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Statement of the Socialist Party on the death of Diego Maradona

Statement of the Socialist Party on the death of Diego Maradona Featured

The Socialist Party (Zambia) joins the progressive world in mourning Diego Maradona.

Maradona, anti-imperialist, socialist and arguably the greatest football player of all time passed away yesterday at the age of 60.

Maradona was a leftist on the football fields and also in politics. As a football player he tirelessly fought against corruption in the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), which he compared to a mafia.

He struggled to unionize football players and in the late 90s, Maradona, with other prominent stars, formed the International Association of Professional Football Players to defend players’ rights.

Maradona, also known as “El 10”, openly showed his support to left-wing, socialist and progressive movements and governments in the world and specifically in Latin America. He also openly defied imperialism and colonialism and was a firm supporter of the Palestinian cause saying, “In my heart I am Palestinian. I am a defender of the Palestinian people, I respect them and sympathize with them, I support Palestine without fear.”

He proudly wore a Che Guevara tattoo on his arm and a Fidel Castro one on his leg. He was a close friend and supporter of Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and Fidel Castro among other socialist leaders. He once said, “I believe in Hugo Chávez. I am Chavista. Everything that he and Fidel do, from my point of view, is the best.”

As a socialist and anti-imperialist Maradona remained a committed supporter of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution and progressive social movements across Latin America, never losing hope in the poor and the oppressed to emancipate themselves.

Maradona said, “I am from the left in the sense that I am for the progress of my country, to improve the life of poor people, so that we all have peace and freedom. We cannot be bought, we are lefties on the feet, we are lefties on the hands, and we are lefties on the mind. That has to be known by the people, that we say the truth, that we want equality, and that we don’t want the Yankee flag planted on us.”

Rest in anti imperialist and socialist power, Diego Armando Maradona!

Issued by Fred M’membe, President, on behalf of the Politburo of Socialist Party (Zambia)

Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali

Statement of the Socialist Party on the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

Statement of the Socialist Party on the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Featured

Today, Wednesday 25 November 2020 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and marks day one of the 16 Days of Activism.

Each year, from November 25 to December 10, World Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism campaign calls for action against one of the world’s most persistent violations of human rights – violence against women.

During the 16 Days of Activism, the Socialist Party unites with people around the world to raise awareness about gender-based violence, challenge discriminatory attitudes and struggle for improved laws and services to end violence against women for good.

This year the Socialist Party joins the world to campaign for improving of informal women workers – domestic workers, home-based workers, street vendors, agricultural workers, waste-pickers, and sex workers – whose lives and livelihoods have been acutely impacted by COVID-19 and the unprecedented economic crisis that has followed.

On November 25, 1960, sisters Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa Mirabal, three political activists who actively opposed the cruelty and systematic violence of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, were clubbed to death and dumped at the bottom of a cliff by Trujillo’s secret police.

The Mirabal sisters became symbols of the feminist resistance, and in commemoration of their deaths November 25 was declared International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in Latin America in 1980. This international day was formally recognize by the United Nations in 1999.

In June 1991, the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), alongside participants of the first Women’s Global Institute on Women, Violence and Human Rights, called for a global campaign of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

The 16 days begins with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and ends with International Human Rights Day on December 10 – highlighting that violence against women is a fundamental violation of human rights.

Violence against women continues to occur at an alarming scale in Zambia and indeed in every country in the world. Too often it is accepted as normal behavior and the global culture of discrimination against women allows violence to occur with impunity.

Violence against women is a global problem and it requires global action.

To end violence against women, we need to challenge the attitudes that perpetuate, rationalize and normalize that violence, and deny women’s right to safety. Men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators of gender-based violence. To see violence truly eliminated, the attitudes of men need to change.

Shifting these behaviors is hard and slow, but gender equality means all of us, and working with all genders is the only way to see true change.

Violence against women is not inevitable; it is preventable.

Issued by Fred M’membe on behalf of the Politburo of the Socialist Party

Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali

Caught in a web of denials and refusals

Caught in a web of denials and refusals Featured

For a long time, the rulers of our country were denying that they had over borrowed and there was not going to be a problem. They were extremely defensive and sensitive to any criticism of their indebtedness. They were totally in denial. They would even brag that they will not stop borrowing.

What are they saying today? They are blaming everything on the coronavirus and their unpatriotic critics, detractors who are trying to destroy the image of the country.

They also attempted to change the Constitution of our Republic on their own, by themselves through Bill 10. They were not ready to listen to anyone other than their own inner demons. They were not ready to build sufficient consensus around the Constitutional amendment process they were seeking. They thought they could marshal, on their own, the two-thirds parliamentary majority required to amend the Constitution. They failed. And now they are blaming others for this failure.

They seem to live in a world of denials of reality and refusals to take responsibility for their decisions and actions.

Denial is a coping mechanism that gives one time to adjust to distressing situations — but staying in denial can interfere with one’s ability to tackle challenges.

If you’re in denial, you’re trying to protect yourself by refusing to accept the truth about something that’s happening in your affairs.In some cases, initial short-term denial can be a good thing, giving you time to adjust to a painful or stressful issue. It might also be a precursor to making some sort of change in your affairs. But denial has a dark side. Basic psychology teaches us that refusing to acknowledge that something is wrong is a way of coping with emotional conflict, stress, painful thoughts, threatening information and anxiety. You can be in denial about anything that makes you feel vulnerable or threatens your sense of control.

When you’re in denial, you won’t acknowledge a difficult situation.Refusing to face facts might seem unhealthy.

Sometimes, though, a short period of denial can be helpful. Being in denial gives your mind the opportunity to unconsciously absorb shocking or distressing information at a pace that won’t send you into a psychological tailspin.

For example, after a traumatic event, you might need several days or weeks to process what’s happened and come to grips with the challenges ahead.

You initially denied the distressing problem. But as your mind absorbed the possibility, you began to approach the problem more rationally and took action by seeking help.

But what if you had continued to be in denial? What if you never sought help? If denial persists and prevents you from taking appropriate action, it’s a harmful response.

When faced with an overwhelming turn of events, it’s okay to say, ‘I just can’t think about all of this right now.’ You might need time to work through what’s happened and adapt to new circumstances. But it’s important to realize that denial should only be a temporary measure — it won’t change the reality of the situation. Honestly examine what you fear.

Until you accept responsibility for your actions or failures, it’ll be very difficult for you to develop self-respect or even have the respect of others.

It’s a simple truth that all human beings make mistakes and poor choices. The same goes for when we fail to act when we know we should. There are times when we all look the other way when we know the right thing to do is to take helpful action.

The real difference between being responsible and being irresponsible is an indication of how effectively we’re managing our affairs when the opportunity to make a good or bad choice presents itself. Accepting responsibility is one of the most important factors in defining a person’s true character. When that responsible moment comes, what you do – or don’t do – is an indication of the type of person you really are.

Failing to accept personal responsibility may work to your advantage on occasion or in the short term. For example, you might get away with blaming someone else for your misdeeds. You might not face consequences for your wrong actions at the time. However, make no mistake about this, eventually this poor choice will catch up with you and, it’ll typically cause more pain for you down the road than if you had stepped up to the situation, took responsibility for it and honestly said, ‘I made a mistake.

‘When you blame others, you give up your power to change things, correct wrongs.

As we are witnessing with the rulers of our country today, over time, failing to accept responsibility has severe consequences. First and foremost, it has a devastating effect on your own mind and heart. When you know you have failed to take responsibility for something that you should, it’ll begin to bother you, to eat at you, little by little. Pretty soon, you’ll feel very small inside.

That may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s the truth. Taking responsibility for your own actions makes life work better. Remember, self-respect is the worth or value you place on yourself. Therefore, one of the consequences of continually failing to accept personal responsibility is that you eventually guarantee that you’ll view yourself as having little to no real value.

There’s a good chance that when you avoid accepting personal responsibility, someone will know that you’ve failed in this way. In other words, some other person may know that you’re responsible for the wrongdoing or poor choice, and when they see you fail to accept responsibility, they’ll lose all respect for you. If this happens on a frequent basis, you’ll never gain the respect of others that you hope to have one day.

Sometimes we don’t always see the long-term effects of our conduct. But, make no mistake, accepting responsibility is a major factor in receiving the respect and admiration of those around you. Accepting responsibility is not only the right thing to do, but it’ll pay more long-term dividends than you can now imagine.

And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.

Clearly, the rulers of our country are caught in their own web of denials of reality and refusals to accept responsibility for their decisions and actions.

Fred M’membe

Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali

Africa twasebana!

Africa twasebana! Featured

Our President’s desire to change his official title to “President General” reminds us of the disgrace and humiliation the peoples of the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and Uganda had to endure under the dictators with unbridled ego that once ruled them.
Jean-Bédel Bokassa turned the Central African Republic into an empire and gave himself the title of “His Imperial Majesty Bokassa the First, Apostle of Peace and Servant of Jesus Christ, Emperor and Marshal of Central Africa”.
Joseph-Désiré Mobutu changed his name to Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga and that of his country to Zaire.
In 1971, Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda made the legislature to declare him President for Life of Malawi. And his official title became “His Excellency the Life President of the Republic of Malaŵi, Ngwazi Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda.” The title Ngwazi means “chief of chiefs” – more literally, “great lion”, or, some would say, “conqueror” – in Chicheŵa.
And Ugandan dictator Idi Amin gave himself the official title of “His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular”.
We thought this was a long but permanent goodbye to this disgrace. Today we are starting to witness a rebirth of all this painful and shameful experience in Zambia.
Our President started with giving himself the honour of being called “Dr”. And now it’s “President General”! What’s next? And where will it end?
Niccolo Machiavelli wrote, “It is not titles that honour men, but men that honour titles.” He was right.
Changing our President’s title to President General won’t increase his ability to create impact.
A lousy President won’t get better just because his title has changed to “President General”.
He won’t become better by having a bigger title.
The ability to provide efficient, effective and orderly leadership is not directly correlated to a title.
However, our President wants to let a title define his identity, self-esteem, status, and more. He wants his fair share of recognition, identity and respect.
It seems he wants to turn a title into a currency.
Instead of using the title to facilitate work he wants to turn it into a bargaining chip.
But trying to use a title in this way creates toxicity rather than clarity.
This reminds us about what George Bernard Shaw once said, “Titles distinguish the mediocre, embarrass the superior, and are disgraced by the inferior.”
But people don’t follow titles of a leader, they follow performance and character.
When titles equal to power, changing them doesn’t help you at all; power will simply shift its form.
Having a bigger title doesn’t equal to better understanding.
We shouldn’t hide behind titles – the one we have or the ones we want.

Fred M’membe

Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali

Lies, dishonesty!

Lies, dishonesty! Featured

Dr Bwalya Ng’andu is not an everyday Zambian politician. And as such we don’t expect him to behave like them – telling lies everyday.

It is a big embarrassment that Dr Ng’andu lied to the nation about his engagement with Zambia’s bondholders only for them to issue a statement the following day that there had been no direct contact between them and the Zambian government.

Good political leadership is built on fundamental principles of honesty, fairness, accountability, responsibility and transparency.There’s need to ensure total transparency, openness and honesty in every respect of political leadership.

When honesty and transparency are lacking there can be no trust. You cannot cultivate a climate of trust in the absence of honesty. Consequently fairness, accountability and responsibility cannot exist.

Is a dishonest politician trustworthy, responsible and fair? Do they consider their accountability before being dishonest?Possibly yes, but in most instances no. Accountability is overlooked and lost.

We live in a low trust society. To ensure good governance we must first address the issues around trust and honesty.

The political leadership must be seen to be trustworthy and honest.

Political dishonesty not only harms a nation’s prosperity but also shapes the moral behavior of its citizens.

A shady political leadership influences the moral behavior of its followers.

By Fred M’membe

Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali

Statement of the Socialist Party on the disturbances at The University of Zambia

Statement of the Socialist Party on the disturbances at The University of Zambia Featured

The situation at The University of Zambia is very, very unfortunate and could have been avoided.

To expect students to pay 100 per cent of their tuition fees before they can be allowed to sit for examinations is unreasonable and unacceptable under COVID-19 financial and economic difficulties the great majority of our people are enduring.

And even without COVID-19 challenges, the great majority of our people are very poor to afford fees for the education of their children. How can our people in Western, Luapula and Northern provinces where the poverty levels are 82.2 per cent, 81.1 per cent and 79.7 per cent respectively afford such high tuition fees? Rural poverty is today 76.6 per cent. How can one really reasonably expect these people to pay such fees? Education should be treated as a right, not a privilege.

Today 66 per cent of our country’s population comprises of young people below the age of 25. People in this age group are supposed to be in nursery, primary school, secondary school, college or university. What are the national budgetary implications of this? Not less 25 per cent of our national budget should be allocated and disbursed to education. Failure to that we will many of our people not attending school, college or university as is the case today. And when this happens you have all sorts of challenges we are having with young people today. Under the Education 2030 Framework, Zambia committed to allocate at least 20 per cent of its budget to the education sector. However, under this government this has consistently declined from 20.2 per cent in 2015 to 12.4 per cent in 2020 and further reduced to 11.5 per cent in 2021.

The Socialist Party in government next year will make education totally free from nursery to university and compulsory from nursery to grade 12.

This government has made our young people victims of every kind of injustice imaginable. And when they explode, they want them to explode politely! Why, they are dealing with the wrong young people at the wrong time in the wrong way.

Let’s not forget that all over the world, it is young people who are actually involving themselves in the struggle to eliminate oppression, exploitation and humiliation. They are the ones who most quickly identify with the struggle and the necessity to eliminate the unacceptable conditions that exist.

But no grievances can justify atrocious acts such as the harming or injuring of people, burning and destruction of property. No crime can be committed in the name of legitimate grievances.

We urge our students to put forward their grievances in a very firm but peaceful manner.

Issued by Fred M’membe on behalf of the Politburo of the Socialist Party Garden Compound, Lusaka.

Statement of the Socialist Party on the Zambian government’s failure to honour its debt servicing obligations

Statement of the Socialist Party on the Zambian government’s failure to honour its debt servicing obligations Featured

On September 22, this year, the Minister of Finance announced that he had made a request to bondholders to suspend debt servicing for six months because Zambia was not in a position to meet her debt servicing obligations due on October 14, 2020.

As you may be aware, 40 per cent of bondholders immediately refused to grant Zambia debt servicing suspension.

The Zambian government had hoped that when 60 per cent of bondholders met last Friday, which was the last day of the one month grace period given to pay from the initial due date, the bondholders would agree with their proposals. But they too refused.

Consequently, Zambia officially became the first country in Africa to default even if it had already defaulted on other unknown Chinese debt obligations.

As the Socialist Party, we are concerned with the lack of seriousness from the Treasury when dealing with these important issues. We have plenty human resource that we have invested in as a country and worked at the highest level at of both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. It is an embarrassment to the nation that the Minister of Finance lied to the nation about his engagement with bondholders only for them to issue a statement the following day that there had been no direct contact between them and the Zambian government.

Why did Dr Bwalya Ng’andu lie to the nation? Is he covering up on the debt that was borrowed under the cover of darkness?

They say, ‘You can run but you can’t hide…You can fool some people all the time, but you can’t fool all people all the time.”

Reality has finally dawned on this Patriotic Front government.

What the international community is demanding is transparency on the Chinese debt obligations. The demand by the Minister of Finance through his representatives that bondholders should sign a non-disclosure agreement before he discloses the extent of Chinese debt and the conditions attached thereof should be of interest to every Zambian because this is public debt which you will all pay for.

As the Socialist Party, we wish to announce to the nation that the reason why this government has since 2016 refused to open it’s books to the IMF on the Chinese debt is because that would reveal the Patriotic Front’s massive penchant for bribes. Most of the loans have inflated figures because of amounts a few greedy individuals collected as ”facilitation” fees. The International community is well aware of the extent of corruption and are now collaborating with bondholders to expose how corrupt this government is.

Once that information on the Chinese debt is given, it will reveal how much money was shared and by who. At the moment, Ministry of Finance officials have been struggling to balance the figures before the IMF team comes in.

Dr Ng’andu must not continue protecting criminals. There is no place for them to hide anymore.

Dr Ng’andu has two options: It’s either he reveals the actual figures of the Chinese debt and Patriotic Front goes down so that we can protect our economy or he lets Patriotic Front continue hiding their nefarious acts and we all go down.

Dr Ng’andu has to make that choice because time is of essence. Thankfully, since we cannot demand accountability and transparency from the powerful politicians and their fellow gangsters outside government, a far more powerful group has come to our rescue.

Lelo balasebena ba pompwe mushibila nsala!

Issued by Fred M’membe on behalf of the Politburo of the Socialist Party Garden Compound, Lusaka

The Socialist Party unveils more parliamentary candidates

The Socialist Party unveils more parliamentary candidates Featured

THE Socialist Party has unveiled what it terms “organic leadership,” in form of five adopted parliamentary candidates.
The five are Pastor Fred Chanda for Kasama Central, John Mubita for Shangombo, Isimwa Mebeelo Siyanga for Mitete, Debby Mwangala Akabana for Lukulu and McLeod Lunkoto for Keembe.
The parliamentary candidates, who spoke in their native languages, declared themselves ready to serve their respective constituents, with unquestionable commitment.
The shadow lawmakers were unveiled by Socialist Party general secretary and first vice-president Dr Cosmas Musumali, at party president Dr Fred M’membe’s Garden Compound office in Lusaka on November 16, 2020.
Dr Musumali said without leadership, the issue of equity and peace could not be attained.
“But that leadership has to be different from what we have today. The leadership that the people of Zambia are yearning for is one that understands challenges,” he noted.
“It’s a leadership that speaks for the people, a leadership that lives with and for the people. As a party, we are making milestones each month in identifying that leadership. Today we have the pleasure to present to you five comrades representing five constituencies of our country.”
He told journalists that the five were identified by the masses themselves in the respective constituencies.
“The leadership of the party did sit down and has adopted these comrades. What type of leadership is this? This is organic leadership; these are leaders that live in those communities,” Dr Musumali said.
“These are part of those communities and the Socialist Party firmly believes that a leadership that is detached from the people can never provide, can never serve the interests of the masses.”
He asserted that the Socialist Party was always very proud to be associated with “comrades” who offer themselves to diligently and selflessly serve Zambians.
Dr Musumali indicated that next month, the party would most likely unveil parliamentary candidates from the Copperbelt, from North-Western and from parts of Central Province.
“In total, we are looking at about 30 candidates that will be due for adoption in December. The Socialist Party is setting the standard,” noted Dr Musumali.
“We are doing what other political parties are not able to do – to get deep down to where the people are and find the authentic leaders of the people and introduce this to the people of Zambia.”

In defence of academic freedom

In defence of academic freedom Featured

The threats by Patriotic Front Lusaka Province secretary Kennedy Kamba to University of Zambia James Kayula for commenting on President Edgar Lungu’s third term bid are unacceptable and must stop.

These threats violet our lecturers and students’ academic freedom.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, academic freedom is the freedom of academics to teach and discuss; carry out research and publish the results and make them known; freely express opinions about the academic institution or system in which one works; participate in professional or representative academic bodies and not to be censored. It is grounded in democratic values that encourage scholars to be relevant to the larger society outside their classrooms. It is for this reason that the performance of scholars, for example at the University of Zambia, are evaluated against core values such as excellence, innovativeness, integrity, equity, social justice and social responsiveness. Political affiliation is definitely not one of the core values against which the credibility of law lecturers can be measured.

Academic freedom is the right of every scholar to explore, discuss and engage the general public within areas of specific and related expertise. The expertise of lawyers and law lecturers extends to all aspects of human endeavor because lawyers are called upon to adjudicate matters of birth and death; marriage and divorce; so what is special about the eligibility of a mortal president to lead others even more experienced and principled than him?

Our ruling party leaders and their supporters would do well to interrogate these wider issues that may well be beyond their learning capacity.  

We shouldn’t allow academic freedom to be increasingly threatened by a stifling culture of conformity that is restricting individual academics, the freedom of academic thought and the progress of knowledge – the very foundations upon which academia and universities are built. Scholars need academic freedom to critique existing knowledge and to pursue new truths.

Today, while fondness for the rhetoric of academic freedom remains, it is increasingly being called into question by identity politics.
We shouldn’t allow political expediency to change the purpose of the university and the nature of knowledge.

We need to confront and challenge to this culture of conformity and censorship and defend academic free speech for critique to be possible and for the intellectual project of evaluating existing knowledge and proposing new knowledge to be meaningful.

This short reflection is a challenge and a passionate call to arms for the power of academic thought today.

Fred M’membe

Garden Compound, Lusaka

Being marketed like a commodity

Being marketed like a commodity Featured

If there’s anything I really detest about our elections is how they individualize the presidency.
An individual adopted to be a presidential candidate is elevated above others and treated as a Samson, Macgyver, a know-it-all. Everything is about him or her. Elections are won or lost on his personal style, charm or oratory. The collective is almost lost.
The presidential candidate is marketed like a commodity – a perfume or a fizzy drink. I find this very dehumanising. This is not in tune with our socialist leadership style and ethics. But I have to endure it for our party to stand a chance of winning next year’s elections.
Our socialist leadership is based on a collective rather than an individual; it is characterized by collective wisdom, not individual wisdom – we are not looking for a single genius but a collective genius; it relies on collective decision making rather than individual decision making. We believe that the individual is meaningless without collective support. No leader should over-emphasize their own abilities. The leader needs to understand the relationship between themselves and the collective.
No leader should believe that they know everything or able to do everything. Nobody is perfect.
In a collective leadership, the relationship between the head and the common members is just like that between a flower and its green leaves. This is a mutually dependent relationship, whereby working together produces benefits for all.
Everyone needs the help of others. People may say the flower is attractive, but it still needs the support of its green leaves. As a saying goes in Bemba, two heads are better than one. Nobody is perfect. It would be ridiculous for somebody to say that they knew and were able to do anything like some god.
An excellent leader is able to take the wisdom of those he works with and use it to the fullest extent.

Fred M’membe

Garden Compound, Lusaka

We are not trying to copy any country

We are not trying to copy any country Featured

Our opponents are often pointing to the collapse of the Soviet Union and East European socialist countries and the challenges facing blockaded Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea to politically undermine us and discredit our socialist programme.

But no one is pointing to the successes of China, Vietnam and the Indian communist-led states of Kerala and West Bengal.

We are not in all ways trying to be like these countries or states. We are trying to build a socialist society in Zambia, and not in Cuba, Venezuela, China or Vietnam. Our history, culture, circumstances and conditions are different.

And moreover, there’s no one ideal political system in the extremely complicated world we live in today, and it is impossible to see one emerging in the light of constant change.

Political systems are divided into various types. How can we judge which is the most appropriate? This is a matter that should not rely on subjective appraisal; neither should it be addressed purely in terms of standard Western values.

It is necessary to conduct an analysis based on the background details relating to a specific case, use quantified data, and employ objective facts.

This must be accompanied by a scientific approach to development and establishing a governing philosophy characterized by harmony. In this way we will have a government that is supported by the Zambian people as a whole. How should government, Cabinet, the presidency be run politically? How should a good government, Cabinet, presidency be assured? Through what kind of processes does the government, Cabinet, presidency reach its decisions? According to what standards does it operate? What mechanisms are in place to ensure that the government, Cabinet, presidency makes the correct major decisions?

The key to dealing with Zambia’s problems is for Zambia to have a competent government, Cabinet, presidency. Zambia will record progress and enjoy stability if this competency can be assured. A leadership capable of introducing unique innovations and increasing maturity in political matters will help us produce a stable society and generate the conditions that will enable steady economic growth.

The greatest challenge we face today is lack of a scientifically based, efficient decision-making mechanism for dealing with major problems. And because of this we are unable to achieve a stable society and economic growth.

As stated in our party’s manifesto the goals of our socialist programme are to move our country out of underdevelopment and poverty, creating a more advanced, more practical democracy and cultivating better human resources. The time it will take us to achieve these goals could be relatively long or short. It is necessary for Zambia to reach these goals. Thus, it is necessary to examine the best features of various institutions and assess whether or not they will be able to move Zambia towards these goals.

Fred M’membe

Garden Compound, Lusaka

Things are not as they ought to be

Things are not as they ought to be Featured

Things are not what our leaders want us to believe they are.

It’s either they don’t want to see the truth, hear the truth and feel the truth or they just want to listen to their inner demons and totally ignore the reality before them.

Things are not what they have been made to believe they are. The situation is bad; it’s getting very desperate. As Bob Marley aptly put it in a reggae rhythm,

“Things are not the way they used to be

I won’t tell no lie

One and all got to face reality now

Though I try to find the answer

To all the questions they ask

Though I know it’s impossible

To go living through the past

Don’t tell no lie…”

You cannot defeat darkness by running from it, nor can you conquer your inner demons by drifting and hiding from reality. In order to defeat the darkness, you must bring it into the light.

We must have light. We must live in the fierce full constant glare of light, where all shadow will be defined and sharp and unique and personal: the shadow of our own singular rectitude or baseness. All human evils have to come out of obscurity and darkness, where there is nothing to dog us constantly with the shape of our own deformity.

Our souls may be consumed by shadows, but that doesn’t mean we have to behave as monsters.

No one seems to notice when you are down, unless we are bleeding.

But sometimes the worst wounds, are the ones we can’t see.

Greatness comes not when things go always good for you, but when you are really tested, when you take some knocks because only if you have been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.

It gets dark sometimes, but the morning comes. We shouldn’t surrender to tyranny and abuse of power. We shouldn’t give up. I know it’s tough sometimes.

We shouldn’t stop with the way things are; let’s dream of things the way they ought to be.

Fred M’membe

Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali

The least inclined to lead seek leadership the most

The least inclined to lead seek leadership the most Featured

It’s very difficult to understand why a politician who has brought his nation to its knees economically, politically and socially would so strongly, or even illegally, seek to continue leading it.

How can someone who has bankrupted this country seek to continue leading it? Lead to where? To further bankruptcy, ruin?

Unfortunately, it would seem, when it comes to political leadership, it is the least inclined who seek it the most – without political power they probably feel they’re nothing.

Thus the best suited to rule are least likely to want to, and perhaps those less suited to rule will be more inclined to desire power due to their own sake, personal aggrandizement.

To understand this behavior better I turned to great philosopher Plato’s wisdom.

According to Plato only those who do not seek power are qualified to hold it. Those who seek power are not worthy of that power. These thoughts of Plato derive from The Republic in which it is argued that: True philosophers – those who are beheld the good – are the most suited to ruling well. Anyone who has seen the good – been outside the cave – would have no interest in ruling the prisoners inside the cave – who live pitiful lives.

Plato used Socrates to voice his opinion on this issue, or rather, it actually was Socrates’ opinion in The Apology. It’s in a more lucid and so perhaps easier to understand.

Socrates remarks in his speech that he was for a time compelled to enter politics to help improve the city of Athens, but realized that the vocation would corrupt him. That is, his best character traits, which he reflected were most useful to the city, would be somehow lost in the struggle for political power. Socrates says he obtained this insight through his ‘inner daimon’, and decided instead to live in austerity talking to the people of the city directly.

It’s worth noting that a theme throughout Plato’s dialogues is the stupidity of political figures. They are almost always stunted in intellect compared to Socrates, or even Sophists appearing in the dialogues, e.g. Gorgias. See how Alcibiades turns up drunkenly in the Symposium, he was a real man, a general and political powerhouse who switched sides in the Peloponnesian war. Plato is showing us that this man had a chance at improving his soul, through his dialogues with Socrates, but chose the path of unconsciousness and illusion, hence his drunken state. Socrates is the man who cannot become inebriated, an important point in contrasting him with the most important political figure of Plato’s dialogues.

There are two possibilities. The pursuit of power does something to ones soul, which is what Socrates says explicitly in The Apology and Republic. This is likely why the philosopher king is the individual who doesn’t want power, but has it thrust upon him.

Another possibility is less well equipped people are prone to power seeking. It is in essence a lower drive, which you can trace to our ape like ancestors. It represents a primitive state of consciousness, well and truly in Plato’s cave.

Plato didn’t actually say ‘Too smart to engage in politics’. He wrote that those who actually want to serve the world in the best possible way turn to other pursuits, and if I’m honest, he’s not far wrong.Plato, at least it seems to me, was on to something.

Fred M’membe

Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali

Great coincidences exist between Christianity and socialism – a reflection by Dr Fred M’membe

Great coincidences exist between Christianity and socialism – a reflection by Dr Fred M’membe Featured

There are thousands more coincidences between Christianity and socialism than between Christianity and capitalism.

Responding probably to different motivations, they both advocate attitudes and behaviours that are quite similar.

There’s great coincidence between Christianity’s objectives and the ones we socialists seek, between the Christian teachings of humility, austerity, selfishness and loving thy neighbour and what we might call the content of a revolutionary’s life and behaviour. For, what is the Socialist Party teaching its members and the Zambian people? To kill? To be selfish? To exploit others? Just the opposite. We are teaching them unwavering commitment to honest, equity, humility and solidarity.

We are telling them that our country right now may be too poor to give our people great material wealth, but it can give them a sense of equity and of human dignity.

We socialists believe that Christ was a revolutionary par excellence. His entire doctrine was devoted to the humble, the poor; his doctrine was devoted to fighting against abuse, injustice and the degradation of human beings.

There’s a lot in common between the spirit and essence of Christ’s teachings and socialism.
And the Bible has very revolutionary content. The teachings of Christ are very revolutionary and completely coincide with our aims as socialists.

That is why we believe and openly say that we socialists are not the only revolutionaries. All those who truly follow Christ’s doctrine and devote themselves to the cause of the humble, the poor; and devote themselves to fighting against injustice, abuse and the degradation of human beings and to helping them liberate themselves are all revolutionaries.

Like we socialists, the Catholic social teaching does advocate the protection of property rights, but only when strongly situated within what is called the universal destination of goods. That is, “Christian tradition has never recognised the right to private property as absolute and untouchable: ‘On the contrary, it has always understood this right within the broader context of the right common to all to use the goods of the whole of creation: the right to private property is subordinated to the right to common use, to the fact that goods are meant for everyone.”
(Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 177, quoting St. John Paul II’s Laborem Exercens). And because God intends the world to provide for the needs of every person, the distribution of resources must allow every human person with what is needed for a full life. Isn’t this what we socialists are advocating for?

In his encyclical “Pacem in Terris,” St. John XXIII explained: “Man has the right to live. He has the right to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, particularly food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services. In consequence, he has the right to be looked after in the event of ill health; disability stemming from his work; widowhood; old age; enforced unemployment; or whenever through no fault of his own he is deprived of the means of livelihood” (No. 11). Isn’t this what the Socialist Party’s manifesto is advocating for?

A defense of property, absent that context, functions to absolve those who own property from responsibility to those in desperate need. But Catholic teaching treats the withholding of resources from those in need as a failure of justice, and so private property always comes with a “social mortgage.”

Pope Leo XIII explained in his encyclical “Rerum Novarum”: “[W]hen there is a question of defending the rights of individuals, the poor and badly off have a claim to especial consideration. The richer class have many ways of shielding themselves, and stand less in need of help from the State; whereas the mass of the poor have no resources of their own to fall back upon, and must chiefly depend upon the assistance of the State” (No. 37). Isn’t this what we socialists are seeking?

And what is being advocated by the Catholic social teaching is not consistent with the capitalist social order.

Even on religious liberty, the Catholic social teaching is saying that it must also respect the common good.

As capitalists, with their religious agents, seek to accord special recognition to Christianity or section of it, the “Compendium” says, “Such recognition must in no way create discrimination within the civil or social order for other religious groups” (No. 423). The church’s witness to the Gospel always requires (and Catholics must acknowledge that it often has failed in this) the defense of the well-being of persons who do not accept the Gospel, in keeping with the commands to love both neighbour and enemy. The purpose of the right to religious liberty within Catholic thought is both to make room for the church’s freedom to give witness to the Gospel and also to honour the call of God for every person to freely enter into communion with the divine life. These two purposes are not at odds.
The church’s witness to the Gospel always requires the defense of the well-being of persons who do not accept the Gospel.

The document “Dignitatis Humanae,” promulgated at the Second Vatican Council, explains it thus: “It is…completely in accord with the nature of faith that in matters religious every manner of coercion on the part of men should be excluded. In consequence, the principle of religious freedom makes no small contribution to the creation of an environment in which men can without hindrance be invited to the Christian faith, embrace it of their own free will, and profess it effectively in their whole manner of life” (No. 10).

This makes it important to remember that Catholic teaching says the right to religious liberty “is not of itself an unlimited right. The just limits of the exercise of religious freedom must be determined in each social situation with political prudence, according to the requirements of the common good, and ratified by the civil authority through legal norms consistent with the objective moral order” (No. 422).

And speaking for myself, I can say that the ethical values that are propelling my revolutionary, socialist work came from my Catholic upbringing and education, from my teachers – the Capuchin Fathers, the Irish Christian Brothers and Sacred Heart Brothers. I would even say from my Christian family, home.

I was taught very early in my life that I should not lie. I was taught what was right and wrong, things that should and should not be done. I remember being punished by my Form 1 mathematics teacher at St John’s Secondary School to write 3,000 times, “Oh what a web we weave for ourselves when we first practice to deceive.” I had not done my homework and when asked about it, I lied that I had left it in the dormitory. I was told to go and get it. And immediately after I left classroom, the teacher told the class I was not going to come with any homework. He asked for a bet on it. When I came back empty-handed, the whole class burst into laughter. I have carried these words and memories of that day with me wherever I am and in whatever I do. And I remind my classmates of this incident whenever we meet. That was my baptism out of lying.

Later on, my revolutionary and political involvement began to create in me a feeling of what was wrong, the violation of an ethical standard, an injustice, abuse or fraud. I began to have an idea of what was fair and unfair. I began to have a concept of personal dignity. I think I have always had a sense of justice – from very early on – because of what I saw and experienced.

Undoubtedly, my Catholic upbringing and education influenced me a lot. The Capuchin Fathers, the Irish Christian Brothers and Sacred Heart Brothers inculcated a very strong sense of personal dignity in me, regardless of their political ideas which quite often I didn’t agree with. They valued character, rectitude, honesty, courage and ability to make sacrifices.

The Irish Christian Brothers definitely influenced me with their strict organisation, their discipline and their values. They contributed to my development and sense of justice. Following that path, I came to view abuse, injustice as unacceptable.

If you mix ethical values with a spirit of rebellion and rejection of injustice you begin to appreciate and place a high value on a number of things that other people don’t value at all. A sense of personal dignity, honour and duty form the main foundation that enables people to acquire political consciousness and a revolutionary spirit.

Date: August 9, 2020
Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali.