Publisher of the defunct Post Newspaper Fred M’membe would have gained a lot of respect from Zambians if he had been brave enough to bite the tax bullet and pay up like American screen icon Wesley Snipes did.
To regain the paper’s lost glory, it will take honesty, integrity and facing the consequences of breaking taxation laws in the country.
This will not be redeemed by lining up political damaged goods such as Dr. Nevers Mumba who talk big but have little or nothing to show for it.
This is because for all the noise M’membe has been making in the last two decades about being “morally superior” above everyone else in Zambia he disagrees with, his mask has come undone.
“If he is as morally superior as he has duped many Zambians to believe, he could have emulated Wesley Snipes instead of screaming foul play to everybody he finds except Santa Claus thus far, about how he is allegedly a victim when he is just a tax offender.”
Real men like Snipes have shown us that if “you do the crime, you must be ready to do the time”.
Timing—contrary to pockets of some western diplomats—does not matter.
After nearly three years in prison, Wesley Snipes was freed in 2013 by the federal government of the United States represented in Zambia by Ambassador Shultz, a sympathiser of tax offender M’membe.
It’s ok for Snipes to pay taxes in the US but not for M’membe to pay taxes in Zambia? The Blade star was released from a Pennsylvania prison according to newspaper reports and transferred to ‘house arrest’ after being arrested in 2010 on charges of federal tax evasion.
These charges are nothing different from the ones M’membe faces locally as the money he did not pay continued to elude President Edgar Lungu’s top list of social services to deliver such as buying drugs to save babies in hospital, bursaries for university students or digging boreholes for clean water in rural Zambia.
Snipes is no longer listed as an inmate at the rural facility, and was for a while listed on the website of the Federal Bureau of Prisons as being under the ‘watchful eye’ of the New York Community Corrections Office, not anymore.
Snipes paid his due to Uncle Sam, something M’membe doesn’t appear to want to do to President Lungu’s administration.
Feds for a while kept a watchful eye on the actor as he finished out his sentence under home confinement while M’membe roams the streets and even printing an underground newspaper against the law, Zambia is great.
The Passenger 57 actor (Snipes) was found guilty of not paying as much as $15million in dividends to the government for his earnings from 1999 to 2001.
M’membe only owes about 6 million US dollars. His lawyers (Snipes) argued that his tax advisers, Douglas P. Rosile and Eddie Ray Kahn, who were also jailed, had duped their client with a claim that there were no laws requiring him to pay tax.
In the case of M’membe, however, it is a clear cut case, he collected money on behalf of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) from his poor workers, the people that bought his newspaper and those that advertised.
“The only thing he forgot to do is pay but unlike Wesley Snipes, he wants Zambians to demonstrate on the streets to say that the newspaper must be re-opened after he practically withheld money from them for buying drugs, paying bursaries for university students and paying civil servants wages on time.”
We all now know Fred M’membe is not a Wesley Snipes or indeed the morally superior figure he has positioned himself to be all these years…he is just a common tax offender.”
Lastly, it is shameful that the UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has auctioned late Anderson Mazoka’s party to the highest bidder.
His apology to the Post Newspaper and the man he once described as a ‘small creature that hurts people’ was the most desperate attempt of the century.
Beyond 11th August 2016, Zambians will retire HH from active politics and UPND will never be the same – after a crushing defeat on 11th August 2016, the party will translate into a political relic, it will fall apart because the centre will not hold anymore.