In a rebuttal titled “A Quick Response to Fred M’membe’s Critique of HH,” Mr. Mark Simuuwe, a consultant for the United Party for National Development (UPND), has directly addressed the criticisms made by Dr. Fred M’membe, the opposition leader of the Socialist Party, against President Hakainde Hichilema and the UPND government.
Mr. Simuuwe opened his rebuttal by targeting Dr. M’membe’s approach to criticism, stating, “Fred M’membe likes sweeping statements on corruption without citing anybody by name.” He contrasted this with the current government’s transparency and accountability, emphasizing, “Under the UPND New Dawn Government, we have seen ministers, permanent Secretaries getting fired for illegality and other corruption-related matters, and the Anti-Corruption Commission freely investigating such matters.” Highlighting the differences between the UPND and the previous PF government, Mr. Simuuwe noted, “We are coming from a government of over 3000 ghost workers… This simply means they manufactured non-existent civil servants in order to steal public funds. With the clean-up of the civil service record, it is a milestone in the fight against corruption.”
On healthcare, Mr. Simuuwe criticized Dr. M’membe’s lack of factual information, saying, “Fred lacks researched information. What he misses in his critique are facts on available data.” He then provided detailed statistics on the UPND’s healthcare initiatives, stating, “In less than 2 years, UPND has been able to build over 200 health posts across the country under the CDF and employed over 14,000 health workers… This has never happened since independence in Zambia.”
In the economic sector, Mr. Simuuwe addressed the challenges inherited from the PF government, explaining, “The economic situation was firstly messed up by Fred M’membe and his friends…they destroyed the economy by overborrowing until Zambia reached the ICU where UPND found it.” He highlighted the UPND’s efforts to stabilize the situation: “As a solution, the UPND New Dawn government has secured an equity partner from Abu Dhabi to pump in $1.1bn to revamp Mopani…to help fix the currency and claim back lost jobs.”
Addressing transparency and accountability, Mr. Simuuwe pointed out Dr. M’membe’s alleged past discrepancies: “According to the ZRA report then, this is a man who was not transparent with Pay as You Earn at the Post Newspaper. He deducted PAYE from workers at the Post but failed to remit to ZRA.” He contrasted this with the UPND’s commitment to transparency, stating, “Today, in enhancing transparency and accountability, UPND has performed better than Fred M’membe’s PF.”
In his closing remarks, Mr. Simuuwe underscored the UPND’s commitment to addressing the nation’s challenges, despite the difficult legacy left by the previous administration. He stressed, “Citizens can see that [the UPND] does
not mean well for the country,” highlighting the efforts made in various sectors to improve the lives of Zambians.