Zambian authorities on Tuesday closed down one of the country’s largest dailies, the Post Newspaper, in Lusaka, the newspaper has said.
In a message posted on its Twitter handle, @PostNewsZambia, the paper said its offices in Lusaka was shut down by Zambia Revenue Authority.
“ZRA has seized property halting operations at The Post newspaper printing plant in Lusaka.”
In a follow-up tweet, the paper tweeted, “The Government of the Republic of Zambia has today June 21, 2016, closed down Post Newspapers Limited. ”
The newspaper was accused of defaulting on its taxes for a long period, according to Lusaka Times, a website that reports on the country.
The report said state agents took over the properties and police were now in charge of security.
The news immediately drew the ire of Zambians, who took to social media to express displeasure, accusing President Edgar Lungu of shutting down the paper two months to the country’s general elections.
Brezhnev Malaba, a Zimbabwean journalist, said via his twitter handle, @BrezhMalaba, “Zambia embraces autocracy. Fred M’membe’s The Post newspaper was forcibly shut down tonight. Democracy is on trial.”
Some Zambians on social media said Post Newspaper is known for its hardline stance against corruption and other vices in public service. A general election is planned in the country for August.
In July 2015, Zambian government arrested the paper’s editor, Fred M’membe, and a reporter, Mukosha Funga, on allegations of disclosing classified documents. The reporters denied the allegations.