Latest Posts

Statement of the Socialist Party on a National Response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Statement of the Socialist Party on a National Response to the COVID-19 pandemic Featured

Humanity has been subjected to the COVID-19 for more than a year now. Soon, more than a 100 million people would have been infected and 2 million of those infected would have died! Yet the end of the pandemic is not near. The global frenzy with inoculations may help to bring down the infection rates – and may be even make our world safe from COVID-19.
However we should brace ourselves for a long haul – more especially in the periphery capitalist countries such as Zambia.
The demand side of the pandemic is complex enough.  High poverty levels, an extremely high burden of existing communicable and non-communicable diseases, low levels of hygiene, poor access to clean water and sanitation, crowded and poor housing conditions, illiteracy and poor health seeking behaviour are all factors that severely compromise health outcomes.
Similarly, the supply side is pathetic. We observe the presence of a weak and poorly resourced health system, rampant corruption at all levels of governance, the sheer absence of a science-led approach, heavy dependence on external partners that are themselves struggling to meet the health needs of their citizens, frightening incompetence in managing the COVID-19 pandemic as well as sluggish GDP growth.
The class character and implications of the pandemic are also apparent. Those able to travel abroad – the well off, initially introduced the COVID-19 pandemic into Zambia! Further, the high-income bracket of society often frequents the upmarket places such as shopping malls, restaurants and nightclubs that continue to fuel the epidemic. The youthful Zambian elite is notoriously uncompromising when it comes to consummating “leisure” even if this entails driving the entire country into a death trap. Yet the biggest losers of the pandemic will be the poor people without jobs and without proper access to health care. They will perish in great numbers!
The Socialist Party is drawing insights from the failure of the globalised capitalist system in managing the pandemic. It is also keenly following the success as well as the underling principles embedded in the national responses of the socialist countries. In coming up with our national response for Zambia, we are cognizant of the fact that there is no single solution that responds to the needs of all countries. The Socialist Party leadership is innovative, flexible and thinking outside the box:
1.     A total mobilisation of the masses of our people and all their national institutions will be the centrepiece of the response. We find ourselves at war with an invisible enemy. Any day lost to procrastination entails 100s of lives lost. We will immediately declare a month-long State of Emergency upon getting into power! This will enable us to effectively mobilise each adult Zambian and help put COVID- 19 on top of the political, social-cultural and economic agenda. The State of Emergency would greatly help the health system to catch up with contact tracing and slow down community level transmission.
2.     A war situation calls for exceptional decisions. We estimate to divert 10% of our entire GDP in order to provide effective health communication, institute mass testing, provide adequate medical supplies, medicines, PPEs, bed space, requisite equipment and an expanded workforce that will enable us halt transmission, provide quality care (including long term post-infection care and support) and therefore preserve thousands of Zambian lives.
3.     COVID-19 will not be the last global pandemic. We have to be prepared for more vicious pandemics in the years to come. Our routine surveillance system needs strengthening. Our response time and quality have to be exceptional. We need a highly health literate population. Pandemic management and the standard treatment guidelines need an interface and our poor capacities for multi-sectoral coordination should be a thing of the past.
4.     COVID-19 is a disaster for humanity, but it also exposes the pre-existing social and economic malaise in society: Job insecurity, vulnerabilities of small scale businesses, the negative consequences for frontline heath workers – who are poorly equipped, protected and remunerated, the increase in patriarchal violence (gender based violence) during the quarantine periods, and political discrimination of opposition political parties under the pretext of pandemic control measures. As a socialist party, our mandate is to these vulnerable groups in society. We have begun a process of consultation that will inform concrete policy and action and help the masses of our people to emancipate themselves from these forms of injustice and inequity as we face this global pandemic.
The Zambian people can and MUST rise up to the challenge posed by COVID-19. The neoliberal capitalist approaches in managing society and heath are a death sentence for the masses of our people. The immediate task of our masses is to vote out neoliberal capitalism from our homeland. The lumpen and petty bourgeois leadership has caused enough harm and is directly responsible for the senseless deaths through the pandemic. Voting them out of power has become synonymous to voting out COVID-19 from our lives.
Statement issued by
Dr. Cosmas Musheke Musumali
Socialist Party
General Secretary/First Vice President
Lusaka Industrial Area Office

President Lungu’s Copperbelt visit was a disaster

President Lungu’s Copperbelt visit was a disaster Featured

President Edgar Lungu’s working visit on the Copperbelt was a disaster in many ways.

This was the President’s first visit to the Copperbelt Province in 2021. The province has been a bastion of PF support over the past years. Being the first trip, it was planned to provide a good start for the President’s and his Party’s campaign towards the August 2021 elections.

However things have changed. The people of the Copperbelt need change. President Lungu and the PF are now becoming history. People were not willing to attend Presidents Lungu’s meetings. His ministers and cronies had to resort to bribes to mobilise a resemblance of presence and support. This effort didn’t work in Mufulira and it ended up being a huge embarrassment for President Lungu and the PF establishment.

As a Socialist Party we are today the fastest growing political power on the Copperbelt. Increasingly, more people see in us the alternative to the failed experimentation with neo-liberal capitalism that has sent thousands of workers jobless on the street and is today failing to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Secondly, the trip came at huge cost to the Zambian taxpayer. The entourage was big – involving hundreds of vehicles from Lusaka and the Copperbelt. Three choppers and the presidential Jet were also assigned. The defence and security deployment was massive. The habit of dishing out brown envelopes continued. Its is an extremely reckless way spending the taxpayers money at a time that millions of Zambian lives are at stake due to the pandemic and with a health system that is poorly resourced.

Thirdly, the trip also reminded us of the retrogressive role played by the Civil Aviation Authority and our Zambia Airforce. The two institutions have in the past been used to constrain political opposition leaders’ air travel during election campaigns. We are in January – still a distance from the official campaign period, but this form of rigging and intimidation has already begun! We are cognisant of the immense difficulties the two institutions work under. However short term political appeasement has eroded the confidence of the masses of our people in these two key national institutions. The Zambian people have to win back these two institutions; President Lungu and the PF must go! The damage they are causing is irreparable.

We need an efficient, effective and orderly military

We need an efficient, effective and orderly military Featured

The recent recruitment of officer cadets for the Zambia Army, Zambia Airforce and Zambia National Service raises many very serious concerns. Military recruitments and promotions are supposed to be very transparent, well advertised and fair. Military recruitments and promotions should be matters of great public interest.

There’s a current recruitment of 600 officer cadets – shared 200 each for the Zambia Army, Zambia Airforce and Zambia National Service.Over 64,000 applications were received for the 200 Zambia Army positions. Most of these positions have been taken by relatives of the country’s top politicians. And the best but not well-connected applicants have been turned away. They are being told they failed medical tests so that it becomes difficult for them to question their being left out.

We need to increase the number of officers being recruited and trained every year to sufficiently cater for deaths, retirements and the growth of our military. You build your army in peace times and not when you are under attack. We shouldn’t be cheated or cheat ourselves that we don’t need a big and strong military. It’s very highly needed not only for basic military purposes but also for economic and social development. We need to pay sufficient attention to the development and maintenance of our military. Even in the most peaceful of times, we will still need to develop and maintain our military to the highest possible levels of efficiency and effectiveness.

Of all of the forms of power that determine the level of power enjoyed by a country, none is more obvious than a country’s military power. For one, a country with a strong military typically enjoys a higher degree of security and stability than a state that is militarily weaker than its neighbours and potential rivals. Likewise, a country with an advantage in terms of military power has the ability to seize or reduce another state’s power in many other areas, including economic, political- or resource-based power.

For many states, it was the development of their military power that proved to be the catalyst for their rise to great power status. For others, a lack of military power proved to be the undoing of states that were either once great powers or who had capability to rise to great power status, but failed to do so. History is littered with states whose ultimate downfall came on the battlefield, even if it was a decline in other aspects of power that resulted in their eventual military defeat.

The great wars of the past few centuries have taught us that having strong and reliable allies is a major boost for a country’s military power and its odds in a conflict with rival powers. This calls for increased collaboration and exchanges with other militaries in terms of training and exercises. We need to increase our military’s training and exercises with other countries both for officers and soldiers. We used to have training and other exchanges with other militaries – UK, Ireland, India, Sweden, North Korea, Iraq, among others – that we are today not fully utilising. But to develop and maintain our military to good levels requires a supportive economy. Simply put, a country needs the economic means to afford the high costs and technological developments associated with the development and maintenance of a high degree of military power.

For now, a country needs a large and healthy population of young adult males and increasingly females to provide the manpower needed to sustain an efficient, effective and orderly military, although automation may one day make this a moot point. A country’s level of political strength and stability is reflected in the strength and stability of its armed forces, while a unified political leadership can provide a clear focus for a country’s military efforts.

A good educational system is also very much needed. Throughout history, states that have been able to develop technologies that add to their military capabilities have emerged victorious in conflicts against their less-technologically-developed rivals.Clearly, a country’s military power also plays a key role in its development of these other factors of power. A state that can protect its territory, resources and trade routes has a major economic advantage over others that are unable to do so. Furthermore, military power can be a catalyst for economic growth, if applied properly. A state with a relatively high degree of military power has the capability to protect its population and to allow for its population to grow at a healthy pace. A strong military allows a country to protect its environmental and resource wealth.

For better or worse, armed forces have played a major role in determining the level of political stability in states throughout history. When political-military relations are strong and stable, a country is able to achieve a higher degree of political power. The armed forces have been the catalyst and the source for many of the major technological achievements reached throughout human history and are likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Many states throughout history have used their advantages in terms of military power to achieve great power status.

But we shouldn’t be irrational in the development and maintenance of our military. We shouldn’t forget that while some great powers built their foundations on military power, other great powers were undermined by this same power. Some states focused too many resources on their militaries, thus undermining other aspects of their power. Examples of this include the latter Roman Empire, 16th-17th century Spain, and, more recently, the Soviet Union itself. Other great powers failed to invest enough in their armed forces, and thus undermined their ability to fend off rival powers. For example, the Byzantine Empire’s military weakness allowed for the Arabs to seize most of its territory in the 7th century, while China’s military decline opened the door for the Mongols to seize control of China in the 13th century. In more modern times, France’s inability to match German military power cost that country its leadership position in continental Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries.

This is why the Socialist Party in its manifesto states, among other things: “Defence is too great an assignment to leave in the hands of an ill-equipped army with an inappropriate doctrine. In order to enhance military capacity, we will undertake a review to assess the emerging threats confronting the Zambian masses, including hybrid and cyber warfare. We will; (i) ensure that our armed forces are properly equipped and resourced to respond to wide-ranging security challenges; (ii) the Socialist Government will commit to effective UN peacekeeping, especially within the context of Pan African peace-keeping missions; (iii) commit to a procurement process that supports job creation and the growth of the Zambian defence manufacturing industry…”

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

Garden Compound, Lusaka

In defence of my friend and all those who preach the good news

In defence of my friend and all those who preach the good news Featured

Of late retired Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu has come under a lot of attacks from leaders, cadres and supporters of those in power.
I must point out from the outset that I don’t like Archbishop Mpundu – I love him. He is an exceptionally very intelligent, humble, honest and religious man. Material possessions, luxuries don’t move him. He’s incorruptible.
But why is this nice friend of mine so hated by these people? My own and only explanation is that genuine goodness is threatening to those at the opposite end of the moral spectrum.

Preaching is increasingly getting a lot tougher. Today even words like kindness
seem to have political implications.
Should our preachers and their congregations seek to transcend politics or is that an impossible or even illegitimate goal? Is there a difference between being political and being partisan?

Preaching is being complicated by the fact that politics has now come to mean any contemporary issue on which people might disagree. In times such as these, the preacher’s task is to remind the congregation that the basic tenets of our faith – grace and mercy, radical hospitality, love of neighbor – go beyond politics but have political implications.
Can we call our preachers and their congregations call themselves followers of the Prince of Peace and not condemn injustice, intolerance, violence and corruption born of bigotry, hate and greed? Likewise, I don’t see how they can read the story of Jesus welcoming the children and not have something to say about the children suffering on our streets, not going school, not accessing healthcare and food.

In these polarizing times, it’s easy to vilify our preachers and their congregations. Good preaching in divisive times reminds people of the importance of nuance. It also reminds news-weary preachers that their faith claims mean something about how they live in a country in which being a good person is directly connected to our political systems and structures.

My prayer is that even as we disagree, we’ll stay true to the gospel call to welcome and to love.
One might expect the obligatory nod to the challenge of of preachers preaching in our polarized climate – except for the fact that their congregations are comfortably partisan and have been engines of polarization, not some lingering holdout against it.

We don’t want to avoid being predictably partisan by falling prey to the illusion that the gospel is politically “neutral.” If some partisan stands align with biblical concerns for justice, we shouldn’t soft-pedal biblical themes just to avoid appearing partisan. Here’s a way the lectionary is a gift.

These biblical themes confront us. Preaching isn’t dictated by the pet priorities of a party but by the worldwide curriculum of the body of Christ at worship. And some days, by grace, that Word will come as a challenge to our own preferences.

Nor does the unique “politics of Jesus” give us license to sequester ourselves in alternative communities. Policy is how we love our neighbors, and purity doesn’t release us from the Great Commandment. The illusion of being nonpolitical is a luxury of privilege that only leaves the vulnerable exposed.

The problem with the Christian political imagination today is not simply that it is predictably partisan but that it has ceded its elasticity and expectation to the here-and-now. We are all functional utopians who overexpect from the present and underexpect God’s sovereign grace. But the kingdom of God is something we await, not create. And while we hope for policy that bends the systems of society toward justice, we won’t legislate our way to the Parousia.

We need to recover a wide-eyed Augustinian realism to counter cultural Pelagianism. Our utopianism is nourished by an overconfidence in our own powers and a blinding self-righteousness, coupled with a generic belief in the goodness of human nature (at least our human nature). The result is a political outlook that does not expect—or know what to do with—disagreement and disappointment, charging ahead with the frightening scowl of someone with good intentions.

Whenever we deploy words, especially in the service of God, we are acting politically. There is no such thing as nonpolitical language, especially when that language is bold to assert itself theologically, homiletically, or ecclesiologically. The church is a praying, singing, preaching, witnessing body. We witness to the in-breaking of God’s reign of love, justice, beauty, and abundance in time and space. We lament brokenness, evil, and violence. We proclaim that these dastardly realities are ending even as we groan and press toward God’s redemption of humanity and all of creation. Our prayers, songs, sermons, and testimonies are acts of political speech.
Servants of the church who claim that they are not political are indeed political. However, they are often servants of a politics contrary to a Christian understanding of God’s reign.

Our speech is political because it is the speech of God’s new creation. The church’s language is not spectator language. It does work, and it has work to do. The church’s language has the ambitious agenda of making all things new. And that is political.

The goal of a preacher should never to be nonpolitical. They bear witness through language and action that the God they serve is the author of the politics of abundance. There is more than enough of the physical, economic, and spiritual requirements for human flourishing in this nation and the world.
We cannot transcend politics. The gospel is a word that was used to declare the birth of a new emperor. Our speech heralds a new ruler, one hated by the Caesars and Herods who continue to kill innocents and crucify dissidents in an attempt to hold onto their power and thwart God’s reign.

Our preachers must be bold to advocate the politics of God’s realm in the church and outside of the church. We can afford good, free and socialised education because God requires it. We can afford good, free and socialised healthcare because God requires it.

We can pay a living wage because God requires it. The church has often abandoned these politics for access and power. Like Jesus they shouldn’t fear to live and to die for the politics of God’s reign. If these politics do not animate their prayers, songs, sermons, and testimonies, their speech is reduced to sounding brass and tinkling cymbals.

Their faith stands in judgment of our nation’s political leaders – of whatever ideological stripe – when they fail to uphold the values implicit in the gospel demands for justice. But our preachers should always view criticism of their preachings as an invitation for deeper dialogue and relationship, rooted in the divine gift of unity that binds us together as followers of Jesus. If we don’t talk about politics in the church setting, they are giving their congregants permission to compartmentalize their lives. Jesus Christ is Lord of all of life, including our political life, and that includes the decisions we make in the voting booth.

Fred M’membe
Garden Compound, Lusaka

Fire all corrupt ministers and permanent secretaries now!

Fire all corrupt ministers and permanent secretaries now! Featured

If President Edgar Lungu really wants to prove he is serious about tackling corruption, he must fire all ministers, permanent secretaries and other public officials involved in corruption and financial malfeasance, and fast track their prosecutions.
Cabinet ministers and all public representatives whose departments are implicated in acts of corruption and wasteful expenditure must be fired.
Mr Lungu must show decisive leadership and genuine commitment to addressing the corruption, maladministration and incompetence that is stifling the performance of his government by firing ministers who are in breach of their oath of office.
Dismissing Dr Chitalu Chilufya from his post as Minister of Health is a positive thing, but it is not enough.
Mr Lungu must now turn his attention to other corrupt ministers and other public officials who have betrayed their mandate to serve Zambians.
Throughout his presidency Mr Lungu has always, shielded his appointees by turning a blind eye to their infractions.
Money looted from government has cost individuals, families and communities dearly and has affected service delivery in some of Zambia’s poorest areas.
The mass anarchy that has come to characterise his government must end, millions of our people’s lives and jobs depend upon it.
And there’s need for expeditious criminal prosecution of all the culprits.
If Mr Lungu was serious about fighting corruption he must act now by closing the loopholes in the state tender system.

Fred M’membe

Garden Compound, Lusaka

Long Live Kampyongo

Long Live Kampyongo Featured

A large number of social media posts have expressed desire that home affairs minister Stephen Kampyongo doesn’t recover from COVID-19.
Of course, you can find people on either side of politics, or any disagreement, who sometimes feel retribution is appropriate. They believe it is acceptable, or even right, to make one person suffer if they have made others suffer.
All actions have multiple effects — and rarely are these always positive.
Don’t wish Mr Kampyongo dead no matter how much you hate him. It is wrong, evil, inhuman and unChristian to hope that someone dies.
To some extent, this is understandable: Mr Kampyongo is a terrible human being who has done a lot to wreck this country. He is bad. Many people don’t like him.
Death, however? A dead Mr Kampyongo is not a victory for those who don’t like him, his opponents. Death silences the enemy rather than defeat him. In other words, Mr Kampyongo wants us dead, whether literally or figuratively – and he probably doesn’t care which, as long as we shut up. And for him, that’s fine, because he doesn’t stand for anything beyond himself.
We, however, stand for something more: morality, honesty, reason, sacrifice, justice – virtues in opposition to everything Mr Kampyongo has attempted over the last five years. And if we’re going to profess faith in those virtues, then we must take death off the table.
This is not to say we should allow Mr Kampyongo to go unpunished – if we believe in justice, then his punishment is a necessity.

Fred M’membe

Garden Compound, Lusaka

Press Statement of the Socialist Party on the termination of appointment of Dr. Chitalu Chilufya as Minister of Health

Press Statement of the Socialist Party on the termination of appointment of Dr. Chitalu Chilufya as Minister of Health Featured

The Socialist Party views the termination of Dr. Chitalu Chilufya’s appointment as Minister of Health by President Edgar Lungu as an action that was long overdue.

At the centre of the current corruption scandal in a procurement of USD 17 million worth of fake medicines, leaking condoms and gloves. Apart from the immense amounts of money involved. Thousands of lives of our citizens are endangered by this act of greed and impunity.

The termination of Dr. Chilufya’s appointment is however not sufficient. All the money spent on this procurement must be paid back to the people of Zambia. Criminal prosecution must also be initiated against the entire team that was involved in this procurement. This includes the suppliers of the fake medicines and defective supplies.

This procurement scandal is just one of the many involving the Ministry of Health. Easier access to donor funding, a glaring lack of internal controls, a compromised role of the Ministry of Finance and an Office of the President that has continually been co-opted in a parasitic relationship with the Ministry of Health have all contributed towards the never-ending decay of this key Ministry.

The issue at hand therefore goes beyond Dr. Chilufya. We are dealing with a government agency, like many others, that has nurtured corruption and made it part of its culture. The newly appointed Minister of Health, Dr. Jonas Chanda, will end up the same way. The greediness and individualism embedded in neo-liberal capitalism compromises the chances for accountability and a leadership that is answerable to the masses of our people. It creates arrogant and little monsters out of would be leaders.

Statement Issued by:Dr. Cosmas Musumali

Socialist PartyGeneral Secretary,

Nahubwe Area, Itezhitezhi

Together we can transform Nsingo Ward – Chirwa

Together we can transform Nsingo Ward – Chirwa Featured

Socialist Party Nsingo ward aspiring councillor in Luangeni Constituency of Eastern Province Emmanuel Chirwa has pledged to work with the people once voted into office.

Speaking at a mobilization meeting in his ward, Chirwa said Nsingo ward had been neglected for so many years and yet people had been entrusted with leadership positions to develop the area.

Chirwa assured the people of Nsingo ward that once voted into office he would consult with the constituents on the priority areas for development.

“A good leader should seat with his or her people from time to time and see which things are supposed to be worked on and find a solution together with them,” said Chirwa.

Chirwa also bemoaned lack of markets for the farmers’ produce in the area.

“People face two major problems: one they walk long distances to find markets to sale their farming produce, and two, the roads are in a deplorable state, so all those need to be addressed by the leaders who were voted into office but that is not working,” he said.

Chirwa said the answer lied in the Socialist Party, Dr Fred M’membe and his team to deal with all these challenges.

“Some of the roads which we need to work on are, Msipazi-Makwe road, Kafweteka-Mwami road and Jenda-Kayeka rural health center road,” he said.

The Socialist Party has been in Nsingo Ward of Luangeni Constituency mobilizing the party.

Have a head for figures

Have a head for figures Featured

It’s crass dishonest to claim that President Edgar Lungu is a blessing and has brought good to Zambia.
This claim is wrong because it agrees neither with facts over the years of Mr Lungu’s presidency, nor with the social facts, statistics so far known to us.
The rural poverty under Mr Lungu’s reign is 76.6 per cent. The three poorest provinces of our country – Western, Luapula and Northern provinces – have poverty levels of 82.2 per cent, 81.1 per cent and 79.7 per cent respectively.
Our maternal mortality rate is 213 deaths/100,000 live births; infant mortality rate stands at 56 deaths/1,000 live births; our physicians density or doctor ratio is 9 doctors/100,000 population; and we have a death rate of 11.6 deaths/1,000 population. Is this the good, the blessing Mr Lungu has brought us?
Let’s learn to argue with facts, figures; let’s learn to have a head for figures. That is to say, we must attend to the quantitative aspect of a situation and make a basic quantitative analysis. Every quality manifests itself in a certain quantity, and without quantity, there can be no quality. To this day many of our politicians still do not understand that they must attend to the quantitative aspect of things – the basic statistics, the main percentages and the quantitative limits that determine the qualities of things. They have no figures in their heads and therefore cannot help making mistakes and wrong conclusions.
The truth is the history of humankind is one of continuous development from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom. That is what dialectics teaches us. And this process is never-ending. In any society in which classes exist class struggle will never end; and the struggle between truth and falsehood will never end.
Zambia’s problems are complicated, and our brains must also be a little complicated.
Today our population is 17,426,623 (July 2020 est.) and at our current population growth rate of 2.89 per cent (2020 est) in the next 15 years our country’s population will more than double. What will life be like for doubled Zambian population in 15 years in terms of food, water, sanitation, housing, education, health, transportation and so on and so forth?

Fred M’membe

Garden Compound, Lusaka

We have very dangerous security inefficiencies

We have very dangerous security inefficiencies Featured

IT is always very important to do things the right way, even if it calls for our greatest efforts.

If things were done the right way, it wouldn’t have required four days for the police to give the President a report on the shooting and killing of two innocent and unarmed people.

If things were done the right way, the report on it would have been instant – 24 hours at most.

If things were done the right way, all the commands up to the shooting would have been documented.

I have not been in the police but I believe the procedures for crowd, riot, or protest control are similar to those followed by military units.

No field commander disperses a crowd without a written order. When that order is given, snipers are chosen, usually one per platoon. These are the only soldiers with live ammunition. And the number of bullets each sniper is given is recorded. No one just jumps out of a troop carrier and starts shooting. The crowd is told using loud speakers to disperse. They are intimidated in all sorts of ways.

The unit responsible for dispersing the crowd should also have a banner clearly instructing the crowd to disperse.

If that fails, the field commander should seek further orders about the next move. The order to shoot and disable the ringleaders, who have been identified in the crowd, should come from on high. All these orders are well recorded.

The snipers will be given specific orders by the field commander to shoot. When the crowd had been dispersed, the unit is regrouped to take stock of the arrests and injuries or deaths on both sides. And each sniper accounts for the ammunition given to him. In this way it is not difficult to know who fired his gun and how much ammunition was used.

Crowd dispersal of that magnitude could not, therefore, be a low-level command issue.

What is also shocking in this case is that the shooting took place in front of the police headquarters and ministries of home affairs and defence. And this is where the Vice-President’s office is and where the chief of military intelligence works. What was his report to the President?

What did the army commander, who is the chairman of the Joint Security Committee, know and tell the President?

What did the chief of intelligence know and tell the President?

We have all pointed fingers at the Inspector General of Police, but what about all these other people, including the Minister of Home Affairs, who had been issuing so many “orders” and statements in relation to the issue?

The picture that emerges here is one of an inefficient, ineffective and disorderly security system – veritable chaos.

And to top it all, the Minister of Home Affairs tells the nation that an opposition party brought in mercenaries to disturb the country’s peace and should have left or been arrested. What madness is this? Why were they not arrested if they were there? This is a very cheap and poor way of trying to divert public attention from the regime’s crimes.

But those with responsibility for these killings shouldn’t kid themselves that the matter is over. This will come back to haunt them in the future. These are very serious human rights violations, which can cause someone to be rejected as an ambassador to some countries. This happened to former Inspector General of Police Mateyo, who was rejected as ambassador to Germany in similar circumstances. There are also some officers from our security agencies who have been rejected by the United Nations for various postings on similar grounds.

They can be protected today, but that protection won’t last forever. One day they will have to account for their part in these killings and human rights violations.

This is a matter of great public interest and the President must release the report of the findings to the public. He can’t simply sit on it. All, especially the families of the two innocent citizens who were killed, deserve to know what really happened and who were responsible for those deaths.

Fred M’membe,

Garden Compound, Lusaka.

Inequality impeding economic growth, increasing suffering

Inequality impeding economic growth, increasing suffering Featured

During Covid19 pandemic the poor have become poorer. Prices have substantially risen. Many people are pushed to extreme poverty.

But also this time many millionaires or billionaires have increased their wealth excessively.

In Zambia, a trend was noted while millions of poor children have missed out on education, those from affluent families learnt online or were able to access e-learning on different platforms,including, Whats App.

We as a country need to build a better, fairer, equitable and just society. Poverty levels are high. Northern Province has 79.7 per cent poverty levels. Some areas of Zambia have even higher than this.

The fight against inequality requires the involvement of people at grassroots level. No doubt about this. In some areas of Zambia, we can see passion and proactive attitudes of people to change their lives. But they don’t know how.

So why grassroots involvement?

This is where people need to work collectively and organize themselves to bring about change with good leadership in place to support them. Letting people use their Voices and be heard. How else can they be served without being heard? They had to be a stop of weakening voices of the ordinary people let them be heard. Let them govern.

Inequality is not just hindering growth of our economy by causing poor production from the vast number of poor Zambians, and therefore results in no excess for agro-processing and/ or export to bring money into country, it also exacerbates poverty.

Its making societies/ communities less healthy. Zambia is 4th hungriest country in Africa. Poor diet leading to stunted growth, poor school performance, and families hungry will produce less. Poor production, leading to poor rural development and again poor health and an economy non performing continues in a viscous cycle. The poor get poorer in every way. This unacceptable cycle continues. 

Inequality has also created mistrust. People failed over and over again and they don’t trust government and politicians. Hope is reduced, and this affects production, they get even poorer , with everything which  goes with this persisting.

Inequality to the poor additionally hampers vital action to climate change which in turn affects rain and production and economy at large. In many rural areas you drive around trees cut for either “Chitemene” system of cultivation, or for charcoal. How do you tell these people to stop without replacing with an option . Like lime supplement instead of cutting trees and burning. And it’s any tree cut until it runs out locally.

Addressing inequality will also reduce corruption. It’s rampant and down the line it’s the poor and economy which suffers more. 

As a country enhancing power of all our people is critical. Supporting communities, women, youth , children’s education, cooperatives, finance and marketing of products. Let people be heard at every level.

From grassroots, strengthening big numbers of people to come together and build their communities with support from government.

There has to be redistribution of wealth, equity, through government funded actions and accountability to the public and to the nation. Accountability to all and to the poor, to break the viscous cycle of inequality and poverty.

Let’s struggle together as a nation for our nation. You have to plough to get crops they won’t just appear. We have to plough at inequality factors until it concedes and we have a harvest.

As Zambians, strong, organized revolutionary actions together with good honest leadership, can transform our nation.We can transform lives of people and economy. We can give hope to generations, better peace and better lives.

Margaret Pikiti

Socialist Party parliamentary candidate for Malole Constituency.

Wasting the lives of our children

Wasting the lives of our children Featured

Today it doesn’t hurt our political leaders if a Zambian is hungry, if a Zambian child has no doctor, if a Zambian child suffers or is uneducated, or if a family has no housing. It should hurt us even though it’s not our brother, our son or our father. Being Christians demands that of us; human solidarity and decency demands that of us; beings socialists entails commitment to solidarity.

Good political leaders, Christians, socialists should know that the life of a single Zambian is worth millions of times more than all the property of the richest or the power of most politically powerful man in this country.

Today Zambia is fourth hungriest country in Africa after the Central African Republic, Chad and Madagascar. It is the fifth in the world after the Central African Republic, Chad, Madagascar and Yemen. The Central African Republic and Chad are deserts or semi deserts – they don’t have the rains, water and good agricultural soils we are blessed with. Madagascar has had devastating natural calamities. Yemen has been destroyed by an unending civil war.

Hundreds of thousands of children in Zambia are today impacted by hunger. This is what it means for our children to be the fifth hungriest country in the world.

Hunger affects children’s physical and cognitive development prenatally, perinatally, during early years, and some of the effects continue through adolescents and adulthood. Some of the physical effects of hunger are malnutrition, stunted growth, wasting, babies born prematurely, low birth weights, and in extreme cases infant and child mortalities.

Other effects are poor health, physical symptoms such as stomachaches and headaches, signs of worry, anxiety, and behavior problems. Cognitive effects of hunger include babies who are born with smaller brain size, poor performance on measures of infant cognitive development, lower scores on both IQ and achievement tests, likelihood of impaired mental and intellectual delays, and inability to engage fully in school.

How can valuable life be wasted in this way and our political leaders go to sleep peacefully and waste money in the way they are doing?

Fred M’membe

Garden Compound, Lusaka

Sinda Residents praise SP for the agriculture programs

Sinda Residents praise SP for the agriculture programs Featured

Residents of Sinda constituency in Eastern Province have praised the Socialist Party for training small scale farmers on how to produce organic fertilizer.

Speaking to Socialist Party media team immediately after the training Paul Mbewe of Chiwuyu ward said the promotion of organic fertilizer would impact, particularly small scale farmers.

Mbewe said the party has really shown the people of Sinda and the country that it is really standing for the poor.

“At first when we were told through a meeting that the party offers free trainings on how to produce organic fertilizer we thought it’s a joke, as many political parties coming here have just been lying to us. A week later, the Socialist Party sent a team to train us on how we can come up with organic fertilizer, thanks to Dr Fred M’membe and the Socialist Party in Eastern Province for considering us for such a beautiful programme,” said Mbewe.

Mbewe has since urged Zambians to fully support the party as it has already started demonstrating its ability to work for with the people.

“We want to assure you that you have our 100 percent vote here in Chiwuyu Ward. This is the type of politics we need, not politics of name calling and insults. You have given us full knowledge and no one will steal this from us, you have our vote, yes I mean it, you have our vote and support,” he said.

Another resident Betina Phiri commended the Socialist Party for introducing the small scale farmers to sustainable methods of farming.

Phiri said she has never seen a political party offering such progressive programs to the voters since she was born.

“Where were you all this time? why did you let us suffer like this at the hands of people who don’t care about our life, about our farming, such programs should continue and we promise to campaign for you in all corners of eastern province because this is what we need, not always giving us chitenge materials which are not even strong. From today we are SP and we pledge our support,” said Phiri

Phiri has also urged the people of Sinda constituency to vote wisely and vote for a developmental oriented party such as Socialist Party.

“Don’t go and cast your votes because of the chitenge material look for the parties which have the manifesto to benefit us. A good example is the Socialist Party which has just train us on how we can make organic fertilizer,” she said.

Meanwhile John Zulu who was facilitating and who is also Socialist Party Kasenengwa member of parliament candidate urged farmers to apply the knowledge on fertilizer making in their fields as this will help them in reducing the cost of buying fertilizer.

Zulu assured the people that the Socialist Party would continue training farmers as Eastern Province is an agriculture hub.

“We as Socialist Party will continue offering such programs to the people of Eastern Province and we will train more members so that we can cover the whole province. Together we can change this country. Look, the agricultural sector no longer viable due to high prices of fertilizer and maize seeds,” said Zulu.

And Socialist Party Mkaika Constituency candidate Martin Phiri has thanked the people of Sinda for welcoming the program in the area.

Phiri said the Socialist Party would change the political system of the country as other political parties are just there to give handouts and not offering solutions to the challenges the people are going through.

“Am urging other political parties to do issue based campaigns and stop politics of insults and handouts, we in the socialist party we will train our people in many ways and together with our communities will achieve our goals,” said Phiri.

Lying, bullying and bribing people

Lying, bullying and bribing people Featured

As we approach August 12 lies will increase from our politicians. As they always do during election periods, attempts will be made to deceive and manipulate our people with mealie-meal, salt, sugar, cooking oil, soap, chitenges, t-shirts and some little amounts of money. This is the way they try to buy votes cheaply. But the Zambian people shouldn’t forget Michael Sata’s great teaching on this score: Don’t Kubeba – take whatever they bring, and even ask them for more, but don’t vote for them! Don’t let them fool you, instead fool them.
Remember: liars promise heaven but can’t deliver even purgatory.
For us, socialists, we say ‘the people will deliver to themselves justice, equity and peace’. It’s not anyone else but yourselves delivering to yourselves all these things. What you can’t do for yourselves, no one will do it for you. Leaders lead, the people govern.
They will tell you that if you vote for us we will give you this, deliver you this, bring this and that. Do they bring it? Do they deliver it?
For us, we always bear in mind that the people are not fighting for ideas, for the things in anyone’s head. They are fighting to win material benefits, to live better and in peace, to see their lives go forward, to guarantee the future of their children.
We believe in telling our the truth and not lies and in exposing lies whenever they are told. We must hide nothing from the masses of our people. We must not mask difficulties, mistakes or failures. And we should claim no easy victories. That is what believe in and teach ourselves.
A socialist should have largeness of mind and he or she should be staunch and active, looking upon the interests of the people as his or her very own and subordinate his or her personal interests to those of the masses.
Every comrade must be brought to understand that the supreme test of the words and deeds of a socialist is whether they conform with the highest interests and enjoy the support of the overwhelming majority of the people. At no time and in no circumstances should a socialist place his personal interests first; he should subordinate them to the interests of the nation and of the masses. Hence, selfishness, slacking, corruption, seeking the limelight, and so on, are most contemptible, while selflessness, working with all one’s energy, whole-hearted devotion to public duty, and quiet hard work will command respect.
Socialists must be ready at all times to stand up for the truth, because truth is in the interests of the people; socialists must be ready at all times to correct their mistakes, because mistakes are against the interests of the people.
Socialists must always go into the why’s and wherefore’s of anything, use their own heads and carefully think over whether or not it corresponds to reality and is really well founded; on no account should they follow blindly and encourage slavishness.
Socialists should set an example in being practical as well as far-sighted. For only by being practical can they fulfil the appointed tasks, and only far-sightedness can prevent them from losing their bearings in the march forward. Socialists should be the most farsighted, the most self-sacrificing, the most resolute, and the least prejudiced in sizing up situations, and should rely on the majority of the masses and win their support.
We socialists are like seeds and the people are like the soil. Wherever we go, we must unite with the people, take root and blossom among them. We must be able to integrate ourselves with the masses in all things.
Socialists must listen attentively to the views of people outside our party and let them have their say. If what they say is right, we ought to welcome it, and we should learn from their strong points; if it is wrong, we should patiently explain things to them. This is what we demand of ourselves and all our members and not going around telling lies, bullying and bribing people.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Garden Compound, Lusaka

Statement of the Socialist Party on the Mumbwa floods disaster

Statement of the Socialist Party on the Mumbwa floods disaster Featured

While we welcome the quick response by the government and its agencies to the Mumbwa floods disaster, we think more needs to be done.

This disaster is not small. It calls for more effort and resources. It calls for a far much bigger response. There’s need to call for international assistance.

Flooding is increasingly becoming the most common environmental hazard in this country. And it appears to be occurring ever more frequently, intensifying in some areas and also spreading into new regions of our country. It’s not difficult to predict that the number of people affected by flooding countrywide will continue to rise annually in the course of this century.

Apart from the loss of human lives and increased health risks, the impact of flooding on our people’s economic livelihood has also been a major issue, especially in rural areas, where agriculture makes up a high proportion of household income.

While we cannot prevent natural causes like rain, we can stop the manmade causes like breaking of dams, poor drainage system, installing warning systems and more.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

Garden Compound, Lusaka

SP in government will repeal the public order Act

SP in government will repeal the public order Act Featured

The first law the Socialist Party in government will pass is the repeal of the public order Act.

And there’s no going back on this. There will be no but…

It will not be replaced by any other Act. There will simply be no public order Act or any such other laws. The Constitution has enough protections for public order. We don’t need any other additional laws. We have seen how from the colonial authorities successive governments of this country have abused the public order Act. The worst one being this current regime of the Patriotic Front and Mr Edgar Lungu.

And we don’t want to be part of such injustices and abuses. We believe that the freedom of peaceful assembly enables individuals to express themselves as part of a collective, including by engaging in public marches, protests, pickets and demonstrations. Assemblies can be platforms to advocate for change and for people to raise awareness about the issues that matter to them, whether it relates to human rights or otherwise. Assemblies often also have symbolic importance, such as in commemorating particular events or marking significant anniversaries.

The Socialist Party in government will have an obligation to ensure that the right to freedom of assembly is fully protected, including when those who assemble protest against its policies and challenge it. The Socialist Party in government will not interfere with the right to peaceful assembly simply because it disagrees with the protesters’ views, and will ensure that the right is enjoyed equally by all groups, without discrimination on any ground.

Effective protection of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly will not weaken the Socialist Party’s government; we believe that it will actually strengthen it. It helps foster a culture of open democracy, enables non-violent participation in public affairs, and invigorates discussions on important issues. Public assemblies also help to promote good governance by providing opportunities for the public to hold to account people and organisations with power.

As I have consistently stated, we believe that the exercise of power must be a constant practice of self limitation and modesty. The Socialist Party does not fear criticism because we are socialists, the truth is on our side, and the basic masses, the workers and peasants, are on our side. We have the Marxist-Leninist weapon of criticism and self-criticism. We can get rid of a bad style and keep the good.

Conscientious practice of self-criticism is still another hallmark distinguishing our Party from all other political parties. As we say, dust will accumulate if a room is not cleaned regularly, our faces will get dirty if they are not washed regularly. Our comrades’ minds and our Party’s work may also collect dust, and also need sweeping and washing. The proverb “Running water is never stale and a door-hinge is never worm-eaten” means that constant motion prevents the inroads of germs and other organisms. To check up regularly on our work and in the process develop a democratic style of work, to fear neither criticism nor self-criticism, and to apply such good popular maxims as “Say all you know and say it without reserve”, “Blame not the speaker but be warned by his words” and “Correct mistakes if you have committed them and guard against them if you have not” – this is the only effective way to prevent all kinds of political dust and germs from contaminating the minds of our comrades and the body of our Party.

If we have shortcomings, we are not afraid to have them pointed out and criticized, because we serve the people. Anyone, no matter who, may point out our shortcomings. If he is right, we will correct them. If what he proposes will benefit the people, we will act upon it.

As we Zambian socialists, who base all our actions on the highest interests of the broadest masses of the Zambian people and who are fully convinced of the justice of our cause, never balk at any personal sacrifice and are ready at all times to give our lives for the cause, can we be reluctant to discard any idea, viewpoint, opinion or method which is not suited to the needs of the people? Can we be willing to allow political dust and germs to dirty our clean faces or eat into our healthy organisms?

At this time of the year in 1898 over 10,000 young Ngonis laid down their lives in our interests, defending our land and minerals from that bandit Cecil John Rhodes and his companies, and our hearts are filled with pain as we the living think of them – can there be any personal interest, then, that we would not sacrifice or any error that we would not discard?

We must constantly criticize our shortcomings, just as we should wash our faces or sweep the floor every day to remove the dirt and keep them clean.

It is hard for any political party or person to avoid mistakes, but we should make as few as possible. Once a mistake is made, we should correct it, and the more quickly and thoroughly the better.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

Garden Compound, Lusaka

Electoral bribes

Electoral bribes Featured

All of a sudden the Patriotic Front and its government have so much money to throw around to the Zambian voters.
Where is this money coming from in a government that is embarrassingly failing to meet its debt servicing obligations?
And why this sudden benevolence? All of a sudden people are being given all sorts of handouts and gifts! What has happened?
It’s not what has happened that we should set our eyes and ears on but what is going to happen on August 12 that we should focus on. They are trying to buy our votes with money and ‘gifts’! But are we so gullible? Can these bribes blind us from seeing reality and make us vote for them despite the enormous damage they caused to our country?
Are these really people we can trust to continue presiding over our destiny?
Our country is broke because of the reckless way they have been spending public funds.
Something in the way that they have been handling public money isn’t working. Our issue isn’t just that our country doesn’t have enough money, but that when we got the money, they spent it recklessly. And they spent it on anything.  Truly, 99 per cent of the troubles that we as a nation have with money isn’t that there isn’t enough of it, but in that, we spend it recklessly once we actually get it!
What prompts a voter in Zambia to cast her ballot in favour of a candidate or political party? Typically, her choice would be influenced by the candidate’s identity, outlook, performance or ethnicity.
Cash bribes to voters are also widely thought to influence the voting choices of the poorest and most vulnerable voters.
Trying to buy votes with cash and other gifts in the run up to elections by the ruling party is not unusual in Zambia. One main reason is that politics has become fiercely competitive. The margins of victory are getting smaller and smaller.
Our elections have also become volatile. Our ruling parties do not control voters as well as they once might have done.
Our ruling parties and candidates are more uncertain about results than ever before, and try to buy votes by splurging cash on voters.
But our national experience is that bribing voters in general elections may not necessarily fetch votes. It works much more in by-elections but not in general elections.
Competitive elections prompt the ruling party to distribute handouts – primarily cash and gifts in kind – for strategic reasons. While knowing that handouts are largely inefficient, they end up facing a prisoner’s dilemma, when each prisoner’s fate relies on the other’s actions.
But as we saw in 2011
cash handouts and other gifts influenced a miniscule number of voters. Michael Sata’s ‘Don’t Kubeba’ worked! The voters have become astute, having realised that it was near-impossible for candidates and their political parties to “monitor” their voting behaviour. So they pocketed the cash and betrayed even the most generous candidate.
But there seems to be an overwhelming belief in our ruling parties that they can buy votes of poor people. That’s why they bribe voters.
Bribing voters could have a cultural explanation. There’s a feeling that our poor voters appreciate wealthy or generous candidates. And that in a highly unequal society, cash bribes and gifts create a sense of reciprocity. We have a long history of patronage politics.
Our voters have been made to expect feasts or handouts from candidates – tulyemo! Our electoral politics are increasingly being articulated in the traditional idiom of patronage. The donor-servant relation is increasingly becoming the basic formula through which people exchanged things, exercised power and related socially.
In specific historical contexts bribery may make elections less predictable, dissolving the existing ties by which the electorate are already bound to those seeking office, rather than reinforcing them.
Bribery may be considered an evil because of secondary, knock-on affects. The need to bribe implies the need to raise money. This may take place by corrupt means, or may produce financial and/or political debts, which corrupt the behaviour of politicians when in office. It may be a way in which people outside the political process, whether legitimate businessmen or criminals, such as gangsters and drug-barons nowadays, seek to control it. If pursued on a vast scale, bribery may have unfortunate political consequences by dangerously expanding credit. Moreover, if bribery is prevalent in elections, this will affect the perception of politics both by office-seekers and those who elect them. Office-seekers may come to despise the venality of an electorate, which may, unknown to them, be exercising a considerable degree of independent judgement; the electorate for its part may deduce from the bribes that it is offered, that those pursuing public office are merely self-seekers who are not concerned with the general interest of the public.
This is the reality we have to confront as we head towards August 12.

By Fred M’membe

Garden Compound, Lusaka

From a mad 2020 to a very difficult 2021

From a mad 2020 to a very difficult 2021 Featured

The past year – 2020 – was a mad year, a very difficult year.

But 2021 is likely to be even harder if we don’t work very, very hard and wisely so.

We therefore need to deeply reflect upon 2020 while looking ahead to the future’s possibilities. Time has arrived to bid farewell to the by-gone year – of gassing, COVID-19, political intolerance, economic collapse, extrajudicial killings, attempts to rape the Constitution, and so on and so forth – and to welcome new opportunities and new hopes of revolutionary change.

It gets dark sometimes but the morning comes. Let’s make the necessary changes in 2021; let’s usher in a new government and make a new start.

Going through the many difficulties and challenges of 2020 was never an interesting experience. It is a solemn year when many of us found it difficult to laugh, play, celebrate or even smile at beautiful scenery around us. The sad thought that situations around our lives will not be the same again was enough to cause anxiety.

Having survived all these difficulties and challenges to live through another year is enough to be thankful for.

2020 was a year of great sacrifices for most of our people, and thank God we have pulled together through an historically difficult year. In 2021, we must stay vigilant as we were during last year’s gassing attacks and COVID-19 spreads.

Elections are coming on August 12 despite the present challenges and difficulties we face. A new, more responsible and progressive government can be put in place this year with your vote.

Your wise vote will be a key to our recovery and revolutionary changes needed in 2021. It is said that only in hard times can wisdom, courage and perseverance be manifested.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Part

M’membe Literacy program extends to Kasenengwa constituency

M’membe Literacy program extends to Kasenengwa constituency Featured

The Fred M’membe literacy program has elated the people of Kasenengwa constituency in Eastern Province.

And the communities in Kwenje and Mpunza wards in the constituency are excited at the fact that they would now be able to comprehend documents presented to them, including reading and writing.

The Socialist Party in Kasenengwa has launched the Fred M’membe adult literacy classes.

Speaking at the launch of the programme, Socialist Party Mpunza ward aspiring councillor Acklas Phiri said it was empowering for those recruited to undertake the programme as they would also minimize incidents of being swindled by unscrupulous people.

Phiri said a lot of people have been swindled in many ways as they have been signing on things that they don’t know or understand.

“These classes will reduce the swindling in our area and many people will also start following current affairs. When people from outside introduce projects they use English language and as such our members end up accepting things they don’t know or understand,” said Phiri.

He also called on the teachers to be dedicated to the work they have welcomed to start teaching elder people in the area.

“Am appealing to elder people to come in numbers and register to take part in these literacy classes as they are very beneficial to our community and the country,” he said.

And one of the learners, Mary Ngoma has commended the Socialist Party MP candidate for Kasenengwa constituency John Zulu for coming on board to reduce illiteracy levels in the two wards.

“My fellow elder people let’s take part in this wonderful program so that no one should cheat us to do what is not right for our families and our future, let me also take this opportunity to say thank you to Dr Fred M’membe through our able candidate John Zulu and the Socialist Party for answering our prayers,” said Ngoma.

She said a lot of adults in the areas had no opportunity to learn how to read or write and yet an opportunity had been presented to them.

Meanwhile, SP Kasenengwa MP Candidate John Zulu has called on members of the Party not to stop anyone from attending the classes. He said the classes are for everyone regardless of their political affiliation.

“Let’s all learn, the lessons are free and they are open to everyone regardless of their political affiliation, yes the program is from the Socialist Party but it’s for the community. Together we can eradicate illiteracy in Kasenengwa counstitucy,” said Zulu.

He emphasized that no one should be told to pay as the party has already provided teaching and learning materials.

Politics of Ideas Possible – Not Pangas and Screw Drivers

Politics of Ideas Possible – Not Pangas and Screw Drivers Featured

Today, Zambia stands at a crossroad of a growing culture of violence and intolerance. While the majority of us bury our heads with an illusion that we are a peaceful country, there is a growing well-resourced, well-organised system that has put young people at the centre of the politics of pangas and screw drivers. Increasingly, we as a country are being placed on the world map for the wrong reasons.

We note with sadness that existing political parties have made little effort to none to inculcate idea and value-based politics to equip young people with a deeper and more complex understanding of politics and ideology in a fast-changing world. So far, the Socialist Party stands out in pushing for idea and value-based politics that if emulated could contribute to a truly transformed and exciting political landscape in Zambia. However, the Socialist Party’s journey to push for politics grounded in ideas has not been without challenges.

In 2018, the General Secretary and First vice president of the Socialist Party, Dr Cosmas Musheke Musumali appointed an interim leadership of the Socialist Youth League (SYL). I was assigned the task of General Secretary of the Youth League. That year, I spent most of my free time cris-crossing different compounds in Lusaka along with senior comrades. We mobilized, formed branches, ward and constituency structures. All the while, my fellow young comrades and I were just happy and often clumsy participants. During that period, we had one task, to learn!

In July of the same year, senior party comrades decided that we had learnt enough, and it was time for us to get on the ground, to mobilize the youth and coordinate at a National Level. The Socialist Party president, Comrade Dr Fred M’membe asked us to draft a youth program which we would use for the next couple of months. That cloudy and windy day in July could easily pass for the first day of the summer. Excitement was definitely an understatement. In our minds, we would go on to build a youth movement that would have left the grass root organizers of Chachacha days red with envy. Armed with socialist ideology, patriotism and flirtations with pan Africanism, we were convinced that we would win over the majority of Zambia’s youth. That together, we would build a better country and continent for ourselves. As the Youth Collective then, we were convinced we would achieve our objective of building sustainable structures of the Youth League across all provinces within the space of five (5) months.

To this day, I am not sure if that goal was simply ambitious or the naivety of the teenagers, as we were then. But what we also know from history and our liberation is that young people in those movements were equipped ideologically to independence.

In August 2018, we began our work. We made our phone calls, and only one constituency was ready to start working with us immediately. That month, we formed our first youth structure in Kanyama, Chibolya Compound to be specific. It was a very interesting experience. As the months wore on, we gained momentum. We formed more structures; these were not void of challenges and mistakes but we kept moving.

In 2019, we set out to carry on our first titanic task that would be our vision to contribute to politics of ideas for a better Zambia. We were going to start a free tuition program for our members who were writing their Grade 12 or GCE Examinations. Our education system is designed in such a way that many pupils in government schools don’t have sufficient hours to learn, not enough teachers, often empty libraries and several other factors that make it hard for the pupils in government schools to pass their exams. We were determined to make sure the members of the Youth League from humble backgrounds would all clear their GCE or Grade 12 examinations.

That August we initiated our pilot project in ward 10, Kanyama. We convinced two of our senior comrades, who were also teachers, to give up a few hours of their weekends to teach these classes. We secured one white board from our Party offices. A Comrade offered their home for our activity. We asked another for money, to buy some markers, another comrade offered some more money, which we spent on water for the teachers and participants. We drew up a program. That first Saturday of August, we gathered our young members and the program kick started with lesson 1 in Mathematics. That first day was a proud moment for us. We left our Kanyama youth coordinator in charge, and decided to not visit the next class and instead get a report the following weekend.

The next weekend, I received a call from our Kanyama coordinator telling me he had dispersed all learners. He told me some of our comrades had been attacked by Cadres and it was not safe, before I could ask any questions he hang up. I called him back severally, his phone went unanswered. My heart sank. Worse off, I had no idea what was going on and who was hurt. A couple of hours later he called and told me that the attack wasn’t on the young comrades, instead, senior comrades were having an unrelated but quiet meeting in a different part of the constituency. He explained that some cadres from a different party heard of the meeting, and decided to disrupt it. They arrived in typical disappointing cadre fashion. In a bus, drunk, armed with pangas, screw drivers and machetes. They arrived where our senior’s comrades were meeting and disorganized their meeting. They broke windows, knocked heads and stabbed a few of our senior comrades with screw drivers. They had blocked the entrance; senior comrades were forced jump over the wall fence and run for dear life.

Needless to say, our pilot project was immediately cancelled. We were promptly informed that if some cadres from that party found out that we were running such a program in that area, they would put a stop to it with pangas before it gained attraction of the community. Cancelling this noble cause of ideas broke our hearts to but we soldiered on. Before that fateful day, I thought the politics of pangas and screw drivers was nothing but senseless clashing between overzealous and foolish youth. I would later learn that it’s a well-oiled, heavily funded and calculated system. A comrade who used to be a Commander in some party would one day sit me down, and explain this complex system to me. From the dispatch of weapons, to the flow of cash. There is a hierarchy, a system of communication and chess like moves are employed. The goal is to ensure that all would be political opponents are too afraid to mobilise. The result, one party dominates an area. Not that the people don’t like any other party, but they are left almost without options. Nonetheless, we kept moving.

We are no longer as naive to think organising or mobilising will be a walk in the park. Nonetheless, we remain hopeful and optimistic that it is possible to build a better country with a youth grounded in progressive knowledge and ideas for real change.

Intimidation won’t stop the revolution – Ngoma

Intimidation won’t stop the revolution – Ngoma Featured

The Socialist Party in Vubwi district says no amount of intimidation will stop the revolutionary work under way in the country.

Commenting on the summoning of Vubwi constituency coordinator Angela Zimba by the Vubwi Police and the intimidations by PF party cadres, Mabvuto Ngoma expressed his disappointment that SP members continue to receive threats due to their party work.

Zimba and her team are in Vubwi conducting literacy programs for the people in the area.

“We have noted that the ruling party continues to stand in the way of the opposition which has better plans for the poor people of Zambia? This simply shows that the ruling party is an enemy of democracy and development and they don’t want to see real progress or through human development taken to the people by the opposition,” said Ngoma.

He said the ruling party should exercise tolerance of plurality and diversity. They should allow other opposition parties to reach out to Zambians. Illiteracy is a national problem as such programs that seek to eradicate illiteracy among adults and less privileged young people who don’t know how to read and write should be welcomed.

“No one will stop us from doing what is right for our people, the Socialist Party manifesto has been welcomed in almost every corner of this country and we will continue fighting for our rights and our democracy,” said Ngoma.

He has expressed disappointment that the party is being accused of buying voters cards from people when doing so is against the SP values of honesty, equity, humility and solidarity.

Meanwhile, Zimba vowed not to stop implementing progressive programs that benefit the people.

She said the literacy program was not only benefiting Socialist Party members but anyone including those supporting the Patriotic Front.

She said the Socialist Party was a pro-poor working class party whose agenda is to transform the lives of the majority Zambians.

“I was shocked when I was summoned by the police in Vubwi, and I was also shocked to hear that I was buying voters cards. How can an opposition party start buying voters cards? With what capacity? Can that surely happen, why is it that the ruling party fear anything if they have really worked as they have been saying,” said Zimba.

She said the ruling party should stop wasting time fighting the opposition but instead focus and channel their energies in planning on how they will work on the Chipata-Vubwi and Vubwi-Chadiza roads.

And Zimba has commended Vubwi police officers for handling the matter in a professional manner and urge them to continue being professional.

This man is really cruel!

This man is really cruel! Featured

The cruelty and killings going on in our country today under the presidency of Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu makes me reflect and deeply meditate over the presidency of Levy Patrick Mwanawasa.
It is said that “if you want to find out what a man is to the bottom, give him power. Any man can stand adversity — only a great man can stand prosperity”.
It is the glory of Levy that he never abused power only on the side of mercy. He was a perfectly honest man. When he had power, he used it in mercy.
Nothing discloses real character like the use of power. It is easy for the weak to be gentle. Most people can bear adversity. But if you wish to know what a man really is, give him power. This is the supreme test. It is the glory of Levy that, having almost absolute power, he never abused it, except on the side of mercy.
When early in his presidency Mr Lungu declared that he will “crush like a tonne of bricks anyone who tries to stand in his way ” many of us didn’t seem to pay much attention to what he was saying. Yet the man was revealing something very fundamental about his character and rule – cruelty!
This man has really been very cruel to others. His cruelty is really that of a sadist, psychopath. Look at what he has done to Hakainde Hichilema! Chishimba Kambwili! Harry Kalaba! Kelvin Bwalya Fube! And many others!
Count how many people have been killed by police under his watch for simply assembling to offer solidarity or protest against an injustice!
Humans are the glory and the scum of the universe, concluded the French philosopher, Blaise Pascal, in 1658. When one looks at the conduct of Mr Lungu, little has actually changed. We love and we loathe. We help and we harm. We reach out a hand and we stick in the knife.
We understand if someone lashes out in retaliation or self-defence. But when someone harms the harmless, we ask: “How could you?”
Humans typically do things to get pleasure or avoid pain. For most of us, hurting others causes us to feel their pain. And we don’t like this feeling. This suggests two reasons people may harm the harmless – either they don’t feel the others’ pain or they enjoy feeling the others’ pain.
Another reason people harm the harmless is because they nonetheless see a threat. Someone who doesn’t imperil your body or wallet can still threaten your social status.
Liberal societies assume causing others to suffer means we have harmed them. Yet some philosophers reject this idea. In the 21st Century, can we still conceive of being cruel to be kind?
Someone who gets pleasure from hurting or humiliating others is a sadist. Sadists feel other people’s pain more than is normal. And they enjoy it. At least, they do until it is over, when they may feel bad.
The popular imagination associates sadism with torturers and murderers. Yet there is also the less extreme, but more widespread, phenomenon of everyday sadism.
Most people would flinch from having to torture another human being, mainly because when we inflict harm on others, we share some of that pain.
Everyday sadists get pleasure from hurting others or watching their suffering.
They are rare, but not rare enough.
Unlike sadists, psychopaths don’t harm the harmless simply because they get pleasure from it – though they may. Psychopaths want things. If harming others helps them get what they want, so be it.
Can you ever change a psychopath’s mind? They can act this way because they are less likely to feel pity or remorse or 
fear. They can also work out what others are feeling but not get infected by such feelings themselves. Many who harm, torture or kill will be haunted by the experience. Yet psychopathy is a powerful predictor of someone inflicting unprovoked violence.
Italian philosopher and diplomat Niccolò Machiavelli once suggested that “the times, not men, create disorder”. Consistent with this, neuroscience suggests sadism could be a survival tactic triggered by times becoming tough.
Sadism and psychopathy are associated with other traits, such as narcissism and Machiavellianism. Such traits, taken together, are called the “dark factor of personality” or D-factor for short.
We all have a role to play in reducing cruelty.
Sadism involves enjoying another person’s humiliation and hurt. Yet it is often said that dehumanising people is what allows us to be cruel. Potential victims are labelled as dogs, lice or cockroaches, allegedly making it easier for others to hurt them.
There is something to this. Research shows that if someone breaks a social norm, our brains treat their faces as less human. This makes it easier for us to punish people who violate norms of behaviour.
It is a sweet sentiment to think that if we see someone as human then we won’t hurt them. It is also a dangerous delusion. The psychologist Paul Bloom argues our worst cruelties may rest on not dehumanising people. People may hurt others precisely because they recognise them as human beings who don’t want to suffer pain, humiliation or degradation.
Clearly, the exercise of power must be a constant practice of self limitation and modesty.

Fred M’membe

Playing musical instruments not for dull people

Playing musical instruments not for dull people Featured

This month I had the incredible opportunity to visit my old secondary school, St. Francis Secondary School, in Malole, Mungwi, Northern Province.

This was something I was really looking forward to for sometime. I wanted to remember what it was like to be me 44 years ago. It still blows my mind that I’ve been out of secondary school for that long.

Okay, fine. The voice of accuracy in my head desperately wants me to clarify how long it’s really been. Oh. Hello, memories. Thought you’d left me on this trip. I stared blankly at the buildings for a few moments. Overall, I was quite pleased with my visit.

The main reason for this visit was music – to share a few musical instruments with my former school band. I had a nice chat with the headmaster, the band master and other teachers. I also had some very useful conversations with the learners – players of musical instruments. We talked about music and its importance in our lives.

A lot of thoughts went through head, accompanied some very strong emotions which such comebacks usually generate. Looking at the poor state and small numbers of musical instruments the band had, I realised that those who administer our schools are not paying sufficient attention to music courses. There seem to be a general belief that students who devote time to music rather than mathematics, science and English, will underperform in those disciplines.

But research has proved this belief wrong and found the more the students engage with music, the better they do in those subjects. The students who learned to play a musical instrument in school not only score significantly higher, but were about one academic year ahead of their non-music peers with regard to their English, mathematics and science skills, as measured by their exam grades, regardless of their socioeconomic background, prior learning in mathematics and English.

Skills learned in instrumental music transfer very broadly to the students’ learning in school. In our days at both St. John’s Secondary School Band and St. Francis Secondary School Band students of music generally performed better than those who were not in the band. The best student at Cambridge ‘O’ Level exams the whole country in 1976 when I finished Form V was my classmate – Charles Malata, Prof Mister Charles Malata and one of the top best plastic surgeons in the UK. Charles played the flute in the band. We also had Kenneth Konga, a trombone player, who went on to become an electrical engineer and a minister in the Rupiah Banda Cabinet.

I played the trumpet, mellow phone, French Horn and the Baritone Horn. All our music students did very well in their exams. Learning to play a musical instrument and playing in a band is very demanding. It’s not for dull people. A student has to learn to read music notation, develop eye-hand-mind coordination, develop keen listening skills, develop team skills for playing in a band and develop discipline to practice. All those learning experiences, and more, play a role in enhancing the learner’s cognitive capacities, executive functions, motivation to learn in school, and self-efficacy.

Music education – multiple years of high-quality instrumental learning and playing in a band at an advanced level – can be the very thing that improves all-around academic achievement and an ideal way to have students learn more holistically in schools. Playing musical instruments is not for fools. Look at how smart, intelligent our musicians are – the players of musical instruments!

Fred M’membe

Attempts to buy votes in Lubemba won’t work

Attempts to buy votes in Lubemba won’t work Featured

I have been reading about the leadership of the ruling party having pushed in a lot of money, bicycles and even some automobiles into Lubemba.
This is said to have been done through some chiefs to help them buy the votes of their subjects. It won’t work.
In life, and much more so in politics, it is always very important to be clear about things.
Chiefs in Lubemba are not absolute rulers. They don’t rule by decrees like some other monarchs. Ours is a highly democratic, decentralised and accountable system with very strong checks and balances. Power in Lubemba doesn’t lie with the chiefs alone. It is fairly shared among the chiefs, Bashilubemba, Banamfumu, the subjects and even Bakabilo. And the ordinary umubemba has a say in what goes on the kingdom or chiefdom. He or she has direct audience with chief wherever he or she finds the Kanabesa. It is said that wherever the chief is found is the palace. This means the subject can way lay the chief and have audience with him.
Ulubemba is decentralised into three regions – Ituna, the Kasama part headed by senior chief Mwamba and assisted by many sub chiefs and village headmen and women; Inchinga, headed by senior chief Nkula and assisted by many sub chiefs and village headmen and women; and Lubemba, the capital for the Chitimukuku but also assisted by many sub chiefs and village headmen and women. Each of these regions of Lubemba determines it’s own affairs without interference from the Chitimukuku, save for issues that affected the entire Lubemba like wars.
The powers of the chiefs are in many ways well checked and balanced by Bashilubemba and others.
Bashilubemba have powers to remove chiefs.
And not every qualifying Bemba royal can become a chief. Only the best among the qualify royals, impanda, are chosen to become chiefs.
This ensures quality leadership in the kingdom or chiefdom. We have quality leadership in Lubemba that cannot be easily bought with bicycles, cars and money. They can buy or manipulate a few but not many or all.
And there are very serious consequences for those sell out!
Lelo Ulubemba nalusebana kubupina. It is the third poorest region of our country – with 79.7 per cent ubupina.
Their bribes won’t do. They are dealing with people they don’t understand and in the wrong way and at the wrong time. Every umubemba is born with a certain adequate minimum amount of wisdom and integrity.
I can speak with a lot of confidence about these issues because I know what I am talking about, I am a Bemba royal.

Fred M’membe

This Christmas we have to make sacrifices

This Christmas we have to make sacrifices Featured

There’s need for us all to realize that this Christmas we have to make sacrifices. It will not be possible to celebrate Christmas and end or begin the year in the way we are accustomed to.

The many activities that are usually associated with the festive season must make way for the things that really matter — family and friends, caring for one another, physical and spiritual rejuvenation.

It’s hard to think of a Christmas season when all of us across width and breadth of our country have needed the break more acutely.

The truth is that 2020 has been a hard year for our country. With our economy in shambles and our politics in gridlock, and public discourse too often descending into rancour and abuse, it’s felt like we’ve been living permanently under a dark cloud.

All of us across Zambia have too often focused on the differences between us, rather than on what ties us together. So I hope the magic of Christmas casts its spell for people this year, helping families and friends remember what it is that unites them, not divides them.

I hope it reminds us that, despite the sound and fury of our national debate, the bonds of family, community and country are still deep and lasting.

Yes, it’s a cliché that Christmas is the season of goodwill. But its important for all of us that we demonstrate that goodwill to each other this year and that, for a week or so, hopefully the acrimony can fall silent.

It’s also a time to thank our doctors, clinical officers, nurses and other medical workers who will be working over the Christmas holiday. I hope they get a break with their families in due course.

It’s also right to mention those people who will this year be supporting those who are ill and need help during the Christmas season, our religious leaders for whom this is such a busy time, and all those who are looking out for a neighbor or a friend who needs support at this time of year.

And I also want to ask people to think about their neighbors. Loneliness can be a terrible thing at Christmas. So we should look out for each other. Christmas is also a time to wish peace on earth, in our country.

So I wish you all a merry Christmas, and let’s make sure we have peace on earth, in our country.

Fred M’membe

Silayi Village, Kalabo

These political killings are illegal, unjustifiable and unacceptable!

These political killings are illegal, unjustifiable and unacceptable! Featured

Since the ascendancy of Mr Edgar Lungu to power, Zambia has experienced more killings of political opponents by police and ruling party cadres than under all the previous regimes combined.
And in none of these cases were the perpetrators brought to justice, not a single prosecution has yet resulted from these extra judicial killings.
It will be very difficult to deny high level political and police administration complicity in these killings.
No political differences or competition can justify yesterday’s barbaric murders by police of two innocent, defenseless and totally unarmed people.
I had the opportunity to watch a recording of the events and listen to some eyewitness.
They say police were firing teargas and live bullets recklessly and unnecessarily in all directions with no regard to the road users and those workers constructing the road near Inter-Continental Hotel who had to run away in all directions. And that the two people killed could have been any of them from the nearby buildings. They feel traumatized and wonder how the coming days, weeks and months shall be.
These killings constitute very serious human rights violation. These are murders directly committed by the authorities or condoned by the state authorities. These killings constitute human rights violations and are prohibited by international human rights law – they are extralegal, summary and arbitrary executions or extrajudicial execution or unlawful killings.
I say this because these killings have taken place at the order, complicity or with the acquiescence of the authorities, they violate laws of the Republic of Zambia such as those prohibiting murder, as well as international human rights and humanitarian standards forbidding arbitrary deprivation of life, and they have not occurred by accident, in self-defense, or through ignorance. There was no commotion at all among the assembled people until a white police van arrived, out jumped police officers who started firing live ammunition indiscriminately.
These political killings are illegal, unjustifiable and totally unacceptable, deserving only the strongest condemnations possible.
And President Lungu, home affairs minister Stephen Kampyongo and Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja must be made to account for these murders, these innocent lives they brought to an abrupt ending.
In the ordinary scheme of governance under the rule of law, Kampyongo and Kanganja would resign or be fired by their appointing authority. Only in Zambia will they shamelessly continue facing the general public.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Statement of the Socialist Party on the Economic Recovery Plan

Statement of the Socialist Party on the Economic Recovery Plan Featured

In 2011, we the people of Zambia decided to change the stewardship of our economy from the MMD to PF. This was on the promise that the PF would bring about a vigorous and unrelenting fight against poverty. We can only assume now that the PF’s campaign in 2011 was never meant to be implemented as all the economic fundamentals have been deteriorating few years after they took over the Government.

From the time the PF formed Government and more interesting since President Edgar Lungu took over the presidency of the country in 2015, economic performance has been deteriorating year after year and now Zambia does not only face an economic recession but has also become the first country to default on its debt service post COVID.

What is interesting is that the PF Government led by Mr. Lungu cannot take responsibility but want to blame climate change and now COVID 19 for all its economic management failures. And in their pompous and arrogant manner, they have constantly snubbed good sound advice, be it from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Civil Society Organisations, the Church, think Tanks or from the general citizenry. And any person with a different view is branded as bitter or a sympathiser of the opposition. This has led to the rise, in huge proportion, of a culture of personality cult whereby the President’s name has to be mentioned countless times in policies or political speeches and sycophants and demagogues of all shapes and sizes have been rewarded with jobs beyond their mental capacity in the name of political patronage and at the expense of economic development.

After playing hide and seek for too long, there is now no space for the PF to hide about how they have messed up the economy. Time has exposed how careless, thoughtless, weak and mediocre this government has been. We are happy that even if they have now shifted the blame from Climate Change to COVID-19, at least they have admitted that the economy is in dire stress.

With this admission, came the Economic Recovery Plan, which the PF Government launched last week.

In our view, as Socialist Party, however, we think the Economic Recovery Plan that was launched by the President fails the test of a responsive, robust and relevant programme that can competently address Zambia’s current challenges. At best, this plan can be described as a mere Statement of Intent with a detailed shopping list of activities and objectives that neither match the current reality nor build on past programmes.

We are however not surprised, as we know very well that the PF does not have a well-coordinated economic agenda. They have always been pursuing haphazard economic policies with disastrous results.

But before I talk about the Economic Recovery Programme, let me take this opportunity to show you, the people of Zambia, how the PF has failed to run the economic affairs of this country.

You will all recall that in 2005, we as a people embarked on ‘The Vision 2030’ whose objective was for the country to become ‘a prosperous middle-income country by the year 2030. With this Vision and the reintroduction of national development planning to operationalise The Vision, we embarked on the Fifth National Development which ran from 2006 to 2010 under the MMD Government. During this period, the country managed to achieve macroeconomic stability. The economy grew at an average of 6.4% per annum. Inflation was reduced from 15.9% to 8.2% while exchange rate stabilised and averaged K4.40 per one United States dollar.

As a result of this strong macroeconomic performance and sustained growth during the FNDP period, the country managed to attain a per capita income of above US$ 1,600. On this basis, World Bank reclassified Zambia as a Lower Middle-Income Country in 2011.

In the same year, 2011, when Zambia was reclassified as a lower middle-income country, the PF was voted into Government. As a Party in Government, the PF promised to maintain the same economic growth trajectory. However, economic growth, which averaged 6.4% during the FNDP period, immediately started a downward spiral and particularly so when Mr. Lungu took over the Presidency.  From a growth of 7.6% in 2014 for instance, economic growth plummeted to 2.9% in 2015 and has since been deteriorating year in year out, reaching to 1.4% in 2019 and is now projected to be negative 4.2% in 2020. 

On the fiscal side, one would say that the Edgar Lungu Government just decided to through away fiscal prudence and replaced it with reckless borrowing in the name of infrastructure development when we all know that the ulterior motive has been to create expenditure lines for corruption. As a result, we see fiscal deficit, which basically is borrowing to finance the budget increasing from an average of 2.5% of GDP per annum during the FNDP to an average of 5.4% of GDP per annum during the Sixth National Development Plan, which was the first planning period for the PF Government.  Borrowing has worsened even further during the Seventh National Development Plan, under Edgar Lungu led PF Government, and has averaged 8.9% of GDP per annum.  

The PF Government’s excessive appetite for borrowing has resulted in higher debt service costs. For example, statistics from the Ministry of Finance statistics, have shown that by end of this year (2020), debt service costs will have increased to US $3.3 billion which is equivalent to ZMW 69.3 billion (at the current exchange rate of K21/US$). This means that all the domestic revenue collections   in 2020, which the Ministry of Finance has revised to K65 billion, will not be enough to service the debt, thus the Government will have to borrow K4.3 billion to add on in order to meet its debt obligations for 2020.

What has this PF Government’s excessive borrowing done to the country?

  • It has made Zambia become a Highly Indebted Poor Country again. Excessive borrowing has increased Zambia’s public debt from 20.8% of GDP when the PF took over Government in 2011 to more than 100% projected for 2020; and
  • The PF Government has basically put Zambia on the world map for the wrong reason, being the first country to default on its debt service post COVID 19. The high debt has resulted in higher costs of debt service which the PF Government unfortunately has now failed to manage. For the first, the country has defaulted on its debt service obligations.

As a result of the PF Government’s recklessness in borrowing and in its economic management, the Zambian Kwacha has continuously been under pressure. The Kwacha has devalued from an average of K4.22 per one United States Dollars during the FNDP period to over ZMW 21 per on United States Dollars now.

What does this devaluation of the Kwacha mean to ordinary Zambians? It means that Zambians have lost the purchasing power. They can no longer buy the same amount of goods or services with their salaries which have not increased to proportion to the Kwacha depreciation.

Let me now talk about the Economic Stabilisation and Growth Programme which was dubbed the Zambia Plus. This is the programme that the PF Government put in place in 2017 immediately after winning the 2016 elections and which they are claiming is been succeeded by the Economic Recovery Programme, which will run from 2020 to 2023.

To put it blunt, Zambia Plus was a failed project mainly because it lacked political will. It talked about fiscal consolidation and targeted to reduce borrowing to finance the budget from 7% of GDP in 2017 to 4.1% of GDP by 2019. To achieve, the Government committed to reducing the budget expenditure from 27.7% of GDP in 2017 to 22.8% by 2019 while at the same time increasing tax revenues to 18% of GDP.

In addition, the Zambia Plus proposed some structural reforms including:

  • amendment of the Loans and Guarantees (Authorization) Act to strengthen oversight on debt contraction;
  • amendment of the public procurement act to enhance transparency and accountability in the procurement process so as to ensure value for money; and
  • introduction of the Planning and Budgeting Bill to improve public investment management and limit borrowing to projects with higher economic rates of returns.

Come implementation of the Zambia Plus, we note with sadness the lack of political will. First, instead of fiscal consolidation which meant reducing budget expenditure as a share GDP to 22.8% in 2019, expenditure increased to 28.9% of GDP in 2019 further increasing to 32.4% in 2020 and now 32.6% of GDP projected for 2021. 

Second, instead of reducing fiscal deficit from 7.0% in 2017 to 4.1% by 2019, the Government has been increasing its borrowing. By 2019 borrowing had increased to 9.6% of GDP and is now projected 11.7% of GDP in 2020.

Third, instead of undertaking structural reforms and amend the relevant pieces of legislation on debt contraction and management, public procurement and budgeting, among others, the PF Government simply ignored all these and instead embarked on a very futile exercise of wanting to introduce Bill 10 to consolidate their hold on power. 

Let me now turn to the Economic Recovery Plan that the President launched last week.

Our thinking, as the Socialist Party, was that the Economic Recovery Plan would renew the hope and confidence of the Zambian people in the economic recovery of the country. Unfortunately, the PF’s Economic Recovery Plan, in our view fails the test of a responsive, robust and relevant programme that can competently address Zambia’s current challenges. At best, this Plan can be described as a Statement of Intent with a detailed shopping list of activities and objectives that neither match the current reality nor build on past programmes.

However, this is not surprising to us as we know that the PF does not have a well-coordinated economic agenda and has been pursuing haphazard economic policies with disastrous results.

In our view, the economic recovery plan will not be able to achieve its objectives for the following reasons:

  • Given the diminishing fiscal space as a result of the rising debt which has caused high debt service costs and has ultimately resulted in debt payment default, there is need for a more structured and detailed financing plan of the economic recovery programme, which we do not see in this plan;
  • Assuming this Plan was to be implemented, the PF time to implement it is so limited. They have less than a year in office and are doing all they can on the expenditure side to try and hoodwink the people through excess expenditure on infrastructure. As such fiscal discipline will be a challenge.
  • The plan lacks the details and does not answer the how questions. For example, it does spell out what exactly will be done to reverse the downward economic spiral especially given the diminishing fiscal space as a result of the higher debt service costs; and,
  • Given that the PF Government failed to garner political will to implement the Zambia Plus even when the elections were only to come after four years, what would make Zambians believe that this time around and with only a few months before the elections, the PF Government will have the political will to push this agenda? We doubt that there will be political will to implement the plan more so this time around when the elections are just the corner.  

In conclusion, I want to emphasise that the Zambian economy is in a crisis, is unstable and in recession, the first since 1998. More than, ever, it calls for leadership – credible and committed leadership to respond to the immediate and urgent needs of Zambians. We had assumed, apparently, incorrectly, that the PF government’s so-called Economic Recovery Plan would, for once address the challenges that we are faced with. Alas, it has turned out to be another talk show document that does not reflect any seriousness or commitment to addressing the country’s economy challenges.

The PF Government has truly failed the people of Zambia. It has failed to rise to the to the occasion. As we draw closer to 2021, it is time for the Zambians to open their eyes and make sure that they do not allow a visionless leader to continue to lead. As the Socialist Party, we have a clear and precise Vision for the economic recovery, which we will be sharing. We are ready and committed, and we believe that we can provide workable solutions to Zambia’s current challenges.

Delivered by DR Ngenda Mwikisa – General Treasurer and Second Vice President

Political crooks, conmen have become very busy

Political crooks, conmen have become very busy Featured

It is said that one cannot fool all the people all the time but can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time. This is the strategy all conmen, charlatans and corrupt politicians follow to enchant, entice and entrap the gullible.
They always target the weak, those who feel vulnerable and seek support to pep up themselves.
The first step is to identify, isolate and indoctrinate and sow the seeds of fanatic, fascist and jingoistic slogan while all the time promising to protect them from the imaginary windmills of unpatriotic politicians, irreligious seculars out to rip the moral, social and political fabric of our great culture.
For a party in control of literary every institution and all the money in the country only needs to seduce the gullible with the idea that they and only they can save the nation.
Three tricks are employed to entrap and goad this herd of unsuspecting towards the booth. These three are mis-information, mis-guiding and mis-leading. The misinformation is simple and an art this team has perfected over the years.
The difference between misleading and misguiding is that in the first instance you lead from the front and in the second you only point fingers.
People who are susceptible to this false propaganda are not fools they are just simpletons who trust the leader and are thus misled. They are not fools but they are being fooled by cunning and vested interests that operate like cunning conmen. The need of the hour is to be aware of these political crooks, conmen who come up with all sorts of gifts – foodstuffs; bicycles for village headmen; cash handouts, motor vehicles for chiefs and religious leaders – when elections are near.
Where has this sudden money and benevolence come from?
Over the last few months the political crooks, conmen of this country have become very busy and are going round distributing mealie-meal, bicycles, cash and all sorts of things. Why? To fool you and get your votes!
But as the most famous utterance ever attributed to Abraham Lincoln says, “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” Fool them also; take all that they bring you but don’t vote for them – do a Michael Sata, a “Don’t kubeba” on them.

Fred M’membe

Silayi Village, Kalabo

Four days voter registration extension

Four days voter registration extension Featured

It doesn’t make sense for the Electoral Commission of Zambia to extend the voter registration period by just four days. We seem to be terrible judges of how long things take.

Psychologists call this the planning fallacy — a pervasive tendency to underestimate how long it will take to do just about anything — and it can be attributed to several different biases.

First, we routinely fail to consider our own past experiences while planning.

After a month of voter registration experience, we still can’t seem to figure out how long it will take us to reasonably complete this exercise.

Second, we seem to consistently ignore the very real possibility that things won’t go as planned — our plans tend to be “best-case scenarios”. And as a consequence, we budget only enough time to complete the project if everything goes smoothly. Which it never really does.

Lastly, we don’t think about all the steps or sub components that make up the voter registration process, and consider how long each part of the process will take. When you think about painting a room, you may picture yourself using a roller to quickly slap the paint on the walls, and think that it won’t take much time at all — neglecting to consider how you’ll first have to move or cover the furniture, tape all the fixtures and window frames, do all the edging by hand, and so on.

Extending the voter registration period for four days without addressing the poor time planning that landed us in hot water in the first place, we will likely end up in hot water again down the road.

And here is a summary of the things we have learned from the Electoral Commission of Zambia’s press briefing today:1. The voter registration exercise has been extended by four days, running from Thursday 17 December, 2020 – Sunday 20 December 2020.

2. The total number of registered voters is 6,407,752. The Commission did not give a province-by-province breakdown.

3. Important dates: There are a number of important dates the Commission highlighted:

2nd – 6th April 2021:

Verification of registration details. If any of the details on your card or on the new register are incorrect, this will be the period to correct them.

9th May 2021:

Voter registration certification, and cut off date for those who will be turning 18 to be eligible to vote.

Presidential nominations: 14-18 June, 2021.Nominations of MP’s, Mayors, council chairpersons will be on 14 June, 2021. Ward councilor nominations will be one day after, on 15 June 2021. Petitions for nominations will run for 21 days (21 Jun -11 Jul, 2021).

Ballot printing will be the whole of July, from 1-31 July, 2021, for ALL ballots, from councilors all the way up to the President. The verification of ballot papers will happen between 29 Jul – 4 Aug, 2021.

Of course, the general election, the biggest day of them all, will be on August 12, 2021.

If you have not yet registered to vote, those extra 4 days are your lifeline.

Please, please, please I urge you to visit your nearest registration centre and get it done. Never forget that your vote is your voice!

Fred M’membe

Garden Compound

Laughing or chuckling at the problems of others

Laughing or chuckling at the problems of others Featured

Have you ever laughed at someone who was visibly struggling with the challenges of life?
Has your moment of suffering ever been the butt of a joke? How did it make you feel?
We seem to have leaders who laugh or chuckle at their people’s problems, suffering in this country.
Serious leaders don’t laugh or chuckle when their people are in distress and cry out for help. Leaders are expected to feel the distress their people who have serious problems meeting the cost of food, schools, health services, transport and many other necessities of life.
Psychologists have an explanation for this type of behaviour. They call it Katagelasticism – a psychological condition in which a person excessively enjoys laughing at others – from καταγελαστής, katagelastēs, ancient Greek for “mocker”.
Katagelasticists actively seek and establish situations in which they can laugh at others – at the expense of these people. There is a broad variety of things that katagelasticists would do – starting from harmless pranks or word plays to truly embarrassing and even harmful, mean-spirited jokes. They would be of the opinion that laughing at others is part of the daily life and if others do not like being laughed at, they should just fight back.
For the katagelasticists it is fun laughing at others and there is almost nothing that might hinder them from doing so. For them, some people even might provoke getting laughed at – and surely deserve being laughed at. 
This is sadistic behaviour. What will such a person stop at? What won’t he do to have a laugh at you?
Is such a person really fit to be a leader of a country?

Fred M’membe

Silayi Village, Kalabo

Revolutionary change is anchored amongst the poor

Revolutionary change is anchored amongst the poor Featured

COSMAS Musumali says Zambians today needs revolutionary change anchored amongst the poor.
Dr Musumali is the general secretary and first vice-president of the Socialist Party.
He was speaking when he unveiled 26 adopted parliamentary candidates for constituencies in Central, Western, Copperbelt, North-Western Provinces, in Lusaka yesterday.
“Zambia needs change! It’s not any other change but it needs transformative, revolutionary change,” Dr Musumali said.
He argued that the current system in Zambia of periphery capitalism could not and would not deliver the masses.
Dr Musumali noted that capitalism has failed the masses since 1991 and that it would continue to fail them.
“You can change the petty bourgeoisie political parties, [but] things will get worse for the masses of our people. What the people of Zambia needs today is that revolutionary change anchored amongst the poor people, the working masses of our country,” he explained.
“The type of leadership that you choose on the 12th of August, 2021 has to reflect that transformative change.”
Dr Musumali further indicated that revolutionary change could not be brought about by a leadership: “that is benefiting, that is privileged – a leadership that is parasitic under the current environment.”
“Those that are doing well today; a small group of politicians that are doing well today are going to resist change,” he noted.
“The opposition political parties, if they are not socialist-oriented, will be a mere continuation of that same exploitative capitalist system and enough is enough.”
Dr Musumali stressed that Zambians need change and that such should be reflected in the leadership.
“That leadership has to be anchored amongst the people. So, it should be leadership [of] men and women that live with the people, that live for the people,” Dr Musumali said.
“It should be leadership that also reflects the demography of Zambia. It should be leadership that is youthful, leadership that is gender-balanced. It should be leadership that originates amongst the people, not one that is imposed from above. This is what the Socialist Party is doing.”
He further pointed out that the 26 adopted parliamentary candidates are: “ready to transform our homeland.”
“These 26 leaders are from different parts of the country. We have leaders from Eastern, Central, Copperbelt and Western Provinces,” he noted.
“One of them is only 24 years old, the other one is 25 years old, we have another one that is 27 years old [and] another one is 29 years old and they are all female.”
Out of the 26 parliamentary designates, four of them are in their 20s.
Dr Musumali explained that the Socialist Party is making milestones; “setting standards that no petty bourgeoisie political party can ever achieve.”
“The choice of our leadership is not based on the size of your pocket – how much money you have on your pocket. The choice of leadership that the masses of Zambian people are bringing to us today is about being rooted amongst them, speaking their language.” Dr Musumali said.
“We have amongst the 26 candidates, 11 women. We have amongst the candidates today people that were only a few days ago drivers…. One of our leaders here has worked as a bus driver, a bus conductor. This is working class leadership at its best.”
Meanwhile, Dr Musumali emphasised that none of those adopted was picked because of wealth.
“None of them has been chosen because they have a fleet of vehicles that they are going to use for campaigns. None of them has been chosen because they have a chain of degrees. This is a workers’ party,” said Dr Musumali.
Those adopted are Mwisiya Imbula (Senanga), Edna Biemba (Kaoma Central), Ireen Ilitongo Muhosho (Luena Constituency), Jane Sombo Chingumbe (Mangango), Mwenda Kulilisa (Sioma), Salungu (Solwezi Central), Ambassador Malungisha (Kasempa), Womba Nkanza(Zambezi East), Augustine Salubeni (Mufumbwe), Vivian Chunda (Mafinga), Dennis Mutumba (Mwembeshi), Misheck Njobo (Nangoma), and Nicholas Mwansa (Kamfinsa).
Others are Faston Mwale (Nkana), Steven Chewe (Chimwemwe), Mupelwa Siame (Kantanshi), Mildred Ng’ambi (Kankoyo), Kepson Zimba (Kabushi), Humprey Siame (Ndola Central), Bernadette Siabula (Chifubu), Mercy Bwalya (Bwana Mkubwa), Flannel Sichilima (Chingola), Jeph Chabala (Roan), Margaret Sikalonzo (Luanshya), Doris Mweene (Chipata Central) and Philip Sakala (Petauke Central).

Extension of voter registration period

Extension of voter registration period Featured

The voter registration exercise has not been conducted in an efficient, effective and orderly manner.

In many places, there have been very long queues. In some places, Electoral Commission of Zambia officers have not been there throughout the period of registration. There are also many cases of equipment failure.

If there’s no extension of voter registration days as many as 4 million people may not be registered to vote – around 40 per cent of 9 million the people the Electoral Commission of Zambia was targeting to register as voters.

The most important political right or privilege is the vote. No one should be unnecessarily denied the right to register as voter.

We therefore urge the Electoral Commission of Zambia to extend the voter registration period to give a fair chance to all qualifying citizens to register as voters.

Fred M’membe

Garden Compound, Lusaka

Corrupt, tyrannical politicians cling onto power

Corrupt, tyrannical politicians cling onto power Featured

It’s difficult for one who has soiled himself to stand up and leave while everyone is watching.

But without standing up to leave and clean oneself the mess won’t disappear. And the humiliation won’t go away. It’s only by stand up to clean oneself that the humiliation disappears, goes away.

Similarly, politicians who have abused their public offices, who have stolen from their people and have been tyrannical have serious difficulties leaving power.

They invariably seek to perpetuate themselves in power. They seek to change constitutions and give themselves more years in power. They are never ready to leave. They try to persuade and convince everyone that only them can govern well, without them there will be chaos in the nation – only them are God chosen to lead.

Corrupt and tyrannical politicians work against the nation’s best interests to hold onto power.

There are two sides to political leadership. On the positive side, great political leaders can make a big difference in the nation. They can inspire fellow citizens to share a vision and to work together to achieve great national things. On the negative side, there are comforts that come with political leadership roles including higher salaries, respect, and other perks and even possible abuses. So, when someone attains a political leadership role, they are reluctant to give it up.

Unfortunately, the behaviors that some politicians may engage in to hold onto a political leadership role once they have it can seriously undermine national interest and well being.

When politicians had a political leadership strategy focused on keeping themselves in power in perpetuity, they limited the development of a new leadership to replace them to avoid being challenged. So, political leaders protected their position from the most threatening fellow citizens when they felt they could lose their position.

In this case, leaders with a desire to cling onto power would isolate the most talented fellow party members or citizens from everyone else. Those not seeking to cling onto power would allow alternative leadership to develop.

Politicians who are prone to want to protect their power will engage in behaviors that promote their own interests over those of the nation in cases where their continued hold on power is in jeopardy.

These tendencies are likely to influence even more well intentioned political leaders, and so they provide a tendency that political leaders need to overcome to ensure that they act in the best interests of their people and country.

Fred M’membe

Garden Compound, Lusaka

UNIP and Dr Kenneth Kaunda have been linked to socialism and its failures. Was Zambia under UNIP a Socialist State?

UNIP and Dr Kenneth Kaunda have been linked to socialism and its failures. Was Zambia under UNIP a Socialist State? Featured

Good day Comrade. Thank you for your continued effort of addressing some of the misconceptions and burning issues. Another issue that has been floating around is that of linking UNIP and Dr Kenneth Kaunda to socialism and its failures. Was Zambia under UNIP a Socialist State?

Great thanks Comrade!

To answer your question, let’s try to understand what Kaunda himself said on this score.

I know we don’t like reading long articles – we don’t have a reading culture – but I want to explain this at length for those who want to read to understand. This response is not for those who want to understand things without effort – those who don’t want to read much.

Let’s start with Kaunda’s own words on this topic.

Kaunda said, “Capitalism and communism are out. Let them go. And so long as I am leader of the Party, I am not going to allow any stupid people to come here to disrupt the country because of their ideologies. If I discover them here in Zambia, they go by the earliest plane” (Chifubu rally, Ndola, January 17, 1965)

.And in a United Nations address on December 4, 1964, Kaunda said, “Our African personality contains elements of simplicity of service – of community which all the world needs. Our economic life has always been based on what I should like to describe as traditional co-operative way of living. This is the African substitute for the capitalism, socialism and communism of the East and West. We offer it as our contribution to the world sum of experience.

“I now turn to Kwame Nkrumah. And this is what Nkrumah wrote on this issue in an article published in 1967:

“The term ‘socialism’ has become a necessity in the platform diction and political writings of African leaders. It is a term which unites us in the recognition that the restoration of Africa’s humanist and egalitarian principles of society calls for socialism. All of us, therefore, even though pursuing widely contrasting policies in the task of reconstructing our various nation-states, still use ‘socialism’ to describe our respective efforts. ‘The question must therefore be faced: What real meaning does the term retain in the context of contemporary African politics? I warned about this in my book Consciencism (London and New York, 1964, p. 105). And yet, socialism in Africa today tends to lose its objective content in favor of a distracting terminology and in favor of a general confusion. Discussion centers more on the various conceivable types of socialism than upon the need for socialist development.

Some African political leaders and thinkers certainly use the term ‘socialism’ as it should in my opinion be used: to describe a complex of social purposes and the consequential social and economic policies, organizational patterns, state structure, and ideologies which can lead to the attainment of those purposes. For such leaders, the aim is to remold African society in the socialist direction; to reconsider African society in such a manner that the humanism of traditional African life re-asserts itself in a modern technical community.

Consequently, socialism in Africa introduces a new social synthesis in which modern technology is reconciled with human values, in which the advanced technical society is realized without the staggering social malefactions and deep schisms of capitalist industrial society. For true economic and social development cannot be promoted without the real socialization of productive and distributive processes. Those African leaders who believe these principles are the socialists in Africa.

There are, however, other African political leaders and thinkers who use the term ‘socialism’ because they believe that socialism would, in the words of Chandler Morse, ‘smooth the road to economic development’. It becomes necessary for them to employ the term in a ‘charismatic effort to rally support’ for policies that do not really promote economic and social development. Those African leaders who believe these principles are supposed to be the ‘African socialists’.

It is interesting to recall that before the split in the Second International, Marxism was almost indistinguishable from social democracy. Indeed, the German Social Democratic Party was more or less the guardian of the doctrine of Marxism, and both Marx and Engels supported that Party. Lenin, too, became a member of the Social Democratic Party. After the break-up of the Second International, however, the meaning of the term ‘social democracy’ altered, and it became possible to draw a real distinction between socialism and social democracy. A similar situation has arisen in Africa. Some years ago, African political leaders and writers used the term ‘African socialism’ in order to label the concrete forms that socialism might assume in Africa. But the realities of the diverse and irreconcilable social, political, and economic policies being pursued by African states today have made the term ‘African socialism’ meaningless and irrelevant. It appears to be much more closely associated with anthropology than with political economy. ‘African socialism’ has now come to acquire some of its greatest publicists in Europe and North America precisely because of its predominant anthropological charm. Its foreign publicists include not only the surviving social democrats of Europe and North America, but other intellectuals and liberals who themselves are steeped in the ideology of social democracy. It was no accident, let me add, that the 1962 Dakar Colloquium made such capital of ‘African socialism”‘ but the uncertainties concerning the meaning and specific policies of ‘African socialism’ have led some of us to abandon the term because it fails to express its original meaning and because it tends to obscure our fundamental socialist commitment.

Today, the phrase ‘African socialism’ seems to espouse the view that the traditional African society was a classless society imbued with the spirit of humanism and to express a nostalgia for that spirit. Such a conception of socialism makes a fetish of the communal African society. But an idyllic, African classless society (in which there were no rich and no poor) enjoying a drugged serenity is certainly a facile simplification; there is no historical or even anthropological evidence for any such society. I am afraid the realities of African society were somewhat more sordid.

All available evidence from the history of Africa up to the eve of the European colonization, shows that African society was neither classless nor devoid of a social hierarchy. Feudalism existed in some parts of Africa before colonization; and feudalism involves a deep and exploitative social stratification, founded on the ownership of land. It must also be noted that slavery existed in Africa before European colonization, although the earlier European contact gave slavery in Africa some of its most vicious characteristics. The truth remains, however, that before colonization, which became widespread in Africa only in the nineteenth century, Africans were prepared to sell, often for no more than thirty pieces of silver, fellow tribesmen and even members of the same ‘extended family’ and clan. Colonialism deserves to be blamed for many evils in Africa, but surely it was not preceded by an African Golden Age or paradise. A return to the pre-colonial African society is evidently not worthy of the ingenuity and efforts of our people.

All this notwithstanding, one could still argue that the basic organization of many African societies in different periods of history manifested a certain communalism and that the philosophy and humanist purposes behind that organization are worthy of recapture. A community in which each saw his well-being in the welfare of the group certainly was praiseworthy, even if the manner in which the well-being of the group was pursued makes no contribution to our purposes. Thus, what socialist thought in Africa must recapture is not the structure of the ‘traditional African society’ but its spirit, for the spirit of communalism is crystallised in its humanism and in its reconciliation of individual advancement with group welfare. Even If there is incomplete anthropological evidence to reconstruct the ‘traditional African society’ with accuracy, we can still recapture the rich human values of that society. In short, an anthropological approach to the ‘traditional African society’ is too much unproven; but a philosophical approach stands on much firmer ground and makes generalization feasible.

One predicament in the anthropological approach is that there is some disparity of views concerning the manifestations of the ‘classlessness’ of the ‘traditional African society’. While some hold that the society was based on the equality of its members, others hold that it contained a hierarchy and division of labour in which the hierarchy — and therefore power — was founded on spiritual and democratic values.. Of course, no society can be founded on the equality of its members although societies are founded on egalitarianism, which is something quite different. Similarly, a classless society that at the same time rejoices in a hierarchy of power (as distinct from authority) must be accounted a marvel of socio-political finesse.

We know that the ‘traditional African society’ was founded on principles of egalitarianism. In its actual workings, however, it had various shortcomings. Its humanist impulse, nevertheless, is something that continues to urge us towards our all-African socialist reconstruction. We postulate each man to be an end in himself, not merely a means; and we accept the necessity of guaranteeing each man equal opportunities for his development. The implications of this for socio-political practice have to be worked out scientifically, and the necessary social and economic policies pursued with resolution. Any meaningful humanism must begin from egalitarianism and must lead to objectively chosen policies for safeguarding and sustaining egalitarianism. Hence, socialism. Hence, also, scientific socialism.

A further difficulty that arises from the anthropological approach to socialism, or ‘African socialism’, is the glaring division between existing African societies and the communalistic society that was. I warned in my book Consciencism that ‘our society is not the old society, but a new society enlarged by Islamic and Euro-Christian influences’. This is a fact that any socio-economic policies must recognise and take into account. Yet the literature of ‘African socialism’ comes close to suggesting that today’s African societies are communalistic. The two societies are not coterminous; and such an equation cannot be supported by any attentive observation. It is true that this disparity is acknowledged in some of the literature of ‘African socialism’; thus, my friend and colleague Julius Nyerere, in acknowledging the disequilibrium between what was and what is in terms of African societies, attributes the differences to the importations of European colonialism.

We know, of course, that the defeat of colonialism and even neo-colonialism will not result in the automatic disappearance of the imported patterns of thought and social organization. For those patterns have taken root, and are in varying degree sociological features of our contemporary society. Nor will a simple return to the communalistic society of ancient Africa offer a solution either. To advocate a return, as it were, to the rock from which we were hewn is a charming thought, but we are faced with contemporary problems, which have arisen from political subjugation, economic exploitation, educational and social backwardness, increases in population, familiarity with the methods and products of industrialisation, modern agricultural techniques. These – as well as a host of other complexities – can be resolved by no mere communalistic society, however sophisticated, and anyone who so advocates must be caught in insoluble dilemmas of the most excruciating kind. All available evidence from socio-political history discloses that such a return to a status quo ante is quite unexampled in the evolution of societies. There is, indeed, no theoretical or historical reason to indicate that it is at all possible.

When one society meets another, the observed historical trend is that acculturation results in a balance of forward movement, a movement in which each society assimilates certain useful attributes of the other. Social evolution is a dialectical process; it has ups and downs, but, on balance, it always represents an upward trend.

Islamic civilization and European colonialism are both historical experiences of the traditional African society, profound experiences that have permanently changed the complexion of the traditional African society. They have introduced new values and a social, cultural, and economic organization into African life. Modern African societies are not traditional, even if backward, and they are clearly in a state of socio-economic disequilibrium. They are in this state because they are not anchored to a steadying ideology.

The way out is certainly not to regurgitate all Islamic or Euro-colonial influences in a futile attempt to recreate a past that cannot be resurrected. The way out is only forward, forward to a higher and reconciled form of society, in which the quintessence of the human purposes of traditional African society reasserts itself in a modern context-forward, in short, to socialism, through policies that are scientifically devised and correctly applied. The inevitability of a forward way out is felt by all; thus, Leopold Sedor Senghor, although favoring some kind of return to African communalism, insists that the refashioned African society must accommodate the ‘positive contribution’ of colonial rule, ‘such as the economic and technical infrastructure and the French educational system’. The economic and technical infrastructure of even French colonialism and the French educational system must be assumed, though this can be shown to be imbued with a particular socio-political philosophy. This philosophy, as should be known, is not compatible with the philosophy underlying communalism, and the desired accommodation would prove only a socio-political mirage.

Senghor has, indeed, given an account of the nature of the return to Africa. His account is highlighted by statements using some of his own words: that the African is ‘a field of pure sensation’; that he does not measure or observe, but ‘lives’ a situation; and that this way of acquiring ‘knowledge’ by confrontation and intuition is ‘negro-African’; the acquisition of knowledge by reason, ‘Hellenic’. In African Socialism [London and New York, 1964, pp.72-3], he proposes ‘that we consider the Negro-African as he faces the Other: God, man, animal, tree or pebble, natural or social phenomenon. In contrast to the classic European, the Negro-African does not draw a line between himself and the object, he does not hold it at a distance, nor does he merely look at it and analyze it. After holding it at a distance, after scanning it without analyzing it, he takes it vibrant in his hands, careful not to kill or fix it. He touches it, feels it, smells it. The Negro-African is like one of those Third Day Worms, a pure field of sensations… Thus the Negro-African sympathies, abandons his personality to become identified with the Other, dies to be reborn in the Other. He does not assimilate; he is assimilated. He lives a common life with the Other; he lives in a symbiosis.

‘It is clear that socialism cannot be founded on this kind of metaphysics of knowledge.

To be sure, there is a connection between communalism and socialism. Socialism stands to communalism as capitalism stands to slavery. In socialism, the principles underlying communalism are given expression in modern circumstances. Thus, whereas communalism in a non-technical society can be laissez-faire, in a technical society where sophisticated means of production are at hand, the situation is different; for if the underlying principles of communalism are not given correlated expression, class cleavages will arise, which are connected with economic disparities and thereby with political inequalities; Socialism, therefore, can be, and is, the defence of the principles of communalism in a modern setting; it is a form of social organisation that, guided by the principles underlying communalism, adopts procedures and measures made necessary by demographic and technological developments. Only under socialism can we reliably accumulate the capital we need for our development and also ensure that the gains of investment are applied for the general welfare.

Socialism is not spontaneous. It does not arise of itself. It has abiding principles according to which the major means of production and distribution ought to be socialised if exploitation of the many by the few is to be prevented; if, that is to say, egalitarianism in the economy is to be protected. Socialist countries in Africa may differ in this or that detail of their policies, but such differences themselves ought not to be arbitrary or subject to vagaries of taste. They must be scientifically explained, as necessities arising from differences in the particular circumstances of the countries themselves.

There is only one way of achieving socialism; by the devising of policies aimed at the general socialist goals, each of which takes its particular form from the specific circumstances of a particular state at a definite historical period. Socialism depends on dialectical and historical materialism, upon the view that there is only one nature, subject in all its manifestations to natural laws and that human society is, in this sense, part of nature and subject to its own laws of development.

It is the elimination of fancifulness from socialist action that makes socialism scientific. To suppose that there are tribal, national, or racial socialisms is to abandon objectivity in favour of chauvinism.”

Fred M’membe

Garden Compound, Lusaka

Does socialism encourage laziness?

Does socialism encourage laziness? Featured

Hello Comrade, when you have a chance, kindly reflect on the common assumption that socialism encourages laziness.

Great thanks Comrade and here is my brief reflection on the assumption:

The laziness trope is often used as a way to kind of discredit socialism overall. However, there’s some truth to this. In the experience in the Soviet Union and Cuba and Eastern Europe, there was a point in the development of socialism where workers were less motivated than certainly everyone that imagined what socialism would be thought would happen.

Now, before getting into that, let’s look at, first of all, the increase in productivity and the growth of the economy, industrialization in the Soviet Union during the 1920s on was astounding. The fact that this semi-feudal country industrialized so quickly that it actually could fend off this highly developed industrial power of Nazi Germany, and eventually win that war, the extent to how hard people worked and how much they sacrificed to be into that position, you can’t call that laziness. Let’s not forget the Soviet Union got to space before the United States. In a very short amount of time after World War II, the Soviet Union built a nuclear weapon to counteract the nuclear threat of the United States, and the extent to which it was an offensive threat to the United States and that the Soviet Union was in a defensive position.

When people have a guaranteed job and you can never get fired, when people have a guaranteed standard of living, they have healthcare, they have schooling, there’s no fear of poverty, which is more or less what there was in the Soviet Union, people get lazy. And if there’s no competition, like if everyone gets paid the same no matter how hard you work, then why work hard?

The Soviet Union was incredibly innovative. Some of the most amazing inventions came out of the Soviet Union, including, if you go back to the beginning, the Soviet Union gives birth to modern film making and so on, and all kinds of developments in the sciences.

So if you look at the stages of the Soviet Union, for a long time, it was very productive, as you see, what I said about taking on Germany and getting to space and so on. And then also, in certain sectors of the economy, it remained very productive, especially the sciences. The Soviet Union was able to compete with the United States in the development of technology.

But on this one specific thing – and it’s a complicated subject, we can’t get into it all now – but there was something that developed in the Soviet Union, and it happened in Cuba, and to some extent in Eastern Europe. When you got to the level of the factory floor and much of the working class, kind of everyone got paid the same. And it kind of didn’t matter if you worked hard or didn’t work hard, and there was a lot of resentment. Workers that did work hard, were motivated, were definitely pissed that this person over there was having a cigarette half the day and nothing happens. And then it was difficult to fire somebody and even discipline them, because ideologically, this was supposed to be a worker’s state and all the rest. And one of the reasons that is because the bureaucrats, especially, to maintain their own positions of power, didn’t want to piss off sections of the working class. And a lot of them believed in this theory too, that you pay everyone the same because that’s the socialist ideal. Except it’s not. There’s absolutely no reason under socialism why everyone should get paid the same. And in fact, they didn’t. In the Soviet Union, the artists got paid more, filmmakers got paid more, the party leaderships got paid more. It’s not like everyone got paid the same, it was mostly in the working class you didn’t have hardly any variance. But there’s no reason why that needs to be.

If we go back to what Karl Marx said, socialism is not the same – and there’s so much misconception of what communism is because of the Cold War and all the rest. But if you take what Marx and Engels thought communism was, communism is when the state withers away and isn’t there anymore because there’s no classes anymore, because the whole point of the state is to be coercive.

And if you don’t have distinctions in classes, you don’t need cops, you don’t need armies. So communism is this ideal kind of utopia. Who knows if human society ever gets there, but that’s the theory. It got all demonized because they called the Soviet Union communism because the Soviet Union sometimes called themselves that, but it wasn’t.

So under communism, the tagline is, “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.” Because this ideal state, where there’s no classes, everyone is highly motivated, but not everyone is equal in ability. Some people run fast, some people run slow, some people are smarter, some people can do this and that. So everyone gives what they have to give, but everyone gets what they need. That’s this utopian state of communism, and that was the ideal. But socialism, the slogan was, the tagline from Marx was,

“From each according to their ability, to each according to their work.” You don’t work, you don’t get. So that was not what was followed. This idea of having the same wage did demotivate people.

In Cuba people became so educated, they didn’t want to do agricultural work. They didn’t want to go work in the fields because people were learning sciences and medicine. And in those areas, Cuba excelled. They have a pharmaceutical industry in Cuba that competes at a world level. Though when it came to when you have such an educated population, a lot of people didn’t want to do that kind of work.

But it also was the same thing, with everyone kind of getting paid the same, and they were resentful about that. People said, ‘Well, why should I work hard when they don’t?’ But there’s no reason for that. This isn’t something inherent in socialism. You can have competition between workers, you can pay people more for more productivity. This is not a state where you get what you need, it’s an economy where you get how you work.

Moreover, even capitalist countries somehow faced some similar challenges when it came to social security. There are some people who were satisfied just sitting at home drinking, producing children and collecting social security for each child and didn’t want to work. It seems, regardless of the social and economic system, this is the side effect of providing social security beyond a certain optimal level.

Socialism is not promoting laziness, it does not say that you can live off other people’s work while sitting at home collecting welfare. You will not get paid if you do not work. People will say that socialism is just giving someone money that they didn’t earn. This is wrong, you still have to work.

So it’s a complicated, long story. Well, comrades, for now we’re going to have to leave it here.

Fred M’membe

Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali

Dr Fred M’membe on Venezuela’s elections

Dr Fred M’membe on Venezuela’s elections Featured

I join the many friends of Venezuela from across the world in sending a message of love and solidarity.

It is important for all progressive Nations and people’s of the world to stand in solidarity with Venezuela during this crucial time for the Bolivarian revolution and the progressive left.

The people of Venezuela should be allowed to exercise their right to exist and determine their own future through a political process decided by them.

We call on all Nations of the world to respect the sovereignty and democratic processes embarked on by the people of Venezuela. None must attempt to undermine it’s sovereignty.

We stand with the people of Venezuela as they go to the polls. Our solidarity goes to them and their struggle for justice, equity and peace.

Vamos Venezuela

A court without credibility is not a court

A court without credibility is not a court Featured

The performance of our Constitutional Court falls far below acceptable or tolerable levels of inefficiency, ineffectiveness and incompetence.

Many people have raised concerns about the work of our Constitutional Court but no one seems to be willing to listen. It’s like they have put cotton wool in their ears.

But it is too dangerous for the Constitutional Court to continue on this path and in this way. A court without credibility is not a court. Our judges shouldn’t fear criticism because the truth is on the side of those who are honest.

With criticism they can get rid of a bad style and keep the good.As we say, dust will accumulate if a room is not cleaned regularly, our faces will get dirty if they are not washed regularly.

Our minds and our work may also collect dust, and also need sweeping and washing. The proverb “Running water is never stale and a door-hinge is never worm-eaten” means that constant motion prevents the inroads of germs and other organisms. To check up regularly on our work and in the process develop an honest style of work, to fear neither criticism nor self-criticism, and to apply such good popular maxims as “Say all you know and say it without reserve”, “Blame not the speaker but be warned by his words” and “Correct mistakes if you have committed them and guard against them if you have not” – this is the only effective way to prevent all kinds of dust and germs from contaminating our minds.

Let’s learn from past mistakes to avoid future ones. And let’s cure the sickness to save the patient. The mistakes of the past must be exposed without sparing anyone’s sensibilities; it is necessary to analyze and criticize what was bad in the past with a scientific attitude so that work in the future will be done more carefully and done better. This is what is meant by “learn from past mistakes to avoid future ones”. But our aim in exposing errors and criticizing shortcomings, like that of a doctor curing a sickness, is solely to save the patient and not to doctor him to death. A person with appendicitis is saved when the surgeon removes his appendix. So long as a person who has made mistakes does not hide his sickness for fear of treatment or persist in his mistakes until he is beyond cure, so long as he honestly and sincerely wishes to be cured and to mend his ways, we should welcome him and cure his sickness so that he can become a good person. We can never succeed if we just let ourselves go and lash out at him. In treating a malady, one must never be rough and rash but must adopt the approach of “curing the sickness to save the patient”, which is the only correct and effective method.

Another point that should be mentioned in connection with criticism is that some people ignore the major issues and confine their attention to minor points when they make their criticism. They do not understand that the main task of criticism is to point out mistakes. As to personal shortcomings, unless they are related to mistakes, there is no need to be overcritical or the individuals concerned will be at a loss as to what to do. Moreover, once such criticism develops, there is the great danger that attention will be concentrated exclusively on minor faults, and everyone will become timid and overcautious and forget their tasks.

In criticism, guard against subjectivism, arbitrariness and the vulgarization of criticism; statements should be based on facts.If we have shortcomings, we are not afraid to have them pointed out and criticized, because we serve the people. Anyone, no matter who, may point out our shortcomings. If he is right, we should correct them. If what he proposes will benefit the people, we will act upon it.

We must not become complacent over any success. We should check our complacency and constantly criticize our shortcomings, just as we should wash our faces or sweep the floor every day to remove the dirt and keep them clean.

As for criticism, do it in good time; don’t get into the habit of criticizing only after the event. Taught by mistakes and setbacks, we become wiser and handle our affairs better. It is hard for any person to avoid mistakes, but we should make as few as possible. Once a mistake is made, we should correct it, and the more quickly and thoroughly the better.

Dr O’Brien Kaaba and Dr Pamela Towela Sambo, law lecturers at the University of Zambia, have accused the Constitutional Court of having done more harm to constitutionalism than promoting its values.

“A judiciary committed to constitutionalism should interpret the Constitution in a manner that promotes the realization of its underlying values, not to undermine them. Judging by the Mutembo Nchito judgment, it is hard to see how the Constitutional Court’s decision safeguards the integrity of the Constitution and advances the rule of law and constitutionalism. Perhaps it was for this reason that Supreme Court judge Mumba Malila, in a recently published and well-articulated article penned in honour of the late justice [Claver] Musumali, virulently admonished his colleagues in the Zambian judiciary…When will the Zambian judges take up this challenge and heed justice Malila’s plea?” they ask, concluding that the Constitutional Court has placed itself as a tool to champion the cause of the executive. “To borrow Professor Michelo Hansungule’s words, Zambians have been looking for an ‘irritatingly independent’ Constitutional Court. Dare we ask, irritating to who?

The answer is to all and sundry that are allergic to constitutionalism and the rule of law. The problem is that the Zambian Constitutional Court, judged by the depth of its jurisprudence, does not seem to fit into the legacy of other progressive Constitutional Courts such as the South African Constitutional Court. The latest demonstration of this is to be found in the recent decision of the Court relating to the removal of Mutembo Nchito as Director of Public Prosecutions.

“It’s a pretty harsh criticism, and many judges would not want to hear that about themselves. In fact, many judges have no interest in hearing harsh criticism of themselves and some lawyers and other people, sometimes going to great lengths protect them.I’m quite sure this needed saying.

Often when we’re confronted with criticism, our first instinct is to defend ourselves against the attack, especially when the attack comes from someone whom we think doesn’t know as much as we know ourselves.

It would have been easy to dismiss what these law lecturers are saying, but it’s better to listen, evaluated their suggestions, and make changes.

When you’re confronted with criticism, consider if the person knows about an area where you lack knowledge, and then consider making changes. It may save you future embarrassment. Taking criticism helps.

I sometimes wonder how future generations will judge the work of this Constitutional Court of ours.

I dare say that history may take a slightly more moderate view than that of some contemporary commentators. Distance is well-known to lend enchantment, even to the less attractive views. After all, it has the inestimable advantage of hindsight.

But it can also lend an extra dimension to judgement, giving it a leavening of moderation and compassion – even of wisdom – that is sometimes lacking in the reactions of those whose task it is in life to offer instant opinions on all things great and small.

No section of the community has all the virtues, neither does any have all the vices. I am quite sure that most people try to do their jobs as best they can, even if the result is not always entirely successful. He who has never failed to reach perfection has a right to be the harshest critic.

There can be no doubt, of course, that criticism is good for people and institutions that are part of public life. No institution – presidency, judge, legislator, whatever – should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, not to mention those who don’t.

But we are all part of the same fabric of our national society and that scrutiny, by one part of another, can be just as effective if it is made with a touch of honesty, courage and understanding.This sort of questioning can also act, and it should do so, as an effective engine for change.

Fred M’membe

Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali

HIV has not gone away

HIV has not gone away Featured

Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day, a time for reflection: on what we have achieved with regard to the response to HIV, and what we still must achieve.
This year’s World AIDS Day comes in the midst of another global epidemic: the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The public health response to these epidemics is linked. The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening access to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care. And without strategies to meet these needs, we may see a resurgence of HIV that would threaten our public health response to COVID-19.
Testing is an essential part of the HIV cascade of care. People living with HIV can only be linked to treatment, care and support services if they have been diagnosed. Once a person is diagnosed, effective treatment will enable them to live a long and healthy life, to have HIV-negative children, and not have to worry about passing on HIV to their sex partners. People who test negative and are at ongoing risk for HIV should be linked to prevention, harm reduction and other services as necessary.
This year the theme of World AIDS Day is “Global solidarity, shared responsibility”.
Each year, on World AIDS Day, organizations and individuals across the world bring attention to the HIV epidemic, endeavor to increase HIV awareness and knowledge, speak out against HIV stigma, and call for an increased response to move toward Ending the HIV epidemic.
Founded in 1988, World AIDS Day is a day we unite to show support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses.
World AIDS Day remains as relevant today as it’s always been, reminding us that HIV has not gone away. There is still a critical need for increased funding for the AIDS response, to increase awareness of the impact of HIV on people’s lives, to end stigma and discrimination and to improve the quality of life of people living with HIV.
Again, let’s not forget that HIV has not gone away; it is still very much with us and needs our attention, resources and management.
The struggle against HIV continues!
Aluta continua!
Victoria acerta!

Fred M’membe

Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali

A ‘conversation’ with Dr Cephas Mukuka

A ‘conversation’ with Dr Cephas Mukuka Featured

Dr Cephas Mukuka, you say whoever is elected president next year must work tirelessly to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor. We agree with you! Like you dear brother, this issue pains us a lot and is top in our thoughts and actions.

I am referring to you as a dear brother because if you tremble with indignation at every inequality, injustice and the degradation of any human being then you are a dear brother of mine.

My dear brother, the Socialist Party is in total agreement with you on this score. Its entire programme is devoted to fighting this inequality, injustice, degradation, abuse, exploitation and humiliation of fellow human beings and citizens, of the poor.

Dear brother, you say the gap is too wide. Yes, it is – extremely and dangerously wide. You say, “Let resources be distributed equitably without fear or favour. Let for once our people feel that sense of belonging to a nation like Zambia which is blessed with abundant resources…May someone somewhere come to realization and do what is right to help these suffering masses.”

Dear brother, we are here and that’s what we are here for. That is what this party – the Socialist Party – is here for.

My dear brother, it is not enough for a country to attempt to increase its wealth. It is also necessary to ensure that it is evenly distributed. But inequality is an important feature of capitalist economies.
In the capitalist countries it is generally recognized and accepted that inequality will remain and that cannot be helped. Some economists make even virtue of this necessity and they see lot of good in these inequalities from the point of view of capital formation.

But we know and we have seen that inequality leads to some very serious economic and social consequences. It creates two sections in society – the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots – which are ever on a war path. This has resulted in ever mounting social tensions and political discontent.

The rich dominate the political machinery, and they use it to promote their own exclusive interests. This results in corruption, graft and social injustice. The rich exploit the poor. The consciousness of this exploitation leads to political awakening and then agitation and even political revolution. Thus inequality is an important cause of social and political instability.
Inequality promotes monopolies. These powerful monopolies and industrial combines charge unfair prices from the consumer. And crush the small producers. The bigger fish swallow the small fry.

It is said that ‘slow rises merit by poverty depressed’. It is not easy for a poor man to make his way in life, however brilliant he may be. It is a great social loss that brainy people without money are unable to make their due contribution to social welfare.

Democracy is a farce when there is a wide gulf between the rich and the poor. Political equality is a myth without economic equality. The rich are corrupted by vice and the poor demoralized by lack of economic strength. Thus inequalities spoil the rich and degrade the poor. Vice and corruption rule such a society. The poor man finds it almost impossible to regain the virtues of honesty and integrity. Human dignity is lost altogether.
In the present era of social and political awakening, it has become a major plank of political policy that inequality should be reduced, if not eliminated. And dear brother, here is what the Socialist Party manifesto says on inequality:

“You do not suffer just because you are getting fewer calories than required. There is another sort of suffering; social inequality, which makes you feel constantly debased and humiliated as a second-class citizen in your own country. Inequality has divided our country into two nations – the Kwa and Ku nations – the nations of the poor and the well-to-do. As such, we cannot truly speak of One Zambia, One Nation. Those who live in Kwa have poor water supply, sanitation, shelter, nutrition, schools, healthcare, roads, and very high rates of unemployment. Those who live in Ku have the best of everything. And whereas in the past it was easy to move from Kwa to Ku, today it is very difficult to do so. In those days, all one needed was to work very hard at school, college or university. Today, hard work is not a guarantee that one will finish school, college or university. It is money that determines that, the ability to pay school, college or university fees. If you are born in Kwa, it is highly unlikely you will marry someone from Ku. Where are you going to meet? You live in different places, you go to different schools, churches, shopping centers, places of entertainment, and even bury your dead in different graveyards. To unite our people in ‘one land and one nation’ – as is our cry in our national anthem – will require equity of access to necessities such as education, healthcare, water, housing, sanitation, transportation, physical security, land and food. Most, such as health, education, and physical security, should be public goods, and others should at least be distributed according to the level of need in order to ensure access for all. Zambian society is a long way from realizing this requirement. The rich have ‘first-world standard’ goods and services, whereas the poor masses have access to poor-quality services or none at all. There should be no such gap. The Zambian masses are suffering from poverty, injustice, humiliation and inequality. This suffering is both material and moral. Even when no one lives in absolute poverty, the existence of a glaring disparity in income levels indicates an intolerable imbalance in the way wealth and resources are distributed, where average rural poverty is 76.6 per cent. Western Province has poverty levels of 82.2 per cent, Luapula Province 81.1 per cent, Northern Province 79.7 per cent, Eastern Province 70 per cent, North Western Province 66.4 per cent, Southern Province 57.6 per cent, Central Province 56.2 per cent, Copperbelt Province 30.8 per cent and Lusaka Province 20.2 percent.

In a compassionate society, there should be no differences in outcomes based on factors for which people cannot be held responsible. Zambia has one of the worst situations globally. There is a glaring gap between the rich and poor. Between 2010 and 2015, the Gini coefficient increased from 0.65 to 0.69. This is a very high rate of income inequality. It is volatile and dangerous for national development. It could be argued, of course, that those who enjoy the highest level of income have achieved it through hard work, and that they deserve the benefits of their efforts, regardless of the poverty afflicting others. There are many reasons to reject this argument.

Firstly, from a religious point of view. It is sinful to keep for oneself an overabundance of wealth when one’s sisters and brothers are suffering, and even dying for want of simple necessities. In such a situation, it is of no consequence how and why some people come to be excessively wealthy while others starve. Distributive justice demands that sufficient sharing takes place to ensure the basic needs of all are met. Secondly, even if the demands of charity are rejected, and were it possible to argue that those enjoying excessive wealth are fully justified in doing so, common sense dictates that our society cannot prosper under such conditions. The good of each of us in the long term is secured and promoted by the common good. Failure to do so can only precipitate social instability and threaten the well being of all, rich and poor. History abounds within stances where the rich and powerful have brought about their own downfall by refusing to recognize in good time the legitimate demands of the poor. And as long as this gap remains at its current scandalous level, the future of our country is at risk. If the gap between the rich and poor is unacceptable, then so, too, is the actual degree of poverty in our society. By tolerating such high levels of poverty, the Zambian economy undermines the common good, and fails to demonstrate the solidarity that our shared human dignity demands.”

Dear brother, doesn’t it behoove you that we can work together to try and remake the world and remove inequality, injustice, exploitation, degradation and humiliation of fellow human beings and citizens, especially those who are poor?

Fred M’membe
Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali

Third term bid will end up in the Constitutional Court

Third term bid will end up in the Constitutional Court Featured

It is becoming clear that the issue of Mr Edgar Lungu’s third term eligibility will have to be decided by the Constitutional Court. It seems Mr Lungu, in his usual character of not backing down on anything he wants, will file in nomination papers with the Chief Justice to have his name on the ballot paper. I say this because huge volumes of campaign materials with his name have started flowing in. It won’t be easy to change this – the cost of doing so will be gigantic. And last minute presidential candidate changes will throw his party into quandary.

But one wonders where this apparently assured confidence is coming from. The risk is too high to ignore. This means that those determined to stop him from contesting next year’s elections in the belief that it will be a violation of the Constitution will have no choice but to go to the Constitutional Court.

Mr Lungu who says the Constitutional Court cleared him to stand must be ready for this. And, indeed, he seems to be ready, confident and assured all will go his way.

Moreover, all the judges of the Constitutional Court were appointed by him. In 2016, this Constitutional Court came under heavy public criticism over the manner it had ended the election petition against him. And even the court itself was divided over that matter. These are the same Constitutional Court judges who will have to determine Mr Lungu’s presidential candidature in next year’s elections!

Do legitimate issues of public trust, confidence in the Constitutional Court over this matter arise?

All I can say is that an independent and efficient judiciary will be crucial to ensuring that the promises, fundamental values and principles enshrined in the Constitution of Zambia are upheld.
Without an independent judiciary, the Constitution would be reduced to a statement of empty promises.

Every institution has its moments of glory and challenge. The present are moments of challenge when courts have an accentuated duty to become conscious of Constitutional provisions when those in power begin to seek unending dominion. True to their oaths of office, judges must act without fear, favour, affection or ill will, for without an independent judiciary, the Constitution is little more than a statement of empty promises. The democratic credentials of our courts depend on the premise that all individuals are free and equal.

Society will always have someone who will try to manipulate the law to the detriment of society. The solution lies in an ordered, principled and just adjudication. Our judiciary was ultimately trusted with the most important task of all i.e. ensuring that terms of the settlement, or the Constitution, were not breached.

The Constitutional Court is the final interpreter of the Constitution. Together with the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and High Courts are tasked with the highest duty: checking the actions of both the executive and the legislature, each of whom are bound by the Constitution. Considering the enormity of this responsibility, insulating the courts ought to have been a matter of Constitutional design. No court can be expected to perform its checking functions with interference from other branches of Government.

Judicial power should never be a facilitator for executive intentions. On the contrary, it has to be an interrogator or scrutineer of executive power.

These are definitive moments when our courts need to reflect upon their own trajectory, their moral alignments and, most importantly, their duty to enhance hope. This is because our Constitution is supposed to be a document of hope.

Initially, we all hoped that Mr Lungu would do the right thing. With Mr Lungu’s insistence on contesting next year’s presidential elections, now it all rests on the hope that judges of the Constitutional Court would do the right thing.

Fred M’membe
Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali

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.