Fred M'membe

By Pamela Bwembya


A journalist, an accountant, and a Lawyer; that is what hides behind the skin of one King Fred.

Fred has played very pivotal roles in regime change in Zambia. The most notable of them all was the end of the KK era. His fight against Chiluba’s third term and corruption is well documented, and that is what eventually led to business alliances with Mutembo Nchito of the Mwanawasa anti-corruption crusade.

When we lost Levy Mwanawasa, M’membe strategically put his money on Peter Magande, hoping that a Magande presidency would give him a free hand to grow his business empire. That is how he found himself in RB’s gun sights after RB emerged victorious.

Fred can mock HH on the latter’s many failed attempts to the presidency, but what must be clear to all is that Fred M’membe brings to life the saying ‘give a dog a bad name and hang it’. Fred has been instrumental in HH’s losses in previous elections, and he should, therefore, not be the one to use HH’s past performance as a yardstick for future attempts. The role of the Post Newspaper in determining outcomes of elections is well known. If there is anything Fred proved to be good at in the past, it was swaying citizens in a particular direction through his journalistic skills. Behind the scenes Fred never wasted time to use his influence to secure his business empire.

The reason RB used the power of incumbency to try to bring down one of Fred’s interests, Zambian Airways, was because of Fred’s tendency to use the presidency to provide cover for his capitalist empire. Fred has a disturbing history of trying to convert private and public debt into equity; when he makes losses or accumulates debts he leans on political affiliation and association to convert public debts into shares in his private businesses. Such was the case when a seemingly promising Zambian Airways approached ZCCM-IH (previous owners of Roan Air Services that was privatized in1998 and later became Zambian Airways) to buy shares in a business that was accumulating debts to public entities such as National Airports Corporation.

The NAC debt of about $2million was acquired through a failure to remit departure fees collected by Zambian Airways on behalf of NAC. Some of the scandals at Zambian Airways included the use of leased planes as collateral for loans. It appears Fred is not a journalist, accountant and lawyer by accident. This one is worse than those that have only studied law and ended up paying the price after chewing an unfortunate widow’s benefits. It seems Fred wants to control public opinion through journalism, swindle us all through tax avoidance through his impeccable accounting competences, and stay outside our prisons by identifying the loop holes in our laws.

In my humble opinion Fred is that monster that should be kept away from the corridors of power. The man that claims to be a ‘shosholist’ is a capitalist from head to tall.

The Post Newspaper’s contribution to the 2011 PF victory is known by many and this is what endeared Fred to the late Michael Sata (MHSRIP). Somewhere along the line, Fred became the invisible hand controlling the late MCS. Fred has a hand in the economic underperformance we are experiencing. Fred decided to prove his alliance to the King Cobra by consistently referring to Sata on a first name basis. It was ‘Michael this and Michael that’, until all his influence was mopped out of state house with the shelving of Wynter Kabimba from the position of PF SG. The relationship between Wynter and Fred seems to have literally extended to ‘behind locked doors’. When MCS fell ill, other forces started sidelining Fred, and boy, did he squeal?

Fred preaches socialism because he believes Zambians are dull enough to accept to be dressed in diapers of the same colour. What he does not know is that we cannot share poverty. Our country needs able leaders that will allow the capable among us to thrive and do what he hates to do, pay their taxes. Taxes help governments address the welfare of the most vulnerable without impeding the able to grow like Fred did when he was allowed to.

Fred M’membe is a man of style; in the later days of FTJ’s rule, few Zambians owned fuel-guzzling monsters called Hummers, a civilian version of the American military Humvee; and like the true capitalist he is, Fred had one for himself. I recall how he would send an advance party to leave fuel along Lusaka-Mongu road whenever decided to visit those he is trying to bribe with the mantra ‘VOTE FOR M’MEMBE WA LUNA.”


PB…Always in national interest.
Pamela Bwembya


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