Winners and Losers After Kabimba’s Expulsion
The sudden firing of Justice Minister and Patriotic Front (PF) Secretary General Wynter Kabimba has hit Zambia like a political earthquake, with some public figures benefiting from the shift, while others may fall through the cracks.
While much has been speculated about the reasons and meaning of Kabimba’s sacking, little has been said about the aftermath. Here we will take a look at the winners and losers:
The Patriotic Front Party
It is a fact that for a while, the Patriotic Front will come out stronger than before, as demonstrated by the widespread street protests celebrating Kabimba’s firing. This is of course related to tribal politics, as many Bembas will not feel they have “reclaimed” the party. It is again another fact that Bembas not only believe that the Patriotic Front is belongs to Bembas, but that Zambia belongs only to the Bembas – which is a mentality that made it difficult for the PF to succeed on a national level for so many years.
This is is what Wynter Kabimba failed to see – he often titled the United Party for National Development the “most tribal party,” but it turns out that the PF is almost as bad. Now that the PF’s goal is to ensure the Bemba dynasty, Kabimba appears naive for believing he could be the successor.
So according to the gospel of the former Justice Minister, we now have two regional parties these being the UPND and the PF. The MMD then becomes the only party with members across tribes, but in much need of organisational reforms.
Speaker Patrick Matibini
It is a fact that Speaker Patrick Matibini was recommended to President Michael Sata for the position of Speaker by his close friend Fred M’membe, an ally to Kabimba.
For those who do not know, Matibini worked with Director of Public Prosecutions Mutembo Nchito when they ran a law firm MNB. Matibini is part of the cartel and he is of course not happy with the dismissal of an ally in the name of Kabimba. It is speaker who worked closely with Kabimba and prepared the motion to remove the immunity of former President Rupiah Banda, breaking basic parliamentary protocol by proceeding to a vote in violation of a court injunction. Yes Matibini and DPP Mutembo Nchito worked with Wynter on the motion. For those interested in the details, you will find out that the motion in Parliament is the exact charge in court. Even the wording, the commas and the full stops. This is a classic example of a failure of teh
It is likely that Matibini may now give the Bemba dominated Executive tough time in parliament. We may now see Matibini siding with the opposition in parliament. He is a wounded Buffalo.
As a key financial supporter of the cartel, the controversial banker Rajan Mahtani finds himself in a very awkward position with the new Bemba-dominated PF, as sources say he was allegedly involved as an adviser to Kabimba’s formation of the company Midland Energy, which is suspected of illegally benefiting from the awarding of a $500 million oil supply contract with Trafigura. Mahtani is alleged to have minted millions of dollars in the deal.
The Finance Bank chairman Mahtani has very poor relations with many prominent Bembas, including the former Defence Minister Geofrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM), whom he has repeatedly mocked and personally attacked on his propaganda news website “Zambian Intelligence News.” He also paid one of his henchmen, Bishop Mambo, who was given a seat on the board of Zambezi Portland Cement, to go out an attack Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda and call for his resignation. These insults will not be forgotten easily.
Mahtani may for a while pretend to support the Bemba clique in the PF but will be preparing to leave the country. He may also have another option. He may, like Guy Scott, quickly switch sides and send demand letters to the Post Newspapers Fred M’membe and DPP Mutembo Nchito for the money they owe Finance Bank from the bankruptcy of Zambian Airways. This move would make him a friend of the Bemba clique in the PF, but it is difficult to say if that would be enough to provide trust.
The dismissal of Kabimba may represent an enormous opportunity for Given Lubinda. To replace Kabimba, a Sala by tribe, President Michael Sata may bring in Lubinda, who is a Lenje, preserving the PF’s multi-tribal image. Lubinda could be welcomed by the Bembas for short period of time, but sources tell us that they would eventually deal with him just like they have dealt with Kabimba. The day that the Bembas realise that Lubinda haspPresidential ambitions, that is the day Lubinda will be shown the door.
Non-Bemba Ministers and MPs
The dismissal of Kabimba has brought shivers to non-Bemba Members of Parliament and Ministers. They are now face-to-face with reality. PF is a party by Bembas and for the Bembas. Gender Minister Inonge Wina, who is the aunt of Post Editor Fred M’membe and a member of the cartel, is likely on her way out. Obvious Mwaliteta, Wylbur Simusa, and Emmanuel Chenda if they had any doubt now know that their days in the PF are numbered. They can stay in the PF for as long as they want provided that they do not express any ambition to lead the PF.
Heads of Government Departments
Wynter Kabimba had tried to bring in a number of non-Bembas into the government to diversify the party’s appeal. People like Alita Mbawe from the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and Roslyn Wandi from the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) are now an endangered species. The Bemba clique in the PF may want everyone who got a job through Kabimba to go. This means that a number of diplomats may also be booted out, including several District Commissioners.
Yes some people just like Kennedy Kamba have already started shifting allegiance to the Bemba clique but the fact is that they will not be trusted.
Wynter Kabimba’s departure may be good riddance for his many critics, but the development is not good for Zambia as one united nation.
The leadership shift in the PF now means that the party is once again a Bemba party. Big positions in PF are for Bembas and Bembas alone. The downfall of Kabimba may change political dynamics.
Fred M’membe and the Post
It was very interesting to observe during Kabimba’s final days that the coverage in the state-owned Times of Zambia and Zambian Daily Mail was the opposite of what was published in the Post. The two state newspapers were defending Chikwanda, while the Post was attacking Chikwanda … usually the three main newspapers in Zambia operated in a coordinated fashion to deliver the same pro-government, pro-PF propaganda message.
Now we might see the Post return to its former style of attacking Michael Sata, whom they famously titled “Ukwa.” From 1992 to 2008, the Post was relentless in their attacks against Sata, labeling him “corrupt,” a “thief,” a “liar,” and every other manner of insult.
We may now see the Post Newspapers begin exposing the corruption in PF that it never did before hand … and they should have their hands on loads of compromising materials.
The alleged corruption issues in the PF are widely known, but Mmembe could not expose it because he wanted to preserve Kabimba. Now that Kabimba is down, and now that the OP is hunting down his network one by one, maybe we will see a change of coverage.