Latest Posts

Don’t underrate us!

Don’t underrate us! Featured

Don’t underrate us, we are revolutionaries, we are socialists and we know how to struggle from very disadvantaged positions and win.

At the time of the August 12 elections, the Zambian voters will have had this Patriotic Front government of President Edgar Lungu in power for six years. They may hate them, but they know them. We want them now to know us – our values, our identity and our character as a revolutionary political party.

We want to win not because the Patriotic Front and President Lungu are despised, but because we are better understood, supported and trusted. We should win and we can win. For us, there’s no choice between being principled and unelectable; and electable and unprincipled. We should win because of what we believe. We are not going to win despite our beliefs. We will only win because of them. We will win to fulfil our principles.

The task of revolutional transformation of our nation is not one for the faint hearted, or the world of weary, or cynical. It is not a task for those afraid of hard choices, for those with complacent views, or those seeking a comfortable personal life.

We are confident that we can once again debate new ideas, new thinking – away from the neoliberal capitalist outlook – without fearing the taunt of betrayal. We say what we mean and mean what we say. Not just what we are against – capitalism, but what we are for – socialism.

We say what we do mean, what we stand by, what we stand for. We have a clear, up-to-date manifesto of the objects and objectives of our party. Our manifesto was launched last year in June. It has been in the public domain for almost a year. It was open to wide and deep debate.

We are proud of our beliefs. And we have stated them in terms that people are able to understand and identify with them in every workplace, every home, every family, every community in our country.

Our party’s determination to bring real change, not just any change, is increasingly becoming the symbol of the trust the Zambian people can place in us to change the country. It is time to break out of the past and break through with a clear, radical and socialist vision for Zambia.

We want to build a nation with pride in itself, a thriving community, rich in economic prosperity, secure in social justice, equity and peace, confident in revolutionary change. And in fulfillment of our national anthem –

“Stand and sing of Zambia, proud and free,

Land of work and join in unity,

Victors in the struggle for our rights,

We’ve won freedom’s fight.

All one, Strong and Free.

Africa is our own motherland.

Fashion’d with and blessed by God’s good hand,

Let us all her people join as one,

Brothers under the sun,

All one, Strong and Free.

One land and one nation is our cry,

Dignity and peace neath Zambia’s sky

Like our noble eagle in its flight,

Zambia, praise to thee.

All one, Strong and Free…”

A land in which our children can bring up their children with a future to look forward to. This is our hope, not just to promise revolutionary change – but to achieve it.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

The law can only work for people when laws are fair

The law can only work for people when laws are fair Featured

There’s a mushrooming kerfuffle over the grade 12 minimum academic qualification required by the Constitution for one to stand as a councillor, member of parliament, council chairperson, mayor and President. Many people in our politics don’t seem to have it.

In the 2016 elections there was a more loose or liberal interpretation of this constitutional requirement. It was easy to meet this requirement. Last week’s Constitutional Court interpretation made it very difficult for many people to meet this requirement. The literary interpretation of this constitutional provision given by the Constitutional Court doesn’t seem acceptable to many people. It seems to have produced an absurd result.

The absurd result principle in statutory interpretation provides an exception to the rule that a statute should be interpreted according to its plain meaning. In an age of increasing debate about the proper approach to statutory interpretation, and of increasing emphasis on literal approaches, the absurd result principle poses intriguing challenges to literalism and to theories of interpretation generally. The absurd result principle is extraordinarily powerful. It authorises a judge to ignore a statute’s plain words in order to avoid the outcome those words would require in a particular situation. This is a radical thing; judges are not supposed to rewrite laws.

Ordinarily, such actions would be condemned as a usurpation of the legislative role, an unconstitutional violation of the separation of powers. Even when a genuine question exists about the actual meaning of the statute’s words, it is generally considered to be illegitimate for a judge to make the choice between possible meanings on the basis that the real-life result of one meaning strikes the judge as somehow objectionable. The absurd result principle apparently gives just that power and authority to a judge. Yet this principle enjoys almost universal endorsement, even by those who are the most critical of judicial discretion and most insistent that the words of the statute are the only legitimate basis of interpretation.

The law can only work for people when laws are fair. This grade 12 requirement, as interpreted by the Constitutional Court, has let people down. The grade 12 requirement is perceived as outright unjust by the majority of the people. This is an outright case of utilising improper means for the pursuit of an apparently legitimate goal. It has generated requirements that do not reflect the values of the underlying population. Today individuals are facing legal prohibitions that conflict with their sense of justice or fairness.

Unjust laws like these can be opposed through protest. Social opposition to unjust laws may trigger social norms that can have countervailing effects on legal intervention.

The inadequacies they were trying to address with the grade 12 requirement could have been dealt with differently. If there’s a deficiency of language – English language – the solution is not to bar those not proficient in English but to allow them to use languages they are fluent in. Other things they don’t understand – economics, law, security – can be taught to them as they perform their duties as councillors, council chairpersons, mayors, parliamentarians or presidents.

This constitutional provision only goes to show the class nature, the elite domination of our society. This is why this year we need to usher in a government of the humble, by the humble for the humble – a socialist government. Only under a socialist government can we truly have justice, equity and peace.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

Untrustworthy politicians

Untrustworthy politicians Featured

It’s increasingly becoming difficult to trust and believe any word coming out of a Zambian politician’s mouth. Lies, hypocrisy, saying things they don’t mean seems to be the political culture of our politicians. Today they criticise, repudiate, denounce or insult this and that, tomorrow they are in bed with the same this or that.

Today they resign or are expelled from this or that political party and start their own or join another and start insulting, denouncing, accusing their former colleagues of all sorts of crimes and evils. A few months later they are apologising, seeking forgiveness and reconciliation. They are taken back, but we don’t know if they are really forgiven and they start denouncing, insulting those who a few months ago had welcomed them when they were in political limbo.

It’s sickening. It’s making politics unattractive and seeming to be for scoundrels, liars, crooks, hypocrites. How can one work with such politicians, enter into alliances or pacts with them? This is certainly not a recipe for winning people’s trust. The credibility of our politicians is in continuous decline. Credibility is very difficult to find in our politicians today. But credibility is supposed to be the cornerstone of our people’s political life and of our multiparty political dispensation.

But do we still even know what credibility means? Who is credible and why? What are the roots and forms of political credibility? How does it circulate within society? What risks is it subject to and what pathologies do they derive from? What can be called upon to restore credibility to our politics?

We need clear, concise and compendious answers to these questions. We need to find credible ways to overcome the current crisis of credibility, which some even consider irreversible. At the basis of all this is the problem of accelerating the process of circulation of political crooks, of the real consumption of leadership, which leads us to ask: what is credibility really? And what does it mean to be credible?

I will pull the string a little bit and go back a little bit to Aristotle’s Rhetoric, in which he claims that we believe more easily in honest people, adding that this is even more so regarding questions that do not involve certainty, but doubt – recall how, both for the Philosopher and in the common feeling, credibility appears as a personal quality. In reality one is not credible in general and in the abstract, but for someone. It can be a few people or millions of people, but always someone and not in the abstract. Credibility is therefore a relationship, a risky bet, which leads us to ask ourselves what is credible and what are the characteristics and virtues that are preferably associated with a political entity perceived as credible.

There’s a difference between credibility of the role and credibility in the role; someone is believed because he knows and for what he knows. This is typically the credibility of the expert, that is one who has a well-founded knowledge of the facts and problems, which means that he can speak with good reason or with knowledge of the facts.

In politics it is crucial both to know how to and to be able to act. It is even more more necessary to know how to communicate well the decisions taken.In this necessary fiduciary relationship between those who claim to be credible and those who are considered as such, in which personal values can be summarised in the concepts of ‘virtue’ or ‘integrity’ and include honesty, seriousness, self-control, ability to assume responsibility and to respect commitments, politics must be understood as a service.

To govern means to serve, because “In the house of the just”, as St. Augustine observes, “those who command are at the service of those who seem the commanded. Indeed, it is not out of passion for domination that they command, but out of desire to give oneself; not out of pride in being leaders, but out of concern to provide for everyone.

“Credibility therefore no longer concerns only political competence or discursive ability, but the totality of the personal characteristics of the politician, in creating an affective/emotional relationship between leaders and citizens: why should I vote for him? The old Hegelian principle, which says that nobody is a great man for his waiter, returns, so that political leaders, accepting and often seeking the challenge of politics, must be aware of being at the mercy of millions of waiters, the electors.

Political credibility is possible but in a community of shared values, standards and common aims. Political credibility is not just an analysis of credibility in politics. After almost three decades of personal political parties and those formed around a leader, there has been a break-up and rapid consumption of intermittent leadership, which may last only one morning. These are leaderships gained, more and more frequently, on social networks, with an eternal return to oscillating and cyclical dynamics. In the age of permanent election campaigns, that format is intertwined with the processes of personalisation – for which the strong man is also a brand – and of mediatisation.

Mutual recognition assumes a fundamental importance where it is seen as the ability to guide and govern others by assuming all the responsibilities and risks that this entails, while encouraging and promoting real processes of listening, participation and active involvement of citizens at all the levels and in all phases of democratic political life.

Fred M’membe

High youth unemployment – Dr Fred M’membe

High youth unemployment – Dr Fred M’membe Featured

Today, there are 3,491404 (male 1,744,843/female 1,746,561) aged between 15 -24, accounting for 20.03 per cent of Zambia’s population.

The active engagement of youth in sustainable development efforts is central to achieving a sustainable, inclusive and stable nation, and to averting the worst threats and challenges to sustainable development, including the impacts of climate change, unemployment, poverty, gender inequality, conflict, and migration.

While all other areas of human endeavour are important, if we don’t prioritise education and employment very little will be achieved in improving the conditions of our young people. Education and employment are fundamental to overall youth development.

Unacceptably high numbers of young Zambians are experiencing poor education and employment outcomes. In education, many youth of upper secondary age are out of school, and upper secondary enrolment rates are low. Moreover, many of the poorest 12- to 14-year olds have never attended school, and many of the youth of the future are still unable to obtain an acceptable primary education.

In most of our rural areas, young women face particular challenges in terms of securing and completing an education.Youth employment has worsened in recent years.

Unemployment among youth ages 15-24 stands at 24 per cent (male: 23.6 per cent/female: 24.4 per cent). Many of our young people are in precarious or informal work. And most of them are living in poverty even though they are employed.

The challenges of securing and retaining decent work are even more serious and complex for vulnerable and marginalised youth including young women, youth with disabilities.
While entrepreneurship offers opportunities for some youth, a diverse and robust employment strategy must include options and opportunities for all our young people.

We need to start building successful programmes that address the individual and socioeconomic contexts in which our young people actually live, rather than simply repeating the skills-for-employability rhetoric which supposes that there are formal sector jobs available if only young people were not so unprepared.

Equally, such programmes view entrepreneurship practically, as a part of livelihood strategy, rather than through an ideological lens. They believe young people can succeed in business but need support and face risks.

It is important to recognise that the human rights and flourishing of youth are about more than successful transitions to employment. Young people have aspirations that are far broader and that need to be valued and supported. Approaches that focus on prioritising youth participation, respecting youth rights, and addressing youth aspirations are key.

Rather than focusing on narrow measures of educational or employment attainment, it is crucial that suffient attention is paid to young people’s own accounts of what they value for their human development and for the sustainable development of their communities.

Youth Day reflections

Youth Day reflections Featured

Many years have passed since I stopped being a youth. But I still cherish those years of my life. They were years of heavy learning and of doing. I joined the revolutionary struggle during those years of my life.

If you are not revolutionary as a youth it is highly unlikely that you be revolutionary in your later years.

The youths are the strength of society. They are the face of the future of a nation. The youths are impulsive and are sensitive, but once they fix their target, there is no coming back.

They are humble and kind, but they believe in power and ideologies. They are progressive and have the potential to bring a revolution. With their vigour and talent, they build up society and inspire others to do the same.

Youth is a remarkable and massive gift of life. It is a lifetime experience that shapes an individual.

At this specific phase of life, the youths are always driven by freedom, liberty, and fantasy. The youngsters feel the power to speak and expressing their views without any fear.

It is appropriate and preferably the best phase of life where one must try to accomplish the dual goals of character and intelligence.

Youth is a crucial and critical age of development and is a period of uncertainty where everything seems ferment. There is a beautiful blend of a child’s attitude and an adult’s personality at this stage.

At this phase of life, a person can turn very rebellious as this age is full of curiosity, toughness, stimulation, heroism, muscle, judgemental attitude, being skeptical, and sorts. As a result, the youths develop an attitude of absolute judgment and rationale.The youths also play a very vital role in building the nation. The future of the country mostly depends on them. Every youth is equally responsible for the country’s future as they represent it at every level. They are like building blocks for the country.

As the youths are very energetic and enthusiastic, their ability to learn new skills and adapt to the environment is quite good. They have an urge to learn and act accordingly that will help them achieve their goals.

To conclude, youth is the best period in an individual’s life. One must cherish their dreams, develop a passion, and start working towards their aim of life. Youths must keep their eyes wide open and protect themselves from any harm.

The youths must always remember they are not alone, and they play a critical role in the development of society.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party