M’membe demands apology from Kwacha Times

SOCIALIST Party president Fred M’membe has demanded an apology an retraction from Kwacha Times for falsely attributing an article to him.

“This desperation and unprofessional behaviour is worrying and frightening. And I demand a retraction and apology,” stated Dr M’membe.

“The article below published by the Kwacha Times, an online publication, in my name has not been authored by me.”
Fred M’membe
We do not hate HH but we hate his tribalism – Fred M’membe writes;

In the course of last week, an organised group of United Party for National Development supporters descended upon our office to complain about what they perceive to be our hatred for their leader. In demonstrating their displeasure, they threw all sorts of unprintable at us and yet we tolerated them.

These agents of Hakainde Hichilema claim that we hate their leader and are supposed to be jealous of him for one reason or the other. It is sad when people fail to deal with issues and resort to insults and petty talk.

We do not hate Hakainde and are not in the business of hating people. But if truth be told, we hate his politics. We hate politics of tribalism. And unless Hakainde and his followers accept that there are these problems and take a deliberate step to address them, insulting The Post will not help them.

Hakainde has been known to say things like “if we give power to these Bembas, we will never get it back”. What kind of thinking is that? He has also been known to say things like “if somebody says I cannot be president because I am Tonga, I cannot accept it”. Who said to him that he cannot be president because he is Tonga? May be the problem that he has is his militant tribalism and unless he deals with it, he is of very little use to our national politics. If anything, he is a danger.

Hakainde is the only politician that we can think of in our country whose entry into politics was heralded by a tribal trumpet. After Anderson Mazoka died and the fight to succeed him had started, those who supported Hakainde said he should be given to run the party because he was Tonga. Hakainde has never convincingly, if at all, distanced himself from these statements.

Mazoka had many issues politically, including the perception that he was running a tribal party. He worked quite hard to assemble a team which attempted to give UPND a national character. Hakainde on the other hand, as though possessed by a demon of destruction, came and undid all that effort. He wanted to run UPND as a predominantly Tonga party but somehow expected national support. It is this that we disapprove of.

We also disapprove of the dishonesty that seems to have characterised his entry into the Patriotic Front-UPND pact. On reflection, it now appears quite clearly that Hakainde had no intention of becoming vice-president. Although his party was much smaller than PF and Michael Sata’s popularity much greater than his, somehow Hakainde thought he should lead the pact because according to him, he was more educated and young whereas Michael was old and uneducated. We have not forgotten that Michael told him off and reminded him that he was not born old. He, too, had been young at one point in his life and now was old. Clearly, Michael was unhappy with the derision that Hakainde was heaping on him on account of his age.

It seems that one of the problems that Hakainde had with Michael was not just his age but his tribe. It seems that Hakainde is not only a militant Tonga tribalist but he is also militantly anti-Bemba. This is wrong and it needs to be denounced at every opportunity that we get. Coming to The Post to insult us will not change the truth on the ground.

Hakainde seems to be very bitter about Michael’s win. But why should this be the case? It is clear thata when he could not get the pact presidency, Hakainde went to a “destroy PF mode”. At some point during the campaigns, he was not very different from Chanda Chimba. Hakainde lied that the reason he PF-UPND pact broke was because he refused to support gays. This is something that Hakainde knew to be untrue. But for political expediency, he started regurgitating MMD lies.

If Hakainde was interested in serving the people of this country and not just becoming president, he would have found the best possible was to do it. We do not believe that if that was Hakainde’s mindset, the pact would have failed to work. What is shameful is that Hakainde went into that pact thinking that what happened to Mazoka could happen to Michael and make it possible for him to take over the PF. What kind of thinking is that? The anger that is being thrown at us is sour grapes because Hakainde seems to have realised that he missed a golden opportunity. Today, Hakainde would have been vice-president and helping to direct the politics of our country. His impatience, arrogance and condescending approach to other people has left him a much weakened politician than he could otherwise have been.

The Tongas, that great people of our country, have a wonderful saying that best describes what Hakainde has done. Our Tonga is not perfect but we will give it a go. The Tongas say “lyalanga lyakalya munchile”. The literal translation is that the one who could not wait for the pumpkin to grow and decided to eat pumpkin leaves instead is now admiring his friend who waited and is now enjoying the pumpkin fruit. In other words, you have a choice to eat the pumpkin leaves – chibwaba as the Bembas call it – or wait for the pumpkin. Hakainde ate the pumpkin leaves and today he cannot deal with the anger and envy that he feels against Michael who waited to eat the pumpkin. This is a wonderful saying. It teaches us to be patient in life, to be humble, to persevere. This is something that Hakainde does not seem to have.

Although Hakainde likes to accuse others of not listening to advice, he is the one who does not listen. We say this because having been in the business of reporting on political events for some 20 years, we have a reasonable understanding of our politics work. When there are big issues that need to be resolved, sometimes it is not possible to directly engage with one’s counterparts on an issue. In that situation, a good political strategist would find an indirect way to reach their counterpart. But for this method to work, the person on the other side must be prepared to listen to the opinions of others and heed the advice. In other words, it is possible to know the character of a leader even before you talk to them. The question is how? It is simple. Just look at the people he keeps around himself. That will give you a fair understanding of who you are dealing with. Most of the political players in our country have a person or two or three that they listen to and go to for advice. Hakainde stands alone on this issue. He does not seem to have any advisors that he respects and capable of listening to. One Tonga man described Hakainde in the following terms: “HH tanyonwi.” This simply meant that Hakainde is incorrigible. Taken literally, it meant that he cannot be steered in the right direction. That is the kind of person we are dealing with.

We do not hate Hakainde and have no reason to hate him. He is a human being just like us. But his politics are a danger to our country. Hakainde has hijacked UPND and made sure that only his opinion goes. You cannot be a national leader without listening to contrary views.

Those who came to insult us for telling Hakainde that he was running a Bantustan party should stop and reflect on what we are saying. If we are wrong, let them articulate their position. But insulting and calling us all sorts of names will not help them.

We stopped covering UPND because they got in the habit of insulting us every time they were unhappy about something for which we tolerated them. But they crossed the line when they called us their enemy number one. How could a political party with a modicum of wisdom call a newspaper their number one enemy when it had bigger battles to fight? Even after calling us their worst enemy and almost lynching our assistant news editor when he covered their press conference, they expect us to continue giving them coverage without ever apologizing and accepting their mistakes. Hakainde wants to keep the Southern Province as if it is personal property. All Zambians of goodwill should ensure that this is stopped. We cannot have an individual placing his personal ego and interests ahead of the whole province. We do not hate Hakainde, but we hate his tribalism.

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