A QUICK RESPONSE TO FRED M’MEMBE’ CRITIQUE OF HH
By Mark Simuuwe- UPND Consultant
Fred M’membe likes sweeping statements on corruption without citing anybody by name . He also likes being generic in looking at fundamental rights and freedoms without stating comparatively, between , where we are coming from under the PF where citizens were being gassed , and killed like Nsama Nsama , Joseph Kaunda , Mapenzi Chibulo , Kasongo , Lawrence Banda , and where we are now under the UPND .
If someone has never heard of the PF , upon listening to Fred , one would think we are coming from a leadership that respected fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens.
However, what we see in Fred is shallow propaganda working on the psychology of citizens that forget easily , with a stolen approach to politics, by him copying and pasting almost everything that UPND used in opposition and thinks he can win without studying carefully how the UPND arrived at some of those issues.
What he is failing to understand is , what were the existing state of affairs under the PF?
Then , Former PF member Fred raised concern on the following issues I would like to deal with in summary , one at a time :
What Fred M’membe is failing to understand is that at his time under PF , corruption was institutionalized and people could not be fired or arrested or resign on matters relating to corruption.
According to the Transparency International, Zambia’s Corruption Perceptions Index under the PF , to which Fred M’membe belonged , had reached an all high .
To the contrary, Under the UPND New Dawn Government, we have seen ministers, permanent Secretaries getting fired for illegality and other corruption related matters , and the Anti- Corruption Commission freely investigating such matters .
We have a government that can go public to announce 100% payment of CDF for 2023 , which was not fashionable under Fred and his friends in PF .
Back then citizens didn’t even know who was paid and who was not the CDF , until the Auditor General’s report was out .
we are coming from a government of over 3000 ghost workers . This is according to the Auditor General’s report 2022. This simply means they manufactured non existent civil servants in order to steal public funds .
With the clean up of the civil service record , it is a milestone in the fight against corruption.
- HEALTH CARE
Fred lacks researched information. What he misses in his critique are facts on available data .
Firstly , when the UPND took over office in 2021 , we found the PF government had allocated about K1.4billon towards the purchase of medicine and medical supplies. And the purchase was at 30 percent.
In 2022, the UPND New Dawn Government increased allocation to k3.4billion and the purchase of medicine and medical supplies increased to 53percent .
The World Health Organization threshold is 70 percent and above .
In 2023 , we allocated K4.6 billion towards medical supplies and medicine purchase , allowing the percentage to move to slightly above 70 percent.
This is a fundamental milestone which Zambia has not seen after the early days of UNIP .
Am not sure whether Fred listens to himself .
- HEALTH FACILITIES
M’membe is ignorant of the fact that in less than 2 years , UPND has been able to build over 200 health posts across the country under the CDF and employed over 14,000 health workers who include nurses , doctors , pharmacists , etc , and this has never happened since independence in Zambia.
Citizens are aware of these facts .
With the K28.3 million CDF , many constituencies have been able to build health posts to beef up existing infrastructure . These health posts have since been handed over for operation.
What Fred does not know is that , many of those projects that stalled under the PF leadership were also completed by the UPND immediately after assuming power.
Further in 2023, government released about k300 million to commence construction of the first ever cancer hospital on Copperbelt and later on in Livingstone in 2024 .
Fred and the PF had time to make history by ensuring there was quality medical services but they failed lamentably and started fighting for presidency within PF . We witnessed the worst scandals in the procurement of medicine under the PF ever .
Citizens do well remember how Dr Chitalu Chilufya was used as a scapegoat by the ECL administration and Fred has never seen anything wrong with this .
- ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Fred criticized president HH on the cost of living without looking at the economic performance by sector and how we found ourselves where we are today .
What he misses is that the economic situation was firstly messed up by Fred M’membe and his friends when they took over a country which had cleared Zambia’s debt but only destroyed the economy by overborrowing until Zambia reached the ICU where UPND found it.
Consequences of borrowing under Fred M’membe and his friends started showing 7 years later after the PF borrowed and they continue to haunt us today .
Initially, Fred with his Post Newspaper praised the borrowing and went out with ululations , but see now the consequences of your debt ; we are in trouble .
Kwacha was around k3.8 to $1 dollar , but they moved it up by over 600% to k23, then K17.9 for elections.
When KCM was liquidated , sending thousands of citizens to joblessness, which Fred supported and celebrated the closure of winding up of the mine , it meant that copper production became law because KCM is the second biggest mine in Zambia .
It also meant that the export of copper to attract more forex into the country reduced as well .
Further , the failure by PF to run Mopani making Mopani retrench more than 4000 workers meant that copper production again reduced, putting pressure on a Kwacha and making it vulnerable because there was very little exports to attract forex into Zambia .
As a solution , the UPND New Dawn government have secured an equity partner to from Abu Dabi to pump in $1.1bn to revamp Mopani and government would soon close the reversal of the liquidation of KCM to help fix the currency and claim back lost jobs . Fred can’t see all this!
To make the matters worse on Fred’s hypothetical approach , the borrowing which also killed our economy and Kwacha was from the people he , today , calls imperialists and this is how hypocritical he is . After praising the borrowing with the post newspaper, he turns round and calls them imperialists today .
He now poses as a socialist after running a capitalist newspaper sponsored by imperialist companies .
To cheat citizens and to find a way of fundraising , he has to dupe other socialist countries; he has to call himself a socialist , but fails to explain how he ran a capitalist newspaper that never paid attention to statutory obligations or failed to pay taxes.
Many people may recall that due to his hypocrisy, and malice , Fred M’membe and Kabimba were ejected from PF and later formed their own PF socialist party. This was after they ran down the economy in PF using capitalism which he now insults to cheat funders.
He is also forgetting that the country’s GDP under PF went down to around negative 2 %.
PF , then , reached a stage where they could hardly recruit workers even in the teaching service and health sector and failed to pay retirees.
The situation got worse when they failed to pay council workers , farmers for goods supplied to FRA , then started engaging in what looked like state sponsored terrorism and firing those who spoke out.
There was a massive crackdown on on some ethnic groups in the civil service and political opponents with HH also as a victim .
Fred saw nothing wrong with this style of leadership. This is why I doubt his reasoning .
Fred M’membe celebrated the arrests of HH and called him names , and a person that called trouble on himself.
Everything about PF bad behavior in government was good to him and this is why he can easily partner with those with like minds .
In all HH arrests , Fred blamed it on HH and saw nothing wrong with fundamental rights and freedoms violations .
When the UPND took over leadership , the economy improved to over 2% , with an investment of $3.8billion in less than a year .
Indeni was reopened and over 1500 workers got back their jobs ; 258,000 farmers were paid their money and council workers who were owed up to 7 months and 15 months salary arrears were paid their arrears , and TAZAMA workers were paid their dues .
Today , under the UPND New Dawn Government , we can now be talking of massive recruitment of youths in health , teaching , engineering, accountancy in Local Government, Defense , and police , which is an economic issue because these youths can now have an income on a monthly basis.
Fred cannot tell citizens today that the economic challenges faced today are partly , as a result of reckless borrowing under the PF .
As a result of that , we have a long debt restructuring process , which debt they recklessly accrued under the PF .
To resolve the problem the UPND government has put in place what is called ,” domestic debt dismantling strategy 2022-2026,” and enacted the Debt Management Act No. 15 of 2022.
Further ,as a way of resolving the cost of mealie meal , the UPND has introduced a credit facility to support farmers with land to produce more in order to push the cost of mealie meal done .
Further , government has increased the number of players on the market by bringing in ZNS to run some farm blocks , and Zambia Correctional Facilities to engage in maize growing in order for us to beat the demand thereby pushing the price down .
Government has also created an enabling environment for locally produced fertilizer through a $138 million investment in the manufacturing plant , which once at full capacity , shall produce 300,000 metric tons of Urea and 700,000 metric tons of D compound.
Government is also offering skillls in training in general agriculture under the CDF .
All these are initiatives which don’t make sense to propagandists like Fred .
As for fuel , while government agrees that fuel is expensive , no country is selling cheap fuel anywhere in the world . Differences in prices are in cents only .
The fuel price upward adjustment has been triggered by the Ukraine – Russia war .
Some People may know that about 60% of oil which Europe consumes comes from Russia . With the situation there , there is a high demand of the commodity and this has adversely affected the world price of fuel and eventually the economy.
However, government has slightly reduced the shock by reopening Indeni and reconfiguring it and removing some taxes on imported fuel . This is why fuel is more expensive in the neighboring Tanzania than in Zambia .
When fuel is expensive , prices of commodities usually go up as well .
TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
Fred cannot tell us anything about accountability and transparency. According to the ZRA report then , this is a man who was not transparent with Pay as You Earn at the Post Newpspaper . He deducted PAYE from workers at the Post but failed to remit to ZRA (ZRA Report ).
In other words ,he was evading tax .He failed to pay taxes under the Post Newspaper. A man who cannot obey statutory obligations cannot be transparent in anything and cannot be trusted . Given and opportunity to run the country, he can run down the economy. He is a bad example to youths on adherence to taxes .
He failed to account for Statutory obligations thus , it is hypocritical for him to ask about accountability and transparency today .
Today , In enhancing transparency and accountability, UPND has performed better than Fred M’membe’s PF by improving fiscal discipline and restoring budget credibility, enacted ATI law for transparency and accountability .
Today , government emerged victorious over the much talked about Access to information Bill and it is now law .
Under the PF , Fred M’membe and his friends feared to account for public expenditure , including paying taxes under the Post Newspaper thus refused to enact the access to information law .
To enhance transparency and accountability , the UPND government have further established the fast- track court to ensure speedy recovery of stolen resources .
Fred is aware that some of his friends whom they dined with under the PF government are appearing for various offences in court today .
Because at his time , theft of public funds was institutionalized , he calls the fight against corruption as ‘ persecution’ and abuse of fundamental rights and freedoms. This kind of reasoning is criminal and an assault on transparency and accountability of public resources.
With Fred , stealing of public resources is a right ! This is why he can defend those who were entrusted with public resources under the PF but mismanaged them . Clearly , citizens can see that he does not mean well for the country.
Citizens may recall that to fight corruption , Edgar Lungu had to fight law enforcement institutions like FIC and waged war against its CEO , Mary Chirwa for disclosing a report on financial crimes under the PF , whom Fred has continued to have alliances with .
For Fred , theft is a right no-wonder you will never hear of Fred talking of abuse of public funds under the PF . He even went to bed with them through marriage ceremonies that ignited , and aroused his emotions and libido for supporting Bill 10.
Fred was willing to kill democracy forever by supporting a destructive Bill 10 . Today he should be talking about accountability! Really ?
Imagine we brought back the same Bill with the same content ; will he support it ? I doubt especially that he lacks consistency.
“Former PF member” (ECL camp) Fred is going to bed with are a band of plunderers who failed to create jobs for the youths . It seems they miss the illegal Mukula exports and theft of public funds.
For avoidance of doubt , “cronyism is the appointment of friends and associates to positions of authority, without proper regard to their qualifications.there are complaints that cronyism is behind the rise of various executives through the ranks”.
Fred M’membe was an architect of Cronyism as could be seen how he took over the information and publicity of President Michael Sata.
He could either recommend a PS for information from the Post Newspaper or a friend from the Post Newspaper for other appointments.
I will not mention names of his associates because they are not a subject of discussion but readers do remember them .Fred is a typical hypocrite.
All information was managed by his associates or cronies .
For interest sake , whom does Fred want HH to appoint? Or does he want HH to consult him on who to appoint? Does Fred want HH to appoint him and Dr Musumali?
Certainly not !! It is just an abomination for Fred to talk about cronyism when he is the main architect.
Clearly , Fred has run out of ideas , if at all he has any . He literally fails to create checks and balances that can sell to electorates . He is stuck to the same rantings of the PostNewspaper.
DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
Fred should be ashamed that the Post Newspaper is no more , and he cannot talk about it as a crack down on the media freedom, simply because it fits him to dine with ECL today , who closed it at the expense of the workers that lost jobs and many are still suffering to date .
Due to his bad behavior of abusing his Post Newspaper to insult others , and failure to pay various taxes as reported by ZRA , plus failing to pay workers their dues , ECL closed the Post through liquidation .
Everyone knows that under the PF , even the Mast Newspaper was headed for closure .
Today , Fred is abusing the same paper everyday and is freely writing what he wants without anyone following him , yet he believes this is a bad environment .
How I wish he could appeal to himself that had it been ECL in power , Fred could have been on the run .
Today ,he is able to freely go on various media platforms to insult and be covered without censorship, an undertaking which was not fashionable the time him and the PF were in power .
Everyone knows how divisive the post newspaper was and how he used it to insult other tribal groupings . What Fred is simply telling us is that It was then appropriate to close such a media since it was a threat to national security. If that be the case , then we shall say Congratulations to President Edgar Lungu . You taught him a lesson.
He is talking about approaching elections when he came out number 5 in the previous elections. Is he sure under Multi-party democracy, we have a leader that ever won from number 5 to victory ? He must come to terms with reality and realize that citizens are not gullible .
Has he got even shadow MPs that can win elections in many places unsettling existing MPs? Does he listen to himself ? Does he know how many MPs in parliament respect him and would want to be under his leadership?
Am sure those who listen to him are being fooled . They should conduct a serious introspection and survey after which they will vow never to be fooled by Fred anymore.