It’s really a wonderful feeling to be here in Kitwe among you. To be in the town of my early childhood in Wusakile and of my university days at the University of Zambia, Ndola Campus at Kitwe, now Copperbelt University.
I am here because of you.
I am here because of your suffering.
I am here because of the humiliation you have to endure everyday due to unemployment, poor housing, sanitation, water supply, failing to feed your children and pay their school fees.
I am here because of the challenges you are facing in paying medical bills for yourselves and your families.
I am here because of the difficulties you are facing to clothe yourselves and your children.
Now you have to resort to wearing clothes from dead people in Europe – salaula!
Nshile tukana salaula iyo! Paliinonshita salaula ilefwaikwa. Ukwabula salaula ngatwenda ubwamba!
We have poverty levels of 30.8 per cent on the Copperbelt – the industrial centre of our country.
Of course, this is not the worst. We have poverty levels of 82.2 per cent in Western Province; 81.1 per cent in Luapula Province; 79.7 per cent in Northern Province; 70 per cent in Eastern Province; 69.3 per cent in Muchinga Province; 66.4 per cent in North-Western Province; 57.6 per cent in Southern Province; 56.2 per cent in Central Province and 20.2 per cent in Lusaka Province.
Today our country is the fourth hungriest country in Africa after Chad, the Central African Republic and Madagascar. We are number four in Africa kunsala. If it was soccer we would qualify straight to the semi-finals of the Africa Cup.
Chad and the Central African Republic are deserts or semi deserts.
We are blessed with good soils and plenty water. What do we need from God? Mana! Tayakamoneke mana. Inshiku shakwa Noah tashakabwele!
How can we be number four in Africa kunsala na fyonse ifi Lesa atupela?
Tatuletekwa bwino! !
But our suffering, misery, humiliation did not start today.
In December 1897 our Ngoni ancestors, who had built themselves a relatively prosperous economy, were attacked by that capitalist bandit Cecil John Rhodes. This bandit’s better-equipped and resourced army destroyed our people’s economy and had their cattle and land stolen.
But our people did not just give in, they resisted, they fought back. It was a very difficult war – the assegai against Maxim-guns and Seven-pounders! On the 4th February 1898 the Ngoni capital was overrun and commander-in-chief of the Ngoni forces Nsingu was captured and executed.
But in the early 1950s the struggle for independence, dignity and a better life was reignited. In 1964 we got our independence with great hope for a better and dignified life.
But the promise did not live long. By the mid 1980s a feeling for change was growing. And in 1991, in the quest for a better and more dignified life, Zambians changed the political leadership, economic and social direction of this country.
But the better and more dignified life has not come, is yet to come – things are actually getting worse. It was like jumping from a frying pan into fire.
Now we need to quickly get out of the fire before we are all burnt to ashes. But not jumping into the frying pan again!
This is where your party, our party, a party of the humble, by the humble, for the humble, the party for all those who toil to make a living – the workers’ party, the Socialist Party – comes in.
This is where you come in; this is where I come in.
Without you, as a class – the working class – directly taking over the governance of this country through your party, guided by the working-class, your ideology of socialism, you will be jumping back and forth from frying pan into fire.
What you can’t do for yourselves, no one will do it for you.
You the worker works for others but no one works for you. Do you see any people coming from ku to come work for you in kwa? It is you from kwa who are everyday going to ku to work for them – to clean for them, wash for them, make their beds, cook for them and look after their children as maids.
The beautiful houses they live in, it’s you the worker from kwa who build them, but look at where you yourselves live in kwa?
You the worker have problems with water, sanitation, food, shelter, jobs, education, health and roads. Those who govern, your rulers, don’t have problems with these things – fyonse fili mbwembwe!
Those you have entrusted to govern for you have governed against you. Only you, yourselves, can govern in a manner that benefits you the worker.
Only a party of the working class; a party for the poor masses; a socialist party can govern in your interest.
Only a leadership truly and sincerely committed to the cause of the working class; a party for the poor masses; a socialist leadership can serve the interests of the worker, the poor.
And this is what I am deployed by comrades to pursue as President of the Republic of Zambia.
And many years of commitment to working class causes and my personal experiences have prepared me for this deployment.
However, I am not a messiah – there can only be one Messiah, and that is Christ.
I am simply a guide to this struggle. The heroes and heroines of this struggle are you the humble workers of this country, the poor of this country. And it is you, and only you, who can establish a more just, fair and humane society – a society anchored on honesty, equity, humility and solidarity – in our homeland.
I bring to your struggle, your party, my humble peasant and working-class backgrounds.
I bring to your struggle fruits of the free education I received from you, paid for by the humble poor masses of this country.
I bring to this struggle some experience gained in the struggles I have participated in in other lands.
And above all, I come here to share with you the love given to me by the humble peasants, poor workers who brought me up and those I had the privilege of working with over the years.
The challenges before us are gigantic and require a lot of knowledge and very strong principles.
We have to create jobs in a country, and a world that is everyday losing jobs to technology, artificial intelligence systems.
No matter how many foreign investors we bring in, we will never have those big armies of mine workers we used to have. Today a few pieces of high-tech equipment wipe out thousands of mining jobs.
The big numbers of workers we used to have on commercial farms are gone. They have been replaced by more efficient machines – combine harvesters, digitalised tractors navigated by satellite.
The many jobs we used to have in the banks are gone forever and ever. Amen! They have been replaced by ATMs and other technologies. A human being can’t compete with the ATM. The ATM doesn’t go on maternity leave – taifyala. The ATM doesn’t need to take time off for funerals – it has no relatives or friends who die.
The ATM doesn’t go to church on Sunday or Saturday, it has no god to worship. It just works and works!
Let’s not make the mistake of thinking the problem is technology. We need this technology. The problem is not the technology but the capitalist system that doesn’t fairly share the benefits of technology with the worker – the worker who created the technology.
Technology should not necessarily lead to loss of jobs; it should lead to workers working fewer hours – using the time saved on further studies, family, sports, arts, visiting relatives and spiritual development.
And with industry, banks and other sectors of our economy not creating sufficient and quality jobs our survival will depend on increasing agricultural production and agro-processing.
But very little, if not nothing, will be achieved without investing much in education, without prioritizing education; without investing big in health services for our people.
There cannot be dignity without a solid roof over one’s head; without meaningful access to land.
This growing unemployment, inequality and poverty has not been ordained on us by God. If it were, I would say let’s just walk across to that cemetery and bury ourselves alive because there’s nothing we can do against God’s will. But this is a creation of human hands; greedy people. And because it is a product of human decisions and actions, with hard work and tenacious struggle, we can remedy it.
This is a product of capitalist exploitation, oppression and humiliation. It can only be corrected by you the exploited, oppressed and humiliated taking your destiny into your own hands by you, the poor masses, becoming the rulers of this country.
And this is what this party of yours is for; this is what I am here for – to enable you to win political power and use that power to build a society in which you can have the dignity that comes from justice, equity and peace.
Together we will struggle to ensure that all have jobs, free education and free health services, dignified housing, sanitation, clean water, food and all the other services required in an organized society.
But let me remind you that this struggle won’t be easy. Forty-nine years ago, 17 mine workers were killed here in Kitwe at Rokana mine by rich (capitalist), for simply demanding to be respected as human beings and to be treated in a just, fair and humane way.
Today, here in this same Kitwe, we launch our peaceful struggle for a more just, fair and humane Zambia.
In the coming days, weeks and months we will elaborate how this will be done, struggled for by you our heroes and heroines and by us your guides.
For now, I say aluta continua!
“Amaka ku bantu”
Forward to a more just Zambia!
Forward to a fairer Zambia!
Forward to a more equal Zambia!
Forward to a more humane Zambia!
Forward to a socialist Zambia!
I love you all!