Author: Socialist Party ZambiaThe Socialist Party is a political formation whose primary mandate is to promote and entrench socialist values in the Zambian society. Anchored on the principles of Justice, Equity and Peace (JEP), the Socialist Party shall transform the Zambian society from capitalism to socialism, building socialism in three key sectors: Education, Agriculture and Health.

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

Socialists are patriots

Socialists are patriots

By pointing out the mistakes, weaknesses and even abuses of those ruling our country today, we have not turned ourselves into enemies of our people.

Our opposition to the third term bid by those in government today doesn’t make us unpatriotic.

Socialists are patriots and we wish to see our country succeed, with or without us.

You will never see us gloat over national reverses, nor talk down the achievements of those running government. We wish to see the economy recover and do well. We do not look to defeat those running government today on the back of national failure. There will be sufficient grounds without that to argue for their removal. We will not win merely by default, but by our ability to capture the public mood.

Those in government today seem to be guided by the wish to destroy any meaningful opposition; by the determination to have a third term of office for their supreme leader. That is not a recipe for governing well. Theirs is a political party held together by the fear of losing power and its benefits. That will to retain power is the one idea they hold in common. But with the passage of time, that will prove an insubstantial glue. The wheel of fortune turns and that which once appeared fresh, with the passing of time goes to seed.

For us, there’s no choice between being principled and unelectable; and electable and unprincipled. We should win because of what we believe in. A new and complex era such as this requires principles more than ever. It requires a lot more awareness.

This awareness is built by adding experiences of the past and present together with a vision of an anticipated future. It has to be built by adding together all the revolutionary thoughts, the best ethical and humane ideas of all authentic religions, the sum total of the preaching of many political thinkers, of many progressive schools of thought. And political ideas are worthless if they are not inspired by noble, selfless sentiments.

Likewise, noble sentiments are worthless if they are not based on correct and fair ideas.

It is our principles and values that make us a party of compassion; of social justice; of struggle against poverty and inequality; of liberty; of basic human solidarity; and the day we lose those things is the day we keep the name of the Socialist Party but lose the reason for its existence. And ours is a simple enough vision. But it will require supreme national effort. It is a task for a whole people, and not one fixer, genius or MacGyver. Great challenges. But great rewards for all of us if we can rise to them as we can.

We need the good that is in the heart of each of us to serve the good of all of us.

Politics without principles, values or standards seem to be engendering a tendency for our politicians and their supporters to jettison long-term goals for immediate gains.

This forgetting of the great, the principal considerations for the momentary interests of the day, this struggling and striving for the success of the moment regardless of later consequences, this sacrifice of the future for present, may be ‘honestly’ meant, but it is and remains opportunism, and ‘honest’ opportunism is perhaps the most dangerous of all.

Fred M’membe
Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali

It’s not out hatred, fear of losing but principle

It’s not out hatred, fear of losing but principle

When we say that President Edgar Lungu is not eligible to contest the 2021 presidential elections it is not out of hatred or fear of losing to him.

Even if Mr Lungu was a very weak candidate who could be easily defeated our position does not change – the principle and requirements of the rule of law do not change. We may have chameleon-like politicians but our country’s Constitution does not change in that psychedelic way.

We are saying this simply out of principle, out of respect for the rule of law.

And this does not require very complicated legal arguments. It is a very simple and straightforward matter.

And put simply: Mr Lungu has been elected to the office of President of the Republic of Zambia twice. And he has been sworn in as President twice – serving two terms as president.

The issue of his first term being less than three years does not arise or apply here. It arises when or applies to a person who assumes the office of President as Vice-President, without being elected, when the President dies, resigns or is removed from office for any reason.

Mr Lungu did not assume office as Vice-President and without elections in 2015. He contested presidential elections twice and won.

You can call us all sorts of names, threaten us in all sorts of ways and accuse us of all sorts things but that will not change this reality.

It does not matter what legal gymnastics they will try to play they will not succeed in changing this reality. They can ignore it, but that will not change this reality. They tried to change this reality with Bill 10 but they failed.

We know very well that we are dealing with people who have very little, or no respect, for the rule of law. These are people who are used to getting whatever they want, regardless of what the law says. They don’t seem to realise that the exercise of power must be a constant practice of self limitation and modesty.

But that should not stop us from pointing out the truth or correct positions.

History has taught us that once a government is committed to manipulating the law, the Constitution to get whatever it wants, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of tyranny to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear and silence.

We should not accept to be silenced over this illegality of Mr Lungu’s third term bid.

Fred M’membe

Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali