The Gold Scandal:Is State House the Command Centre?

Fred M’membe

Yesterday, Mr Francis Mateyo, a State House security officer, appeared in the Lusaka Magistrate’s Court alongside other accused persons in the gold gate scandal.

Mr Mateyo is part of the UPND cadres, who were encrypted into the State House security after Mr Hakainde Hichilema took over office as Head of State. Mr Mateyo is believed to be a loyalist and a very close, very trusted and strong ally of the Mr Hichilema, right from his days as an opposition leader.

When we first picked up intelligence about the gold gate scandal at KKIA and the alleged involvement of Mr Mateyo, one of Mr Hichilema’s trusted security officers at State House, we immediately raised alarm and advised that it was vital for Mr Hichilema to control the evil, disgraceful and morally objectionable activities being peddled by certain identifiable individuals within State House.

Regrettably, our well- intentioned counsel was met with the habitual vicious and malicious attack against us. Even the government officially rubbished the alarm we had raised and called a bluff against us. We were denounced, insulted and slandered by Mr Hichilema’s State House controlled rogue or guerrilla media channels – Koswe and Zambia Watchdog.

Our offence was simple: we exposed what had become a very serious and real crime involving one of their own. It’s clear they never wanted the truth about what happened at KKIA to be known. They were determined to put a lid on it and pretend like nothing happened! This explains why even Mr Mateyo’s capture was hidden from the public until yesterday when he was aligned before the courts. The DEC and other law enforcement agencies went to town posturing and parading all other suspects with an exception of Mr Mateyo, why?

The question is: why have things been handled this way? Did they think the gold gate scandal was going to remain hidden from the public? What was the purpose of that arrogance, insults and hostility towards us? With all that has been offloaded so far and many questions still hovering around Mr Hichilema over this scandal: how will the Zambian people believe that justice will be served in this matter and the real culprits brought to book?

And now that it’s obvious that they’re trapped and embarrassed about the way things have turned out; the only word left for Mr Hichilema and his praise singers at this moment is: “You’re on your own”.

But hang on! Not so fast. What has changed? It’s people like Mr Mateyo we cautioned Mr Hichilema about. It’s these same people they sat, drunk and ate with, not so long ago. No wonder, they were so relentless in trying to defend, insult and threaten those who dared to speak the truth about the gold gate scandal. But now that things have gone sour and getting worse rapidly, they shamelessly want to wash their hands off their man.

Clearly, those linked or are close to Mr Hichilema can only be “on their own” once caught, if not caught, they remain trusted and loyal companions of Mr Hichilema and his league. What a mistake? What hypocrisy? What kind of corrupt leadership is this?

Now they are ashamed because one of them has been mentioned in this mess. They are ashamed and speechless because they too have been caught in their own lies, denials, deception and manipulation.

We have not forgotten how haphazard press briefings were called and all manner of lies and theories were made to defend and justify the gold gate scandal, and distance State House from it. Within hours of the scandal blowing up, we saw how the Minister of Mines, Mr Paul Kabuswe became a mineral expert and talked down on all critical voices, including myself with grandiosity and contempt. Similarly, we saw how the Minister of Home Affairs and Internal Security, Mr Jack Mwiimbu warned politicians against scandalizing the Presidency and State House over the gold gate scandal.

So, now that the dirty is out, what has Mr Hichilema, Mr Mwiimbu and Mr Kabuswe got to say about the gold gate scandal? Mr Kabuswe called us foolish. But we ask the same question he asked us during his press briefing at that time: who is looking foolish now?

Well, we have been vindicated. We said it that there was way too much filth and scum in State House. We warned Mr Hichilema but they responded with the usual malice and insults. As the Tongas say: “Yabeja makani baasa”, and the Bembas also say: “Ifyakulya ubushiku fitulila ku malushi”.

But where does this end? Who else is involved? How many “Mateyos” is Mr Hichilema still working with State House today? How deeply involved is State house in this scandal?

That said, we hope Mr Hichilema is treating the Anti-corruption Commission’s US $500,000 bribe investigation against his Solicitor General, and trusted lieutenant and ally, Mr Marshal Muchende, who stands accused of running a bribery scheme, with objectivity and urgency, or else, a similar outcome awaits him.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party



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