You can’t trust someone who has lost five times, says M ́membe
GIVEN Lubinda, a long serving parliamentarian and former Cabinet Minister has hailed opposition leader Fred M ́membe for calling out the bluff of Hakainde Hichilema, the president of the UPND.
Mr Lubinda said Mr M ́membe, a harsh critic of the Patriotic Front (PF) was “on point” when he warned Zambians to not waste their vote on a “five- time loser” in the name of Mr Hichilema.
“HH and UPND have lost elections five times,” Mr M’membe said in a live radio programme taped for Hot FM, “he has lost more times than MMD and PF put together in an elec- tion.”
Mr M ́membe beseeched Zambians to not think that he was taking a “personal hate swipe” at Mr Hichile- ma saying, “He (HH) has lost elections five times, not intermittently but con- secutively which means he is just a loser that cannot be trusted…not even MMD or PF in opposition lost that many times.”
Mr M ́membe, who was speaking on a paid-for programme on Hot FM, a widely followed programme said Mr Hichilema is disillusioned to think that he would win the August 12 poll given his stellar record of loss.
Mr M ́membe, a former newspaper editor and owner of the defunct Post Newspa- per that crumbled under the weight of a more than K200 million (almost $10 million) government debt in taxes, said given a choice on whom to align with between Pres- ident Edgar Lungu and Mr Hichilema, he would be on the President ́s side because he has a history with him.
“I know President Edgar Lungu because we attended UNZA (University of Zambia) about the same time but I don’t know Mr Hichilema,” Mr M ́membe said.
The former newspaper publisher who passes him- self as a Socialist or Commu- nist politician, however, said he did not sympathise with either Mr Hichilema or President Lungu despite his soft spot for Mr Lungu over Mr Hichilema.
In the forthcoming Au- gust 12 poll, Mr M ́membe, whose defunct newspaper which owes the govern- ment about $10 million, has showed no love for Mr Hich- ilenma.
“We are not in alliance for me to support or love Mr Hichilema,” Mr M ́membe said.
Mr M ́membe warned
Zambians not to back the Hichilema ticket saying the majority of Zambians are young and poor and must not support rich and selfish politicians, in an apparent reference to the UPND Presi- dential candidate.
Mr M ́membe is a con- troversial political figure in Zambia whom analysts have described as a Capitalist that masquerades as a socialist or communist.
At the peak of his journal- ism career when he was an influential political player in Zambia, his newspaper the defunct Post Newspaper refused to honour stat- utoryt obligations such as Pay as You Earn (PAYE) for a 400-strong employee force, Value Added Tax (VAT) to the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and Income Tax total- ling to more than $10 mil- lion.
Mr M ́membe’s newspa-
per failed to honour taxes that led to almost 400 work- ers get to hang in the dry after ZRA finally found its teeth to shut him down, a case he fought all the way to the Constitutional Court against prominent Lusaka lawyer Lewis Mosho and still lost with costs of about K15 million.
The 400 workers Mr M ́membe’s defunct news- paper collected money from purporting to pay the gov- ernment are now jobless and many have either been evict- ed from homes and their children from school while Mr M ́membe splashes mil- lions of Kwacha on political billboards.
Apart from the more than $10 million Mr M ́membe’s defunct company owes ZRA in taxes, he also owes money to banks such as Investrust, Zanaco and Investrust run- ning in millions of Kwacha.
Mr Mosho, who was appointed liquidator for The Post has since recovered assets Mr M ́membe hid locally and abroad and is holding title to the house Mr M ́membe lives in on Nangwenya Road in Lusaka and a house in Chinsali whose construction is deemed suspicious and occupied by Zambia Police.
Mr Lubinda, however, said whatever weaknesses Mr M ́membe, Zambia ́s richest communist has, he has been right on one thing spelling out to the Zambi- ans that HH is a five-time loser that must not be entertained by Zambian vot- ers on August 12.
“Fred M ́membe must be given credit for one thing by all Zambians as we ap- proach the polls…for ex- posing Mr Hichilema as a fraud,” said Mr Lubinda.
Several local and international analysts have constantly wondered what kind of good the more than K200 million Mr M ́mem- be owes the government would have done to ease the strain on medicine in hospitals or paying teachers and other public workers.
Mr Lubinda cautioned that, “Mr M ́membe ́s mantra has been account- ability, yet he has never wanted to be accountable to anyone. There ́s a thin line between Mr M ́mem- be, the man and his friend Mr Hichilema. Zambians must take note of these Sia- mese twins.”