, growth and sustenance of democracy in this country. Frederick Chiluba himself despite having spearheaded that campaign for the return to democratic rule, he was punished when he was found wanting. Who then is Fred M’membe? While we all sympathize with the employees at the POST NEWSPAPER for this incontinence, the government needs that money for development. We need that money because it will go a long way in helping reduce poverty levels in this country. Mr Fred M’membe can afford three square meals a day, but there are people out there who hardly can afford a decent meal. Does Fred M’membe know that by holding on to that money, he is contributing to the suffering of those who live below the poverty datum line? Does he realize that?
Hakainde Hichilema and UPND should keep away from this. This is an issue that has come about as a result of court judgment and in accordance with the doctrine of separation of powers we need to respect that judgment and not politicize it .
The ZAMBIA REVENUE AUTHORITY should now demonstrate to us that, what has been done to the Post Newspaper has nothing to do with what other people are referring to as political persecution by ensuring that every one who owes them huge moneys is also treated in the same manner. Otherwise the people of Zambia reserve the right to condemn the ZRA if they are applying the law selectively. Should it be found that ZRA are applying the law selectively, then their days are numbered, time will come when they will account for their misdeeds as well.
The author is a member of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) and chairperson for the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection(JCTR) and recipient of world Bank award in good governance . email> firstname.lastname@example.org