Wednesday, July 30, 2014

There's nothing to convince me GBM was in Luanshya - M'membe
By Mwala Kalaluka
Sun 02 Feb. 2014, 14:01 CAT

POST editor-in-chief Fred M'membe says there is nothing convincing to show that Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba was in Luanshya. And The Post has apologised to Mwamba over the story it published that he was on the Copperbelt decampaigning the PF.

In a letter dated February 1, 2014 to former defence minister Mwamba's lawyer Makebi Zulu, M'membe stated that after reading Zulu's letter dated January 31, 2014 and the concerned stories, he was not convinced that the editors got their story accurately.

Zulu's letter, referenced as 'Article entitled "Mwamba decampaigns PF on C/Belt saying the party is losing in 2016...PF has failed - GBM" in The Post newspapers issue No.6314 of January 31, 2014, denied that Mwamba had been on the Copperbelt.

Zulu stated that Mwamba had not left Lusaka since his return from Kasama and found the story "less than truthful and altogether malicious".

In response, M'membe stated that he had not heard anything convincing from anyone to make him believe that Mwamba was in Luanshya or indeed on the Copperbelt at the said time and said the things he is reported to have said.

"I have just read your letter of January 31, 2014. I was in Johannesburg from Wednesday morning, January 29, 2014 and I only arrived back in the country on Friday January 31, 2014 after 22:00 hours. After reading your letter and the concerned stories, I discussed the matter with the editors who were in charge of the story. I am not convinced that they fully got their story accurately. The source quoted on record in the story, a Mr Menyani Zulu, did not have direct contact with Mr Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba. He was also merely acting on hearsay," he stated.

"I made a few phone calls to some people I know within the Patriotic Front leadership in Luanshya. They, too, say they heard that Mr Mwamba was on the Copperbelt but no one told them they had actually seen or met him."

M'membe further stated that there were Patriotic Front elections on the Copperbelt right now and as such, all sorts of politicking, alignments and re-alignments were taking place.

"We do not want the newspaper to be caught in this politicking and party electioneering. And above all, it is the policy of our newspaper to publish only that which we can verify. It is against our policy to publish things that are not true about anyone or anything. And whenever we get things wrong, we owe it to our readers and news subjects to correct things and give them the correct position. We have no shame in apologising for that which we have gotten wrong because we are never motivated by malice in our reporting," M'membe stated.

"We are always seeking the truth in every story we publish. And for this reason, if mistakes are found in our work, or we have been misled by news sources, we shall never hesitate to make corrections and apologise for that which we have gotten wrong. This has been the source of our strength throughout the 23 years of our existence as a newspaper."

He stated that The Post had no intention of abandoning that policy.
"And in this case, I have not heard anything from anyone to make me believe that Mr Mwamba was in Luanshya or indeed on the Copperbelt at the said time and said the things he is reported to have said," stated M'membe.

"I therefore apologise, on behalf of the newspaper and indeed on my own behalf, to Mr Mwamba and to our readers, for this story and whatever inconveniences this might have caused. And by copy of this letter, I will ask the managing editor and the news editor of The Post to make the necessary corrections and apologies."

And Post news editor Joan Chirwa-Ngoma has also apologised to Mwamba for any inconvenience the story might have caused him.

"I was in charge of supervising this story. I was misled to believe that Mr Mwamba was on the Copperbelt and said the things reported to have been said by him. For this, I sincerely apologise to Mr Mwamba for any inconvenience the story might have caused," said Chirwa-Ngoma.

Former Copperbelt PF youth chairman Menyani Zulu on Thursday told The Post that Mwamba was in the area to decampaign the Patriotic Front ahead of the 2016 general elections.

Zulu claimed that Mwamba had told the people of Luanshya that the PF would lose the 2016 elections because it had failed to deliver on its campaign promises.

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