Fred M’membe versus Zambia’s Foreign Policy

Fred M'membe

By Henry Kyambalesa

The recent utterances (perhaps ‘hallucinations’) by socialist ideologue Fred M’membe, leader of a political party—the Socialist Party—whose ideals belong to the archives, in support of despot Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine should be condemned by all patriotic and peace-loving Zambians, irrespective of whether Russia has actually ever supported Zambia in any field of endeavour.

By the way, Russia is not one of the prominent providers of foreign aid or assistance to Zambia, as M’membe has claimed. The following countries and institutions or agencies (including China) are prominent Zambia’s development partners in the designated fields of human endeavour:

(a) Economic Growth, including agriculture, energy, privatization, small and medium-sized enterprise development, wildlife conservation, and tourism: Africa Development Bank (ADB); Danish Aid (DANIDA); European Union (EU); Finnish International Development Agency (FINNIDA); Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO); Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES); International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA); Netherlands; Norwegian Agency for Development (NORAD); Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA); United Kingdom Department for International Development (DfID) and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO); United Nations Development Program (UNDP); United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); USA (USAID), the World Bank; and the World Food Program (WFP).

(b) Healthcare and Sanitation, including public health (covering malaria, HIV/AIDS mitigation and pandemic, integrated reproductive health, child health, healthcare infrastructure, healthcare-sector reform, healthcare financing (including human resources and drugs): Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), DfID / FCDO, DANIDA, UNFPA, Irish Aid, JICA, the Netherlands, SIDA, UNICEF, USAID, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

(c) Democracy and Governance, including good governance, anti-corruption, and citizen participation in governance: German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ), the Netherlands, CIDA, Finland, Ireland, SIDA, NORAD, the Netherlands, EU, FES, DfID / FCDO, UNDP, USAID, and the World Bank.

(d) Basic Education, including assistance to community schools (through interactive radio instruction), equity and gender issues, HIV/AIDS mitigation, educational infrastructure, life skills, school-goers’ health and nutrition, and teacher training: DANNIDA, DfID, CIDA, EU, FINNIDA, GTZ, Irish Aid, JICA, the Netherlands, NORAD, UNICEF, DfID / FCDO, USAID, and the World Bank.

Since our country’s political independence in October 1964, we have had government leaders whose foreign policies have been the pursuit of lasting peace and stability within Zambia and the African Union, and the fostering of sound relations between our beloved country and all peace-loving nations worldwide. And these have been leaders who have literally embraced and complied with the Principles of the United Nations (UN).

It is, therefore, unfortunate that M’membe and some of his colleagues in the Socialist Party have decided to support a country that has violated the Principles stipulated in Article 2 of the UN that prohibit member-countries from threatening or, except in self-defense, using force or war against other sovereign member-countries in Clauses 3 and 4, particularly the following:

(a) All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered; and

(b) All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the UN.

M’membe’s explicit support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may actually be deemed to be rebellious and unusual because only President Hakainde Hichilema is currently the popularly elected leader in Zambia who has the people’s mandate to articulate the country’s foreign policy both at home and abroad.

Incidentally, the news article entitled “I’m Not a Politician, I am a Revolutionary, Fred M’membe Reflects on the Past,” which appeared in Lusaka Times on June 24, 2020, explains his thinking that somewhat mimics the words of the late Fidel Castro of Cuba, the late Samora Machel of Mozambique, the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and other socialist ideologues of yesteryear.

A “revolutionary” (noun) is defined as a rebel, a radical, an insurgent, a rioter, a mutineer, an anarchist, or an insurrectionist. Our Constitution (2016) does not provide for “revolutionary” parties; it only provides for “political” parties. Being the “president” of his political party, therefore, M’membe is essentially engaged in politics and, as such, is a politician.

I define the term “politics” as the process by which power is shared and exercised, especially in, but not limited to, local and national government circles.

The only difference between M’membe and the majority of other Zambian politicians is that he has decided to resurrect an ideology that belongs to the archives. He is busy searching the “trash bins” of history for something to hoodwink or dupe some of our docile compatriots. The harsh experiences our people endured during the UNIP era should have taught us not to allow the formation of political parties based on socialist ideals.

Fred M’membe has also called for a stoppage to military support being rendered by Western countries to Ukraine. Russia is a military superpower allegedly seeking to colonize weak countries in its geographic region by force to create a Russian empire akin to the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).

Vladimir Putin has often decried the dissolution of the USSR. As Mike Pence, former U.S. Vice President, has warned, “[A]nybody who thinks that Vladimir Putin will stop in Ukraine if he takes that country, I think has another thing coming.”

If M’membe is seeking financial and material support for his Socialist Party in preparation for the 2026 General Elections, he will do well to listen carefully to the piece of advice in the late Keith Mlevhu’s song entitled “Ubuntungwa.”

Vladimir Putin is a sadist and an absolute danger to the human race. He has caused trauma, the refugee crisis, the massive human carnage, the destruction of Ukrainian economic infrastructure, and the disruption of socioeconomic activities in Ukraine and beyond.

What more, he has disrupted oil supplies from Russia to the rest of the world, which has resulted in shortages and high prices of gasoline around the world. And he has disrupted supplies of grain from Ukraine to the rest of the world, and has, as a result, contributed to famine and high prices of food worldwide.

Therefore, any country or individual that supports or sympathises with such a heartless and sadistic monster deserves to be unreservedly condemned and rebuked.


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