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Hunt for Successor 43: Sata serves at the pleasure of Mmembe

Columns Hunt for Successor 43: Sata serves at the pleasure of Mmembe

The Post's editor-in-chief, Fred M'membe
The Post’s editor-in-chief, Fred M’membe

By Field Ruwe

Strange bedfellows

It is laughable how in his editorial of June 6, 2013, titled “Lies about Zambia,” Fred Mmembe of The Post passionately defends Michael (as he calls him). Indeed “politics makes strange bedfellows.” I didn’t know the 54 year-old Mmembe and 76 year-old president Michael Sata were on first-name basis. It is a no-no in our culture. More so that “Michael” is our head of state. Decorum calls for reverence, for god’s sake.
But again, you can’t blame poor young Mmembe. He lacks journalistic proficiency and aptitude. In journalism if you use the source’s first and last name the first time in an article, you must use only the last and not the first name on the rest of the references. In this case it is not “Michael” but “Sata;” or “Banda” and not “Rupiah.”
For Mmembe die-hards and fogies who blog rabidly, let me elaborate. In journalism we do not use courtesy titles such as Mr. Sata, or Mrs. Banda unless they are part of a direct quotation or are needed to differentiate between people who have the same last name. Presidents, living and deceased, can be called by their last name—Chiluba, Obama, Thatcher, Kenyatta, Nyerere and not Frederick, Barack, Margaret, Jomo, Julius. It is simply rude and discourteous.
So, where does Mmembe pluck the courage to treat the president with such contemptuous insolence and impertinence? Why has Sata not admonished him? I will add one more question: why does Mmembe feel all-powerful, threatening, and invulnerable?

Why Mmembe feels all-powerful

Reason: Mmembe knows King Cobra too well. He knows that the cobra does not have the venom he claims to possess; that his sharp teeth are as brittle as chalk; that his scary semantics are simply a front. Ladies and gentlemen, Mmembe knows that Sata brings with him a heavy baggage to the presidency; that president Sata is unprincipled, “satanic,” a liar, demagogue, thug, corrupt, and that he is a plunderer of our assets. I am quoting Mmembe verbatim. The words are his, and not mine. Now, before I am accused of libel, slander and defamation let me share with the reader the source of the afore-mentioned denigrating terms.

The term “Satanic” is contained in The Post editorial entitled “Watch satanic deeds.” In it Mmembe writes: “No one should believe the satanic pie in the sky promises. We all know this man and his satanic deeds. His deeds are there for all to see. They speak of him and who he is.”
The word “Satanic” can be defined as being profoundly cruel or evil; fiendish.

What the Post wrote about Sata between 1990-2011

Between 1990 and 2011, Mmembe assigned reporters, including George Chellah, Amos Malupenga, and those now serving as diplomats to track and trace the political and private life of Sata. What they discovered was glaring and is best described by Mmembe as satanic.
The Post’s findings made Mmembe to conclude thus:

“It is clear Sata will say anything if it helps him get elected…this is why people must listen very carefully to the promises Sata is making. They must ask themselves ‘what is this man’s true legacy?’ It is true he has done some good here and there. But his destructive traits far outweigh any benefits.”

Notice how Mmembe qualifies the word “destructive” with “thug.” He continues:

“who wants to return to the vigilante days? Who wants to return to the days when the corrupt, the crooked and the most shrewd reign[ed] supreme?” He is talking about the early MMD days.

In the early 1990s, Mmembe and Sata, both pioneers of the MMD, helped to create a climate in which the MMD frustrated and defeated KK. Sata, as MMD National Secretary, orchestrated a series of MMD vigilante demonstrations that were based on wanton destruction and looting in both Lusaka and on the copperbelt. Lives were lost.

Later Mmembe would write:

“In 2001 we saw Sata as national secretary of the MMD unleash a corruption-funded thuggery on Chiluba’s political opponents within the MMD. Ministers who did not agree with the third-term campaign, which Sata was championing, were being beaten and harassed in all sorts of ways.”

It is possible that, had Sata not embraced Mmembe this time around, Mmembe’s editorials would have read something like,

“I told you Michael was a thug.

The violence being committed by the PF militias is reminiscent of his yesteryear crimes. It is 2013, Michael has continued with his thuggish behavior. Whereas he orchestrated violence on the opposition from the MMD headquarters, he’s now doing it from State House. Not once has he condemned the behavior of his militia. He is glad they are beating the hell out of his opponents. That’s his nature. We have a violent president on our hands.”
The words “liar” “unprincipled” and “plunderer” are contained in several editorials. “This man has no principles,” Mmembe writes. “It is the same mouth that only yesterday was promising to defend Chiluba that is today saying he will not defend him and his fellow plunderers.”

Not once has he condemned the behavior of his militia. He is glad they are beating the hell out of his opponents.

It has always been Mmembe’s conviction that Sata, a one-time staunch supporter of FTJ, participated in the plundering of Zambia’s assets and shared the spoils. Going by the editorials, it is clear that Mmembe took a keen interest in the Zamtrop account and followed the movement of the money and kept record of the people involved. That’s why he was bold enough to call FTJ a thief and Sata an accomplice. Later, he was incensed when Sata openly proclaimed that he would stop the prosecution of FTJ, Xavier Chungu, and Faustin Kabwe.

In his editorial titled “Sata is not a Messiah,” Mmembe writes: “It is not difficult for anyone to realize or guess why Mr. Sata today has become the most ardent defender of people who plundered public resources. This is simply because they are his financiers,” clearly insinuating that Sata is a corrupt politician.

Today, an anti-Sata-Mmembe would have led us to where the Zamtrop money is buried. It is possible he would be insisting that Xavier Chungu and Faustin Kabwe be rearrested to help recover the money. He would be calling Sata a thief and a plunderer and accusing him of having pocketed $40 million said to be in the Zamtrop account. Where is the money?” he would be asking.

In “Don’t allow thieves to govern” editorial, Mmembe writes: [Sata] is a populist who will say what he thinks his audience wants to hear…he has no morals to defend and no principles to fight for.” He calls him a “demagogue” of the worst kind. In his editorial “Cheap demagogy” Mmembe writes: “Zambians should not be cheated by the demagogy that Sata is engaging in. This man will say anything to be elected but Zambians will not be fooled.”
In other words Sata is a liar.

Had Mmembe remained a critic of Sata, he would  have written; “I told you so. Michael lied that he would put money in our pockets in 90 days. That’s who he is, a liar who will do anything to win an election.”

Questions surrounding Sata’s origin

Don’t forget that Mmembe has often called Sata dishonest because of the president’s ambiguous and highly suspicious background. His Wikipedia biography is a slap in the faces of Zambians. Sata himself has claimed to have been born under a tree. Where in Mpika? We do not exactly know. He does not tell us who he grew up with in Mpika. There is no mention of the schools he attended; the games he played; his best friends; his teachers; and level of education. None of his close friends and teachers has cleared the air; and none of those who served in the police force have surfaced to tell us why he was dismissed. Chiluba tried to expose Sata when the two became rivals.

Here are Chiluba’s own words:

“Let me ask Mr. Sata to tell the country the truth. Were you a police constable in the colonial government which was oppressing us or a freedom fighter? Were you imprisoned for your participation in the fight for independence? Or can you say why you were jailed and dismissed from the police force? Remember I was in office for ten years as President and I had records on every one of my Ministers. As the appointing authority of the Prisons and Police Services Commission I came to know the truth about you Mr. Sata.”

Mmembe knows why Sata was dismissed—he has his own version. He knows how Sata got to England to work as a sweeper, and his role as a member of UPP. Lest we forget, it is Mmembe’s newspaper that first brought Sata’s origin to the fore. At the height of KK’s citizenship wrangle, The Post reported for the first time that Sata was from Tanzania and that he came to Zambia as a child. This was after Mmembe and his staff had reported that FTJ was a Congolese whose father was Luka Chabala Kafupi.

Sata’s failure to provide a succinct biography to the media has pushed the rumors to another level. In 2001, his close associate, Willie Nsanda revealed that Sata’s middle-name was not Chilufya, but Zondwa and that he indeed was a Tanzanian. Years later, MMD Chief Government spokesman Ronnie Shikapwasha and other opponents challenged Sata to come clean and tell the nation who he really was.

Sata assassination hoax staged from The Post offices?

This is the kind of stuff that makes Sata serve at the pleasure of Mmembe. He has removed the venom from his fangs and can get anything he wants from him. He can even cause the president to fake his own assassination. I have said it before and will say it again that the Sata assassination hoax of January 23, 2012 was the biggest lie ever told. It did not originate from the UK or US, but from The Post offices.

In my article of January 29, 2012 titled “Did Fred M’membe stage the Assassination Hoax?” I offer my own version of how I still believe the hoax was planned and provide “evidence” in form of mails from The Post Managing Editor Bivan Saluseki to me. The prank was staged by Saluseki, Mmembe, and George Chellah. They altered the Wikipedia biography of Sata and deleted it soon after alarming Zambians. Defense Minister GBM vowed to find the anonymous editor and “bring him to book.” He has since kept quiet about it.

The Wikipedia deleted version can still be detected by the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Department (JWID) by using its high-level intelligence communications system. What happened to the US and British embassies’ pledge to help the Zambian government to catch the culprit? Saluseki, Mmembe, and Chellah ought to be arrested and subjected to a polygraph test provided by the U.S. or UK. Of course they won’t because Sata has called off the investigation. Reason: It points back to the trio.


Mmembe is a dangerous self-serving opportunist and a neurotic liar who can best be described as a predator and a narcissist whose behavior is characterized by egotism, vanity, and pride. He seeks self-gratification, and domination. He sees himself as a powerful and influential individual and enjoys dumping shame onto others. He truly believes that people are hooked to the stuff he peddles. His hypocritical “Lie about Zambia” editorial is preposterous. Read it again and you will see him licking his own wounds.

The hastily written article exposes him as a desperate megalomaniac and a ranting media neophyte who is suffering from a great deficit of self-esteem. His claim about an international campaign to discredit the president and Zambia is outrageous and another of his many lies. In his usual witch-hunting stance he fails to mention the names of “some of the Zambians and their foreign agents” involved in this so-called syndicate created to “discredit Zambia and the government of Michael Sata.” Like the narcissist he is, he casts his net wide to implicate others.

Mmembe wishes to give the impression that critics of the president and his PF party are paid conspirators and traitors who hate Zambia. Instead of directing his raw sentiments on former president Rupiah Banda and naming all his collaborators, he is dragging us all in. There is no Zambian who is campaigning against his own country. Of course Zambians are free to campaign against Sata if they find him wanting, just as Mmembe himself did in his quest for adulation, and admiration. Mmembe, of all the people, does not have the moral compass to stop others from expressing the same freedom of expression he enjoyed as a renegade.

Field Ruwe is a US-based Zambian media practitioner, historian, and author. He is a PhD candidate at George Fox University and serves as an adjunct professor (lecturer) in Boston. ©Ruwe2012


  1. What a sad nonsensical story that serves no purpose and is served at tickling the author’s ego.

    Abysmal attempt, It is like reading a Grade 9 comprehension text.


    • Bet you didn’t even read it but wanted to be the first to comment.Go have some milk and cookies,let the adults analyze the issues raised here.We’ll call you when we are done.
      I think its serious if someone is holding our President hostage.Its true that the King cobra seems to have lost his venom since stepping into statehouse.Mmembe must have some knowledge of Sata that scares the daylights out of him thus sending him hiding in the shadows of statehouse.

    • Mushota did you read the article or have u ever had a chance to read fred’s editorials? This guy is saying the truth about fred the self proclaimed messiah

    • Well said Mushota.This loser of an author basically has no point to drive home.His hatred for Sata and Membe including his thirst to satisfy his bruised ego makes him to write crap like this.It should be a curse to be a failed comedian like this Ruwe character.

    • When you become an agent of satan your thinking ceases and you will always see the good things to be bad and vice versa . The writer has given you the true picture why Sata serves at the pleasure of Mmembe and has quoted the words of Mmembe , Chiluba, Kaunda and not his. Even mad chaps from chinama mental hospital are much better than you. I don’t know how I can even describe your lunacy. Your time to see is coming soon when Jesus will light up your kingdom of darkness. When you see this light it will be too late for you and you will be relocated to the land of the wicked for mass destruction by divine earthquake, thunder and brimstone. Start thinking positively now and grow up in your thinking. The writer has given Zambians a very vital piece of information to remind Sata & Mmembe.

    • Mushota walishota mumyaka… You’re too young to understand what Field Ruwe writes about. (You see, am not saying Field!)

    • You need more diapers mufyoto . You missed the facts by commenting before reading. Mmembe will soon comit suicide coz the embarassment from Sata is slowly making him run out of how to defend him.

    • Ichisungu ba PHD student: ……and is served at tickling (lifting?) the author’s ego.” Efinshi ifi? Balanda ati: It is aimed at tickling the author’s ego

  2. Well said Mr Luwe, M’membe’s behavior is deplorable. These are people willing to do anything to have their way in Zambia. First its true Sata is man with a Satanic heart and he does not care who gets hurt or dies in the process.

    Back to M’membe, Zambians should watch this guy, he knows very well what awaits him and his friends if HH wins, they will do anything, and i mean anything to make sure the criminals in Wynter Kabimba stay in power to protect them. But i have news for them, its not going to happen

  3. In our culture, well, maybe we shouldn’t place our leaders on such pedestals. I am a big fun of Fred’s so I am probably biased … I also generally support what Michael is trying to do. Yes, if I had a private moment with Mr President, I would tell him where I think he can do better. Yes, PF has made some mistakes and will probably make many more until we retire them. The difference with MMD is that I do not see (at least not in the President) the criminal underpinnings that were so blatantly displayed by the Chiluba & Rupiah administrations.

    • Its because you are blinded by loyalty to PF my dear. Read what @ King fisher just said including Kabimba’s secrete travel to Europe immediately he became chair of an oil tribunal whose results are not even in the public domain. Or maybe just open your eyes a little wide, thats all you need. By the way Wynter Kabimba spoke to investigating officers using a megaphone from the conforts of a car!!!!!????. Did you say you don’t see any tale tale signs of crime?

  4. Mmembe thinks he controls public opinion. The author is right. Mmembe is the worst sort of a self serving hypocrite to have ever walked this land!

  5. Grumbling & bickering wont take us any where as long as there re no recomendations fr decision making.Sata is Zambian & democraticaly elected.Let us check our launguage against the Head of State.Are you ready yourself to sho & prove beyond reasonable doubt Data is a Tanzanian?Treason is a serious offense whose maximum sentence is sometthng terrible.Some articles dont evn afect political progress as long as tht person is progresing belive u me.Age does not guarantee an individual’s pragmatic performance.Policy making is not runing companies.EEnvisioned leaders will ever succed not all the time ratling around.

    • Just tell us which school Sata attended in Zambia or Northern Rhodesia then and give us names of at least two of his classmates?These are seriuos doubts about President Sata!!!

  6. Ba Ruwe the reason behind the behavior of Membe can be answered in one simple sentence which is “There are no permanent enemies in politics.” Why do you think HH is now dining with MMD ? And why do you think KK has now embraced Sata after he said that Sata can`t rule Zambia ? Membe has to choose where to lean politically just like in the states you find certain newspapers and TV stations leans toward certain parties and biased toward others.People change with time and so are the views.

  7. @satanic,” a liar,…… No need to read any further after this line. The article is just rubbish with unsubstantiated claims. It defies reason to argue or even debate with whoever wrote this silly article. If people are going to publish comments they should at least check that there facts are sound.

    • How much are you earning at the Post these days? You know where your bread is buttered so you have to rant the way you are doing but think of your children and their children.If you can’t think that far ahead think of your brothers,sisters parents who don’t work at the post or serving in diplomatic services.We only have one Zambia.should your boss bring it to ruin?

    • @ Lusakaboy Unsubstantiated? Do u know what that word means? Ruwe is quoting The Post verbatim and showing you how the paper changes its stance at the whim of its editor and you say unsubstantiated? Go to school!

  8. sad that your paper is driven by hatred.sorry you will not the paper to bring about change but us the people of zambia.shame


  10. It is gratifying to see people like Field Ruwe overflowing with intelligence that cannot be compared with that of most people in the journalistic family in Zambia. Ruwe is Zambian….at heart.

    • No he is not. He has said himself that he came from malawi and hence probably the audacity to be so anti Zambian governments. The PF government is not the only one Field has vilified but all previous governments have had a taste of his wrath. Probably, that’s why his parents ran from malawi to come and settled in Zambia. Otherwise, he could not have survived under Kamuzu Banda.

  11. But where was this Ruwe when the post referred to mwanawasa(mhsrp)as levy?I think he has some personal issues with Fred.

  12. No amount of name calling will help develop the country. Like him or not SATA is the president and as responsible citizens we need to assist him to drive the nation in the right direction. If he and his team do not do a good job Zambians will dismiss them in 2016. Where we want Zambia to be in the next 50 years should be our concern for now, and every citizen must play a part. Respect must be a virtual lest insults and hatred preoccupy our minds at the expense of doing well. Let us be responsible and understand that our children read our comments.

    • @Chester, you are so right. People have spent more time on finding faults that contribute objectively to the good cause of our country.

  13. This is the most useless, evil and barbaric article I have ever read. Mr. Field Ruwe, there are good things Sata did but you have never mentioned them in your article. If you have no clue about Sata’s origin, I can give you all the information about his origin and birth place. I grew up right there in Mpika. If you have nothing to do, please stop farting here, you better go to toilet and defacate all your AMAFI there!! Don’t write articles that are biased, be genuine in all your concerns. U’re the most useless professor and dull lecturer I have ever seen. I wouldn’t even come for advise. You say u’re successful and you live in rented house. Stop!Stop! exposing your ignorance

    • How much are you earning at the Post these days? You know where your bread is buttered so you have to rant the way you are doing but think of your children and their children.If you can’t think that far ahead think of your brothers,sisters parents who don’t work at the post or serving in diplomatic services.We only have one Zambia.should your boss bring it to ruin?

  14. Zebige & Hater re right bt this Ruwe…l dont knw wht grdge is tryng to portray on Membe.Does HH consult u who he interacts with? So wht of Membe u callous ineptitude profesor?Dont u ve anythng to publish?U go the hog talkng & insultng pipo at wil jst like that, whts wrong with u?So Sata has no details on his NRC regardng vilage,place of birth & district?U nicompompoopp.Adress issues moreover policy maters.So Sata ws eroneously inagurated?Do u knw the gravity of yr statement?Watch out & b very careful.

  15. Zambia is finally ruled by a man of East African origin called Michael mwakazondwa.Good stuff from Willy Nsanda.

  16. Thank you Field for exposing Fred for the double tongued opportunist he is. And some people gave this chameleon a journalism award!

  17. Ruwe is callous enough to expose Membe. Most Zambian journalists can’t because they are all cowards. This is because they are scared of the unknown. Once they perceive someone to be ‘connected’ they invent in their minds networks of Special branch operatives coming for them if they dare speak ill of the connected citizen.
    Membe is a politician who knows how to use blackmail even if its not working. After being chucked out of the MMD, Mmembe tried to blackmail Chiluba by being loud about any of Chiluba’s shortcomings. Chiluba was as stubborn as most short people and never gave in. Membe tried the same tactic with Levy and with Banda. Sata mistakenly thought Membe would influence the electorate and thus coopted him. Now Mmembe has finally got what he wanted all along since 1991…

  18. Cont’d.
    Now Mmembe has finally got what he wanted all along since 1991: Political recognition. From here he can now plot how he can rise up the political ladder he had briefly abandoned to masquerade as a journalist

  19. And people still read The Post after this kind of exposure? You would have to be an unthinking imbecile to buy a paper so hypocritical.

  20. And people still read The Post after this kind of exposure? You would have to be an unthinking imbecille to buy a paper so hypocritical.

  21. I see no reason why I shouldn’t applaud Mushota. You are a man of your words. You can now remove the female avatar…

  22. Field, your article might have been taken a little bit more serious had you not gone ballistic against Mmembe and President Micheal Sata. I think yours is a personal vendetta against Mmembe who has succeeded where you failed as a journalist by creating his own newspaper however biased it might be. Hope you can address this same article to Mmembe himself and lets see what he can equally dig about you.

    • Journalists dont have to start their own newspapers. Check out the developed world all newspapers and news organisations are started by businessmen who then go on to engage journalists. Journalism is not a money spinning profession to allow for its employees to invest

  23. Fred M’membe was not even a Journalist when he was bold and courageous enough to form an independent newspaper called the Weekly Post in 1991. He has achieved so much that those who call themselves ‘real’ Journalists have not been able to achieve. He is a thorn in the flesh to some envious people

  24. Leave Membe ve yr own publication as a journalist othr than condeming his publication.Compare Membe’s publication to the paupa publictions Natio & Iror!Work hard u myopic analysts.Analyse beyond yr nose & citicise were its due.Why yurping over yr coleague investment & insulting buyers of his popular Post paper.

    • How much are you earning at the Post these days? You know where your bread is buttered so you have to rant the way you are doing but think of your children and their children.If you can’t think that far ahead think of your brothers,sisters parents who don’t work at the post or serving in diplomatic services.We only have one Zambia.should your boss bring it to ruin?

  25. I’m just wondering what the point of this article is. It is clearly a very personal attack on people with whom the author seems to have an axe to grind for whatever reasons. The quotations may be accurate but the article is just too personal to be of any value to anyone else other than the author.

  26. All these rhetorics are nonsense!!!It does not matter what you say here,Sata is president whether u like it or not!People voted for him and there is nothing you can do about it-not even meembe.You are the same chaps who are busy peddling lies about our country.AS far as Iam concerned,you are more fiendish than the devil!!!I mean,so what if meembe has a change of heart?Sata is probably not the same as he used to be;pipo change!

    • How much are you earning at the Post these days? You know where your bread is buttered so you have to rant the way you are doing but think of your children and their children.If you can’t think that far ahead think of your brothers,sisters parents who don’t work at the post or serving in diplomatic services.We only have one Zambia.should your boss bring it to ruin?

  27. Unsubstantiated? Do u know what that word means? Ruwe is quoting The Post verbatim and showing you how the paper changes its stance at the whim of its editor and you say unsubstantiated? Go to school!

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