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Zambia: Who Do We Believe Online?

Recently a highly incriminating email purportedly written by a senior member of an opposition party to his secretary general was leaked to and published by the online news website Zambian Watchdog. However, netizens have taken it with a pinch of salt.

The email, allegedly written by Patriotic Front national executive committee local government chairman Given Lubinda, to Wynter Kabimba, the secretary general, ahead of the party’s first ever national convention to elect office holders, highlights issues that the ruling MMD always talks about against the opposition party such as sourcing funds from Taiwan in return for promises of huge tracks of land in Zambia.

Given Lubinda, a member of parliament for a Lusaka-based constituency national executive committee local government chairman. Photo courtesy of Zambian Watchdog

Lubinda is a member of parliament for a Lusaka-based constituency while Kabimba is a practicing lawyer and former mayor for Lusaka.

The PF leader, Michael Sata who is posing a serious challenge to the MMD’s 20 year hold on power in the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in the country, has always been critical of Chinese investments in the country, calling the investors from China “infestors” mostly because of their poor treatment of Zambian workers.

Sata has in the past indicated that he would recognise the sovereignty of Taiwan and open diplomatic relations with the island nation which mainland China claims to be its wayward province, hoping to bring back to the fold one day. Zambia and China have a long standing diplomatic and economic relationship dating back decades.

The crown of that relationship is the 1,700 mile Tanzania Zambia Railway line stretching from Kapiri Mposhi in central Zambia to the port of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania. Apart from constructing roads, bridges and stadia, the Chinese also built an ultra-modern textile factory which has since scaled down production because of the general collapse of the textile industry caused mainly by cheap imported second hand clothes, and the irony of ironies, cheap new clothes from China itself.

The email also tries to unsettle the support base of the PF in Lusaka by a threat to demolish unplanned townships in central Lusaka whose land would allegedly be given to the Taiwanese for redevelopment. Resettling the residents of these townships has been a very sensitive issue even under the first president Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s leadership under which they were established.

The second president Frederick Chiluba who ruled Zambia from 1991 to 2001 and empowered Zambians by selling them council, government and parastatal company housing stocks, could not touch these townships, neither could Zambia’s third president, the late Levy Mwanawasa.

Below is the email in full:

From: lubindag2006@hotmail.com
To: wmk@zamnet.zm
Subject: PF 2011
Date: Fri, 1 Jul 2011 13:17:32 +0000

kindly go thru the points limited below that urgently need to be addressed.
(a)The party has received as at today a total of $45m from our friends in Taiwan and afganistant to help towrds this year elections.we need to spend $300,000=00 per constituency. At the same time ,lets allow whoever wants to join us from the donate,but we let the grass roots pick candidates,apart from matero and Lusaka central where sampa and sara longwe will stand
(b)we need to find ways of keeping george ,mike and mbita in check as these are people that cant be trusted.let us not forget that these are the same people that were busy saying bad things on the party leadership. l also understand your misgivings towards amos ,but for now lets use them until after we win the elections.
(c)Am not for the view taken by the party in addressing the youth unemployment in lusaka and the copper belt.We cant make it compulsory for all unemployed youth to be drafted into the amry thru a 3 months crash coures and later on be sent to war torn countries like Sudan and Afghanistan as peace keepers. This isn’t the way to do things as we shall be be sending these youth into unknown territories,when the western countries are pulling out.Les look at the negative effect it will have on the party.
(d)Also the land undertakings that have been made to the Taiwanese ,will result into chawama,kanyama and mandevu compounds being partially demolished and l foresee riots in lusaka ,even if its done using presidential powers.
(e)kindly avoid these fund rising trips ,let Mr Chona,Mr Mungomba or Mr Temba or his young man Don handle it. also how far are the cars arranged by ABC,and let s make sure the party vice presidency is given to westerner if we to get votes in western province.
(f)advice the civil society organisations we working with to operate from Kapingila house to enable them look independent from our party as we also see that our funding to them is being used correctly.
(g) As we go to Kabwe ,lets find ways of removing this tag we have as a party were Sata is PF and PF is Sata

Lubinda has denied being the author of the email and has reported the matter to the polices. He says the contents of the email were the work of a hacker.

Should Zambians believe the Zambian Watchdog? Is the email authentic? How was it obtained? These are some of the questions that readers have raised on the post's comments section:

MULENGA wants to know where the Zambian Watchdog got the email from:

Zambian Watchdog where did you get this email. If It was copied to you or whoever was copied or forwarded why haven’t you shown the details? Just like you have shown who sent it and who received. It is unethical to hack into someone email box.

msana wanzili's advice:

Please strive to report only the truth This doesn’t look to be true. Ba Watchdog, find better stories. But its interesting

Choker wrotes:

These actions are TREASOUS [treasonous].SATA to demolish Chawama ,Mandevu compounds for the TAIWANESE.I thought this bastard wanted empower Zambians now his
Plot is to sell land in Lusaka to Asians!
He is GETTINg funding from Afghanistan A Sponsor of terrorism Does
THE American AmbAssador know this?? After SATA once compared
Himself To Bin Ladin serious lack of foresight.Thanks Given for your
Info.Nafuti (Again) 20HH (Hakainde Hichilema, opposition UPND leader).

James Chola does not know whether to believe the story or not:

This is extremely interesting. I don’t (know) whether to believe this or not but there seems to be a lot of truth in this. Its not beyond Sata to sens [send] youths to the army is it, man of action? And getting money from Taiwan and Afghanistan seems just within Sata´s ability. Lets watch this.

“PF raw and uncut,” says Potent maxmus:

Pf raw and uncut.the money from afghanistan is not from the afghans but from the usa so that zambian soldiers can go and die as peace keepers once the us withdraws.what pf doesnt realise is the gross implications here as alqaeda will now make zambia a legitimate target.

pafwenamwine notes that hacking is a criminal offence all over the world:

ZDW you deeply know that hacking someone’s e-mail is criminal throughout the world. Hackers are facing criminal cases. If you dont know Murdock media Mogul, the owner of sky, fox and news of the world is employees are facing facing criminal charges for hacking into telephone voicemails for celebrities in United Kingdom. News of the World former editor who recently was David Cameroon ‘s Director of communication at No10, resigned because of this charges of hacking. Surely ZWD you need to be careful and dont cry to be the victim of the the law. Hacking is a serious crime , you can be jailed for many years. Wilkleaks founder is facing criminal charges and may end up in USA.

At the end of the day, the questions to ask is was this email truly written by Lubinda to Kabimba and how was it obtained? If it wasn’t penned by Lubinda, what was the motive of the author if not to gain political mileage out of it?

Above all, should the readers believe its contents or not? Who should we believe online?

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