Opinion

Abusive War of Words Against HH

Opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema has since Monday June 12, 2012 endured a barrage of insulting editorial comments from President Michael Sata’s praise singers – The Post Newspaper.

His only sin: calling Sata a chimbwi (hyena with) no plan and for briefly massaging Post owner Fred M’membe’s ego. Five editorial comments, all verbally abusing HH, with outright derogatory statements are dedicated to the UPND leader.

This is not the first time M’membe – the reason Zambia’s judiciary is at sixes and sevens today – has unleashed missiles through his editorial comments on an opponent that stands up to challenge his ego.

In fact, Hichilema should brace for more of such tirades unless he chooses to trade his principles to tow M’membe’s political agenda carefully coated in what appears to be an innocent but deceiving media campaign.

The man Hichilema is today referring to as a chimbwi no plan was not spared from the venomous editorial attacks, full of bitterness and hatred, during the 2006 election period as he had opted to stand at variance with the so called Zambian ‘kingmaker’ – Fred M’membe. Like Hichilema, Sata was even blacked-out of Post pages in the famous, “his (Sata) wish is our (Post) command” editorial.

Following the death in 2008 of third Republican president Levy Mwanawasa who had guaranteed The Post’s commercial and political place in Zambia, the media house and its allies like the director of public prosecutions Mutembo Nchito made failed attempts to win then Vice-President Rupiah Banda on their side.

Realising Rupiah was not ready to bulge to their blackmail, they turned to then finance minister Ngandu Magande whom they sponsored to win the MMD presidency in succeeding Mwanawasa. It was never meant to be as Rupiah went on to become MMD leader and was eventually elected Republican president in October 2008.

During that period, The Post and Sata conveniently entered a silent pact which put immeasurable pressure on Banda’s presidency highlighting all that was negative while ignoring any positive efforts scored. Thus in the run up to the 2011 elections, The Post – in the guise of media role in governance – offered to bring to Sata’s campaign civil society support from such institutions as the now compromised Transparency International Zambia, Caritas Zambia, the Catholic Church, SACCORD, PAZA, MISA Zambia and many others that lined up for sale.

The deal was sealed. M’membe and his newspaper were to call the shorts and Sata would be the figurehead provided when he is elected Presdient his decisions will be influenced by the media organization. The populist leader agreed to play the puppet that landed him into State House. Now, he has a duty to deliver to his masters at The Post.

This is what M’membe wants of Hichilema. But The Post Newspaper editor realised long time ago that Hichilema was his match, if not smarter.

M’membe can only deride the successful businessman turned politician as a tribalist. What he does not accept, too, is that HH is averagely wealthy than him and reasonably intelligent to reject any form of manipulation when in leadership. The day Hichilema will succumb to M’membe’s manipulative tactics, as Sata did, the missiles launched at him will disappear.

Yes, Hichilema was right when he said in direct reference to M’membe; “unama banthu ati uli na ndalama. Kansi ulibe ndalama. Ndalama ni zokongola,” loosely translated as “You cheat people you are rich and got money, but that is borrowed money.” If it were boxing, Hichilema had landed a strong uppercut on his opponent’s ego.

M’membe cowardly responded: “We have never claimed to be rich people.”

What a lie printed in black and white from a man who calls others to honesty, integrity and all sorts of rhetoric! He least practices any of the virtues he portrays in the newspaper. Who doesn’t know that M’membe brags about being the most powerful, the most richest, and, indeed the most intelligent Zambian? He even claims to be the best employer in the country.

M’membe added in his jibe at Hichilema; “and we have never carried ourselves as rich people. We are not so shallow to behave in that way, to carry ourselves in that way. This type of conduct is for Hakainde.” If this were true, what status does such an expensive but Hollywood made for vehicle as a Hummer portrays one to be? Who between M’membe and Hichilema poses around Lusaka in Hummers? Isn’t M’membe?

And if M’membe was what he preaches about being the best employers in the country, all his bootlickers will never have abandoned him for jobs in Sata’s government.

What he is aware is that Hichilema is armed with a lot of information about him and his activities and this is what has unsettled him so much that he has gone on an offensive to silence the UPND leader and threaten him that any sort of reaction will be met with legal action where he is said to have influence over the new Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda.

In one of the four editorial comments solely dedicated to dissect Hichilema, M’membe stated; Hakainde has been making declarations of his wealth whenever there are presidential elections. What he has declared so far doesn’t make him a rich man unless he claims to have been lying, making false declarations on oath, which is of course an offence for which he can be jailed. But the truth is Hakainde is incapable of understating his worth; he is always over-valuing himself even if the Bible advises to “value yourself at your true worth (Sirach 10:28).”

Sirach, by the way, is one of the books of the Old Testament but does not appear in most Protestant Bibles although it has always been recognized as inspired Scripture by the Catholic Church and M’membe draws most of his religious phrases from therein though he allegedly does not believe in Christ.

Indeed, M’membe promised Hichilema political discourse since Tuesday June 12 and The Post editorial pages are gracing the UPND leader with all kind of abusive discourse.

He stated; “Since Hakainde wants political discourse on us and consequently on himself, there is need for us to delve deeply into his politics, character and attitude. And this [we] will do because he has invited us to it by his own utterances. We will give him what he has asked for as we await our crucifixion at his hands in 2016. As we have stated before, we will wait for him, we won’t run away.”

This declaration suggests Hichilema, who has not been given any form of coverage, positive or negative, by The Post until recently, should brace for intense bombardments emanating from M’membe’s pages every morning he wakes up.

But what politics, character or attitude makes up a self ordained pontiff in M’membe?
The late Republican vice-president George Kunda was clear and precise when in December, 2009 ‘prophesised’ M’membe wanted to take over state power by scheming to control the office of the director of public prosecutions and other constitutional offices.

Kunda branded M’membe’s schemes a “a well-calculated enterprise” which started in 2002 leading to the hounding out of office of the late former DPP Mukelabai Mukelabai.

And who today can deny Kunda had come close to Nigerian tele-evangelist TB Joshua by accurately fore-telling future events such as M’membe’s insatiable appetite to unorthodoxly run the country?

Today, M’membe is the DPP through his friend Mutembo Nchito, he is Speaker of National Assembly through his other friend Patrick Matibini and finally he has assumed to the apex of the Judiciary through newly appointed Acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda and Acting Deputy Chief Justice both members of his shadow empire.

M’membe practically controls all the three arms of the government including the fourth estate – the media. It’s only a dummy President like Sata that can allow him to do so. Not Hichilema. And this is where it all starts and ends. If Hichilema promised M’membe, like Sata did, he will lead through him all these attacks will come to an end.

M’membe’s only defence for the compromised journalism he is practicising is that there is nothing wrong being a friend to the President. Yes, there is absolutely nothing wrong to be friends with the head of state. But when did this discredited ZISC cashier-turned-journalist and lawyer become friends with Sata, the man he had demonised the most since The Post was launched in 1991?

The only reason that binds M’membe to Sata is not friendship, but an expedient affair to benefit the former and render the latter only a dummy head of state. Zambians were naively deceived in the run up to the 2011 elections by M’membe and many are beginning to realize though too late, at least until 2016.

In terms of character, M’membe is more a pretender than Hichilema. Everyone knows that Hichilema is a capitalist and that is a life he leads but M’membe postures as a communist at heart but a capitalist in action.

M’membe preaches democracy but is a dictator in practice. Pitted in a moral contest, M’membe can’t defeat Hichilema to it irrespective of the adjudication panel and he is evidently alive to a lot of such facts hence the only way out for him is to embark on an abusive war of words against the UPND leader. It can only stop if Hichilema yields to M’membe’s hypocrisy.

Suffice to say Hichilema is on a right path but only demonised by M’membe for refusing to be a puppet! Brace for more vicious attacks HH.

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