Fred M’membe’s socialist wave seems to have rubbed the authorities the wrong way. In just 48 hours of the launch of his socialist party, government officials have been falling over each other, not least of them State House press aide Amos Chanda taking a dig at the former Post Newspapers Editor in Chief.
So drastic have the reaction that Cuban Ambassador Nelson Pages has been expelled from Zambia.
Pages may have been a little too reckless when he went on to pass his revolutionary greetings in solidarity with the Socialist Party but in principle his greetings may not have been noticed if State House did not go to town dressing him down. Politically M’membe is still an under-five given that other than using his now defunct newspaper he has never been in the battle field.
M’membe will only begin to learn now how heavy the cross he has chosen to carry is. He will have to come to terms with the hassle of having people waving your party symbol expecting payment in return, nonentities having a field insulting you for merely holding a view different from theirs and there is that awkwardness of being muscled out of political meetings owing to the Public Order Act being selectively implemented.
That is not to justify what goes on but the reality speaks for itself. His political deficiencies were on show on his political initiation when all he could offer to his comrades was an elementary school history lesson. Perhaps his near Chavez like sloganeering as he labelled capitalists as bandits.
But then our government system went into overdrive. It could appear that they are more tormented by the shadow of M’membe’s newspaper days reputation than anything else. Otherwise the biggest winner in this whole spectre is M’membe himself. M’membe may be gleefully watching the spectacle unfold from capitalist symbol mansion on Nangwenya Road.
After all there was nothing socialist about launching a party for the workers in the leafy suburbs of Jesmondine! It was simply a bunch of worn capitalists cloaked as socialists, put simply they are wolves in sheep skin.