THE ZAMBIAN people are like the beggar Lazarus in the Bible, eating filthy scraps that have fallen from the tables of the rich, Socialist Party general secretary and first vice-president Cosmas Musumali has said.
He was speaking at the second of two adoption ceremonies in late March and early April at Kingfisher Garden Court in Lusaka.
“The masses of our country have become, as a collective, a modern day Lazarus. And if you are the Lazarus of today, you have no say in your governance. If you are Lazarus, you don’t qualify to be a leader,” he said.
“Those who eat at the high table will pretend they will speak on your behalf, that they will bring development to you, that they will be the ones who will take care of you. But this is a lie. It’s evil actually. They only use violence and intimidation.
“Enough is enough. You are fed up with being harassed, being abused. This has gone on for too long. They will come with tokens of money, make you drunk, give you some salt, sugar, pieces of chitenge, to buy you off. But you are not that cheap,” he said.
“Your status as Lazarus will not change because of that. They are taking away your dignity. They are using your poverty to come back to you with hand-outs. “They come to you to campaign but they don’t have issues to bring to you. They leave you hanging four or five years, but at the last minute they come up with a manifesto. Cut and paste. They know you don’t even have time to read and understand it. That’s what is happening today.”
Dr Musumali said the adoption of a further 11 candidates – nine for parliament, one for a mayoral position and one as a councillor – would be the last official event. While there might be “one or two more” candidates, the party was by-and-large through with adoptions. Of the 11 latest candidates, seven are female, with six below the age of 35.
Dr Musumali said there was a world of difference between the Socialist Party’s manifesto, pledges and ideas, and parties that had nothing to offer the Zambian masses.
“We produced a manifesto two or three years ago and you have had the chance to look at it. This is your manifesto, these are your ideas,” he said. “Those who come to you without ideas are basically saying remain where you are. And because they don’t have much to offer you, they will resort to insults and jokes. The whole campaign becomes a cracking of jokes. Of course, we all like jokes, and at times even insults can be quite interesting.”
But he said jokes and insults from ordinary politicians would not put food on tables or build schools.
“This has gone on for too long. This has to change. Zambians are fed up with the greedy, irresponsible, corrupt establishment in Zambia. We are taking over,” Dr Musumali said.
“The Lazarus of today is saying ‘we want to rule ourselves’, and that is also in tandem with what democracy is. When you go to the villages today, people tell you they are fed up.”
Dr Musumali said the Zambian masses were cynical and no longer trusted the political establishment or what politicians had to say.
“The people of Zambia feel betrayed. We have been in those villages. My brother, comrade Fred M’membe, more than any Zambian leader, has spent days, weeks, months and years in the villages. He has not been in Lusaka, he doesn’t belong to Lusaka.”
Dr Musumali said Zambia was ready for political change. “People want self-emancipation, they want to change their own situation, and the Socialist Party is ready.”
Parliamentary adoptees are: Goma Dydas (Chama South), Mary Bukisa (Lukashya), Dorothy Mashingwele (Kabwe Central), Sharon Fulani (Lufwanyama), Ireen Musela (Mufulira), Sharon Muyupa (Kankoyo), Constance Bwalya (Kantanshi), Kalota Morris (Solwezi West) and Stanley Tembo (Kafue). In addition, Moses Makondo will contest to be mayor of Solwezi, and Ngulube Mukuka will stand as a councillor in Kupumaula ward, Kasama