Fred M’membe provides one of the greatest contradictions of our time. After years of breaking bread as a newspaperman, he has somehow reinvented himself as a politician. It may be an experiment that is turning out disastrously, but he is trying hard to find his way in the very rough political terrain. Inevitably he has suddenly gained respect for some of the political players he worked hard to bring down. He has learnt how hard and unforgiving the political field is. It is not his standing as a politician that concerns us but barely the falsity of his political identity.
M’membe has over the years managed to pass himself for a Marxist to the extent that the garb he embraces is that of a Fidel Castro mould. Other than being an ideologue Marxist, everything about M’membe has always been capitalist. There is not one single aspect of his life rather than dressing that embodies socialism. He lives and breathes capitalism. He is a champion of neo-liberalism, even his political orientation is capitalist. Never forget he started in the MMD stable in 1991 that fomented capitalism and was part of the MMD nucleus in its formative years. His Weekly Post was part of the vehicle that helped propel the MMD to power.
Fast forward to the empire that he came to run as The Post Newspapers. While it accorded acres of space to leftist leaning voices, it always retained its capitalistic fervour. He was always running to the United States for funding and even recognition given the bulk of the international awards he raked were from that side of the world. For an ideology that propagates workers’ rights, M’membe may have come heavily short by the manner he ran his empire that even denied its workers the right to belong to a union.
That was one rule that was cast in stone. So much for workers’ rights! We would not belabour at this stage to highlight the opulent capitalist lifestyle he embraces but rather invite his blind disciples in this socialist fantasy to deeply reflect on the hypocrisy of their leader. Not surprisingly he is today in the front seat of those praising the capitalist-driven Fitch Ratings’. So much for contradictions. M’membe is certainly a capitalist cloaked in socialist garb, a hard-nosed one at that.