Deputy Chairman of elections for the Patriotic Front Kelvin Bwalya has challenged United party for National Development (UPND) President Hakainde Hichilema to pick up Post Newspaper’s 6.1 million US dollars ZRA tax bill and pay it up.
In a statement released to the media, Mr Bwalya described the UPND leader as a dangerous man that lacks the temperament of a national leader, but only driven by blind ambition and not national interest.
” We advise you as a self-proclaimed rich businessman and ‘Master of Wisdom’ to do the noble thing; pick up Fred Membe’s 63 billion Kwacha (6.1million US dollars) ZRA tax bill and pay it up. It is within your reach after all as a rich man together with other sympathisers at foreign embassies that pursue tax offenders in their country but want them forgiven in Zambia,” read the statement
Below is the full statement
LAWYER KELVIN BWALYA ASKS HH TO BAIL OUT FRED MEMBE OVER TAX DEBT
26th June 2016, Lusaka—the words coming of the mouth of UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema regarding the legal halting of business at The Post newspaper clearly shows that Hichilema is a “dangerous man that lacks the temperament of a national leader. One who is driven by blind ambition and not national interest.”
There is no other way to describe him ever since he gave President Edgar Lungu an ultimatum to allow the tax defaulting tabloid to resume operations despite a proven case against it the Supreme Court of Zambia.
If this is the kind of leadership we will get from a man who calls himself an ‘an economic messiah’ then the opposition has a long way to go before they can ever convince Zambians to give them a vote to oversee the affairs of Zambia.
How can a leader worth his salt publicly state that a defaulter must be excused from a criminal offence of ‘avoiding to pay taxes that must help Zambians access drugs in hospitals and save babies from dying needlessly at birth, or indeed sinking bore holes so that rural Zambians can access to clean drinking water?
Such rhetoric defeats all logic especially when it comes from a man who for years has been boasting that he has the monopoly of intelligence—this is not intelligent at all and can only lose Mr Hichilema votes in the face of those that want The Post to pay Caesar what belongs to Caesar.
His (HH) statements, however, did not come as total surprise to us looking at his dangerous pattern of desperation to rule Zambia, and turn perhaps mould it into yet another pet business project the way he tinkered with the privatisation of some Zambian assets. For his personal gain.
Justice must be seen to be blind Mr Hichilema you do not dispense a certain dose of justice to Fred Membe (The Post) just because you want him to sing praises for you and demand a different set of justice for those you perceive to be opposed to your self-righteousness.
National leadership does not work like that at all—you cannot shield offenders just because you want to become a President against all odds. If you hypothetically became President how would you expect to:
- Raise money to pay farmers for their maize crop?
- Raise money to buy and distribute in puts to farmers on time?
- Raise money to pay policemen, teachers, nurses and Doctors on time?
- Raise money to construct roads so that goods are moved from points of production to points of consumption or indeed build new schools and rehabilitate old ones, without taxes?
Running a government is not like running a back-yard ranch comrade Hichilema it is very tough business which President Lungu in under a year and half has shown that he can do with utmost resilience and tenacity and objectivity.
We advise you as a self-proclaimed rich businessman and ‘Master of Wisdom’ to do the noble thing; pick up Fred Membe’s 63 billion Kwacha (6.1million US dollars) ZRA tax bill and pay it up. It is within your reach after all as a rich man together with other sympathisers at foreign embassies that pursue tax offenders in their country but want them forgiven in Zambia.
A friend in need after all is a friend indeed as the adage goes, you have already entered into an alliance with The Post to receive favourable coverage, it’s time to honour your end of the bargain instead of issuing empty ultimatums to President Lungu for actions not even remotely linked to him.
President Lungu is busy “sontaling” 8000kms of roads, 650 health posts, universities, agriculture projects, energy projects to reduce load shedding etc. and many other practical issues that shall eventually have a long term positive effect on the future of Zambian children.
“Mr Hichilema use your deep pockets to bail out your friend…he has been around for you. It is time for you to be around for him by removing his name from the tax defaulting shame list.”
Conversely, we call upon Zambians to take a step back and check what kind of leader Hichilema may turn out to be if they gave him a chance to run a government:
One of his (Hichilema) most famous decision after all was to anoint Geoffrey Mwamba as his running mate, a man with a colourful documented police history of beating his wife, his workers and his sister in law, it is all there recorded in the troubled The Post newspaper for everyone to verify.
From appointing a documented violent man, he has now given President Lungu an ultimatum to pardon a newspaper that is taking money out of the ZRA treasury that must be used to buy drugs in hospitals and pay teachers and policemen and soldiers.
We remind dear Zambians that “Fred Membe and The Post are tax offenders while the ordinary Zambians are VICTIMS of The Post decision not to pay taxes, an action that even robbed benefits of their own workers. Ordinary Zambians that pay for importing second hand cars for resale are VICTIMS while The Post are offenders, we must not ever lose sight of this fact. Any attempt to drag President Lungu into the matter is cheap politics by Hichilema.