Former Norton legislator Temba Mliswa has slammed what he called the character assassination campaign launched against Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema (HH) saying the trolls were showing their fear of his country “doing better than us”.
Hichilema has been facing an unprecedented level of attacks from Zanu-PF officials since the time he assumed the leadership of Zambia in August 2021. He rose from being an opposition leader under the United Party for National Development (UPND) to be the country’s 7th President.
This appeared to anger the ruling Zanu-PF party leading to several attacks on Hichilema who has been branded a western puppet.
With several arrests of politicians in Zambia, Hichilema’s critics are now accusing him of being a dictator. Due to the trolls that are especially dominating social media, Hichilema’s most popular propagandist Joseph Kalimbwe recently threatened to dump his leader.
Mliswa, an outspoken Zimbabwean politician, believes that Hichilema is being targeted by Zimbabweans who are afraid or jealous that Zambia is doing well.
“There seems so much appetite from this side of the country to celebrate and even contrive to create a perception that Hichilema has gone rogue. The level of a dogged character assassination plot betrays an underlying fear of Zambia doing better than us. It’s sad,” Mliswa said.
“Truth be told, HH has done well in the short time that he has been in office. Zambia was already in a bad state prior to him. For starters we have not seen corruption flourishing there. It’s a benefit of selecting a leader who isn’t out to make money. He is monied already.
“He wants order in that country and has generally handled the many traps set for him very well. He is a leader with a good reputation and can’t just throw it away as some would like to frame it. His credentials as a leader are impeccable too.
“As it is, Zambia is far better than most African countries. Having a corporate guru as President will do them good. Only a few rogue elements who seek to fleece a country in connivance with its leaders are angry at his thrift conduct.”
Mliswa was responding to one Dereck Goto who posted that, under Hichilema, human rights abuses and economic challenges were gripping Zambia.
Goto cited the recent arrests of politicians Fred M’membe, the leader of the Socialist Party (SP), Given Lubinda, the vice-president of the Patriotic Front (PF); Mr. Chilufya Tayali, leader of the Economic and Equity Party (EEP) and Raphael Nakacinda, a PF member and Zambia’s former Permanent Representative to the African Union, Ambassador Emmanuel Mwamba.
“Zambians are increasingly vexed by the insufferable state of their economy, which has rendered the lives of ordinary citizens exceedingly challenging in terms of sustenance.
“A multitude of Zambian nationals has castigated their President, Mr. Hichilema, for his failure to deliver on the alluring electoral pledges he made, asserting that existence has now become intolerable under the auspices of his seemingly unfeeling administration,” Goto said.
“Notably, Hichilema has sanctioned arbitrary detentions of individuals engaging in protests against his government or voicing inquiries concerning the economic downturn attributable to his policies.
“The Zambian law enforcement apparatus has diligently adhered to this pernicious directive, exemplified by the apprehension of Mr. Chalwe Kaume, a radio caller who had voiced his grievances to the Central Province Permanent Secretary, Mr. Milner Mwanakampwe, regarding the United Party for National Development’s (UPND) purported inability to fulfill its campaign commitments.
“Mr. Hichilema’s commitment to the well-being of Zambians has been called into question, as he currently occupies the Zambian presidency with the blessings of the United States, which is instrumentalising his tenure to further its interests within the African continent.
“Regrettably, his administration appears to prioritise Western interests at the expense of the Zambian populace. Consequently, ordinary Zambians are experiencing profound suffering, as the nation grapples with escalating impoverishment year after year.
“The prices of essential commodities have surged precipitously due to the perceived inadequacies of Hichilema’s economic policies. Even the white farmers, who had previously flocked to Zambia, have since departed, citing an inhospitable environment for profitable agricultural endeavors.
“Dr. Fred M’membe, the president of the Socialist Party of Zambia, once implored Hichilema to address the exorbitant prices of maize meal, the high cost of living, soaring fuel prices, and the depreciation of the Zambian currency, the Kwacha, only to find himself arrested for this plea.
“The plight of ordinary Zambians is characterised by fear and abject poverty, while Hichilema appears impervious to their cries and has taken minimal measures to alleviate the crisis. Instead, he seems preoccupied with disparaging Zimbabwe, ostensibly in accordance with directives from Western powers.”
He added: “The rash and politically motivated arrests in Zambia reflect the current political turmoil and signal a significant constriction of the democratic space. Opposition parties accuse Hichilema of constricting civil liberties and political freedoms, particularly in the wake of the detention of five opposition leaders on charges of espionage and sedition.
“This quintet had been advocating for African member states to unite against foreign powers that they believed were wreaking havoc on the continent with the complicity of local elites.
“Their arrests serve to expose Hichilema as a true agent of the United States, advancing the agenda of undermining African revolutionary parties and governments. This situation casts doubt on the authenticity of the democracy championed by Western nations, suggesting it may be nothing more than a facade.
“The arrests of opposition leaders and the harassment of government critics are evidently driven by political motivations, thereby revealing Hichilema’s pursuit of a neoliberal agenda and his portrayal as a Western puppet.
“These actions stand in stark contradiction to the promises he made during his inauguration in August 2021, which had guaranteed genuine freedom, enhanced democracy, the restoration of the rule of law, overall order, and the return of the nation to normalcy.
“However, Hichilema’s actions have unveiled a disposition marked by brutality and callousness towards his own citizens, seemingly to appease Western benefactors in exchange for continued financial support.”
Hichilema became Zambia’s 7th President after defeating PF’s Edgar Lungu in democratic elections.