Don’t be cheated

“Betrayal is common for men with no conscience.”

The argument has now shifted.  It is no longer that President Sata has lost his faculties, resulting in his decision to fire Wynter Kabimba.

The argument is now about corruption perpetrated by a tribal cabal.  These shifting arguments on the corruption mantra belie the corrupt abuse of huge amounts of money in loans and unpaid taxes.

President Levy Mwanawasa saw this subterfuge and suffered the worst possible betrayal of trust.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines betrayal as: “to lead astray, especially seduce; to fail or desert, especially in time of need; and to disclose in violation of confidence.”

President Levy Mwanawasa dismissed Chairman of Task Force on Corruption Mark Chona for among other reasons that he was reported to have held meetings with Fred M’membe the Editor of the Post Newspaper- the corruption crusader.

It will be recalled that M’membe and Mutembo Nchito convinced President Mwanawasa to champion the anti corruption crusade which led to the establishment of the Task Force on Corruption.

Chona told pressmen that, President Mwanawasa told him at State House that he was informed that he met with M’membe.

This was after the relationship between Mwanawasa and M’membe had broken down irretrievably in 2005- the year in which the President wrote his last will and testament in which he said among other things ““I regret that in my zeal to facilitate this fight, I lost friendship with a number of some of my best friends and at many times my own life and that of my family members were threatened. I want to assure the nation that no malice or ill will was intended in these initiatives.

M’membe wrote of Mwanawasa’s, “foolishness, stupidity and lack of humility” and questioned his ability to govern the country”.

He added “President Mwanawasa’s leadership or lack of it, is causing us a lot of concern. The inability to resolve any issue of a national character has become endemic. There is a total failure to rise above petty, partisan personal interests on serious matters of the state. This state of affairs is endangering the very existence of this nation and may drive some of our people into anarchy. Between Kunda and President Mwanawasa, they have enough arrogance to alienate the whole country and run serious government programs as if they were personal matters…. We cannot accept to be led by people who cannot create consensus even on the simplest matters. If they can’t lead, let them go….”

 The differences arose from the manner in which the corruption campaign which M’membe and Mutembo Nchito had sold to the President was being conducted.

President Mwanawasa was disappointed and he said so publicly.

A few years later today it is déjà vu: The revelation by Fred M’membe that he played a role in the appointment of Wynter Kabimba, both as Secretary General of the Patriotic Front and Minister of Justice raises very disturbing questions and parallels.

Ordinarily meetings with the President and advice rendered therein should remain confidential, but this is not the case.  The country is being told that President Sata had more faith in Fred M’membe than his colleagues in Government or Central Committee.

 A clear attempt is being made to drive a wedge between the President and his immediate confidants, in cabinet and Central Committee- to render     them ineffective.

By isolating President Sata and demonizing other government operatives on tribal grounds, a very dangerous seed of inertia is being implanted which may have very deleterious effect on Government. Already Cabinet Ministers are contradicting each other and of the 22 cabinet Ministers and 60 or so Central Committee members only one or two have stood up to the campaign of division.

Unless the government and people of Zambia are vigilant and see the interests being protected – they will struggle in vain.