Tag: Corruption

Analysis of 2018 and expectations in 2019: by Socialist Party General Secretary, Dr Cosmas Musumali

Analysis of 2018 and expectations in 2019: by Socialist Party General Secretary, Dr Cosmas Musumali

Q. Comrade we have just done 2018, how do you analyze the year 2018?

A. 2018 was a very difficult year for Zambians, especially those without jobs, those that lost jobs, those that depend on their meager salaries for survival and those that are trying to earn a living through farming, students who have not been able to pay their fees, and basically all poor and marginalized Zambians.

With the downturn of the Zambian economy, a lot of things are very hard to come by for the average Zambian. And what we have also seen is that apart from the economy biting and making life very, very difficult for our people, the political climate has also worsened – there has been increased repression from the leading political party and from those in government. We have also seen high levels of intolerance when it comes to dealing with national issues, we have also witnessed state sponsored violence where crisis and the issues that should have been dealt with amicably were resolved using strong hand tactics.

And this is most likely not going to end in 2019, it is a continuum of violence that is increasingly making life very difficult in Zambia. But we have also seen the reaction of the international community, one of the sad areas was in the areas of corruption, where donors had to go to the extent of withdrawing their support because we are deemed to be a corrupt society especially the leadership and even the government itself.

We have seen our grading in terms of governance deteriorating, in terms of human rights, in terms of the livelihoods of the people and many other indicators of governance and economic wellbeing.

Economic status and projection

In short, 2018 has not been an easy year: things have been rather difficult for the average Zambian, the little bit of democratic space that was gained earlier on has been lost in that year and the hope is becoming less that 2019 is going to be any better. For 2019 we expect the continuation of the suffering that we saw in 2018. I would add actually that things are going to be worse off compared to 2018. What we expect is an economy that is literally stagnating, and as the economy is stagnating we expect also that inflationary pressures to come in, in a much bigger way, its going to be very, very difficult to do away with the inflation when it comes to food, and beyond food also some of the none food products upon which the poor people depend.

Social Services

We see a lot of difficulties in accessing social amenities, social utilities for the masses of our people, the paying of school fees is going to be a challenge, the meeting of transport needs or requirements is going to be a big challenge, food itself is going to be a big challenge for our people, hospitals and medical requirements are still going to be another hustle.

Political Resistance and Repression

So 2019 may also produce some bit of resistance from our people, as the suffering increases there is a good chance that people are going to go out on the street to vent out their anger. With that, there is also a possibility of much more repression as the government becomes insecure and unstable.

Political Players and alternatives

On the political scene we do not see much change, what we are witnessing in Zambia is a proliferation of opposition political parties that do not have a different agenda from that of government. These are capitalist political parties that are repositioning themselves; these find the leadership of the PF and government weak and they are vying for positions not necessarily that they are doing it for the betterment of Zambians but they see their chances to get into power, come 2021. That’s the dilemma that we find ourselves in, in the political sphere in Zambia. And the troubles of 2019 are going to be a huge reflection of this dilemma.

Pacifying political tensions

We expect also to see some attempts towards national dialogue taking place, as the situation becomes critical, we will most likely see certain parties such as the church coming in and trying to bring in some bit of sanity. We do appreciate those efforts, we will support those efforts, we are skeptical that the current government has the willingness, has the capacity, the commitment to changing the situation. It’s an elite, political elite that has come into power using violence and if it doesn’t use violence what else has it got to offer? It’s an elite that continues to use the buying of people, misusing government resources, it’s parasitic on the public funding and this is a culture that it cannot just easily stop. But as it tries to re-assert itself, there will be contradictions within those that are in power and there will be some form of opposition within the leading party itself or the ruling party itself but that should not be judged as a measure of increased democracy and transparency in Zambia. If anything it’s a measure of a failing elite, failing in terms of providing to the Zambians. Then it becomes insecure and starts fighting itself. Not necessarily that those that are fighting the current government have got much or better to offer, NO. Definitely not.

The alternative

For SP, for the socialist party, we feel the main fight is against the failures of capitalism, it’s a system that hasn’t delivered to our people for so many years and it won’t definitely deliver in 2019. Joblessness is going to increase, inflationary pressures are going to increase and any wealth that created in Zambia is going to be consumed or is going to accrue mostly to the already rich people. And this is not going to change, it’s going to be enhanced. The richer will get richer, the poor will remain poor under the capitalism that we experience in Zambia. And as a party we stand firm behind the suffering masses, behind the working people of this country. We will do our part to agitate, we will do our part to stand firm for the masses and against the exploitative and repressive tendencies of the current government. It’s going to be a year of struggle, but we also think that with our combined forces it is going to produce positive results. By the end of the year, that movement towards peace, towards equity, towards justice will gain in strength it will give Zambians the confidence that they can be masters of their destiny and that Zambia can be a better society. That’s how we get into 2019, it’s going to be a year of resistance, a year of the revolution.

Thank you.

Capitalism Bears the Seeds of Corruption

Capitalism Bears the Seeds of Corruption

By Faston Mwale

Recently, Zambia has been treated to a wide range of serious corruption allegations involving top government leaders. But accusations of illegal acquisition of wealth by senior public officers are not new in Zambia, what is new, however, is the level or the size of the acts of corruption committed. Not long ago, we heard about the massive scandal in which over $1million worth of drugs varnished at Medical Stores Limited, consequently placing the Ministry of Health at a high risk of discontinuation of funding support from the Global Fund. Inevitably, this would place over 1.2million people currently on HIV/AIDS and TB medical support programs in a precarious position. Part of the plundered resources are being invested in foreign countries at a time when unemployment levels in the country are at a record low. Our youths graduating from tertiary institutions are having to contend with a bleak future in which a prospect for employment is perceptibly small. In part and to a larger extent, this is what has given birth to gangsterism a phenomenon little known in the last two decades or so. This is how deleterious corruption can be.

What is at issue is the fact that Zambians hardly see anything wrong with corruption, as such we tolerate the vice rather than abhor it. The parasitic petty bourgeoise elite in the political leadership of the country seem to have managed to hypnotize us into docility. I dare say without any fear of contradiction that by virtue of our inordinate silence, we have become consummate accomplices to the vice of corruption. Resources meant for development are plundered with impunity. Unfortunately, those who loot the country’s resources are in many cases deified rather than condemned. Today, Zambia is ranked among the highly corrupt countries of the world at number 97. Zambia is the third hungriest nation on earth. Even in the face of these paralyzing statistics, we don’t seem to see anything wrong with corruption. The question is why?

One of the deformities of a capitalist system is corruption and as long as we remain clenched within the claws of capitalism, we shall continue to wallow in poverty in the midst of plenty. A system that thrives on unbridled greed and flourishes on cutthroat competition driven by an insatiable appetite to consume to satisfy naked self-interest cannot be said to be good. A system that ‘soaks’ the poor to enrich the rich must be superseded by a humane system that advances the values of justice, equity and peace in our societies.

Unfortunately, the majority of the political parties that we have in Zambia save for the Socialist Party have a neo-liberal capitalist character. They are appendages of the capitalist system. Perhaps, that is why it is unamazing to see a political leader sticking out his neck to openly justify and massage an act of corruption involving colossal sums of money. Instead of expressing disapproval to acts of corruption, he finds it acceptable to say, “boyi yaluka, bwesha, this issue has generated a lot of controversy.” I may ask, where is the morality in this type of leadership?

When our desperate youths engage themselves in ruthless attacks against each other as they compete for space in illegal mining activities, the government is conspicuously unmoved by such obnoxious events. All what government officials say is, “arrest them and throw them in jail” without ever caring to examine the class forces that dictate themselves into the crisis of the moment.

In the main, the crises that we are beginning to see today emanate from unfair distribution of resources made worse by dispossessions. Corruption which seems to have become a norm in Zambia has created wide income disparities. Given a Gini Coefficient of 57.5, Zambia is among the ten most unequal countries in the world. If interventions are not put in place to stem the growing income inequalities, gangsterism, crude forms of theft, ghastly murders, to mention a few will continue to haunt us. There is need, therefore, for a fundamental change in the way our country’s resources are managed, controlled and owned. A leadership that denies its people, especially the youth, the dream of a decent future is as useless as the system that creates it and must be discarded altogether.

Forward to Socialism! VIVA SP

General Secretary Cosmas Musumali on Corruption

General Secretary Cosmas Musumali on Corruption

Corruption is indeed very endemic in Zambian society, but we are not doing justice to it by merely trying to limit it to individuals; talking about: ‘this one is a non-corrupt individual, the other one is more corrupt’. I think we have to look at the entire system. If you look at the system of capitalism and look at its basic values, and those basic values are individualism, greed, and aspects of unbridled competition and consumerism. Those values are more prone towards ensuring that our society remains corrupt. You cannot handle corruption effectively under this system.

What we are trying to do on an everyday basis is to look at what is called the high level corruption. It is justified because it’s more visible and its impact is very, very serious for our society. But at the same time we should acknowledge that if the top leadership is corrupt there’s a great possibility that even the masses of our people are also corrupt. So, we live in a society that is corrupt from the top to bottom. And if we want to fight corruption, yes we can deal on the issue of policies, we can look at the issue of the strategies, we can look n the issue of changing the laws – providing certain incentives, providing education to the masses, but that in itself doesn’t help very much. What would help is to bring in new values in our politics, in the economy, basically in the entire society; and that’s where socialism comes in.

Socialism is based on the fundamental values of equity; it’s based on honesty, humility and solidarity. These are values that take away the aspect of corruption. A socialist society is not a corrupt society, a capitalist society is a highly corrupt society.

PF Most Corrupt in the History of Zambia

PF Most Corrupt in the History of Zambia

SOURCE: NewsDay Zambia

Socialist Party interim general secretary Dr Cosmas Musumali says the Patriotic Front is the most corrupt government Zambia has ever had.

And social activist Maiko Zulu says Zambians will continuously head nowhere if they get comfortable with the current elitist leadership that is shamelessly siphoning the country’s resources and is in power for the sake of making profits.

Featuring on UNZA Radio, Lusaka Star programme this morning, Dr Musumali said there was urgent need to change the governance system as corruption had become endemic under President Edgar Lungu’s administration.

And responding to a caller identified as Dr Proud, who told him to stop making wild allegations about corruption, Dr Musumali said the current PF administration was the most corrupt the country has ever had.

“But it (MMD) ended up being one of the most corrupt parties, much more corrupt than the party it replaced, UNIP. PF came on the same ticket. It said MMD was very corrupt and that it was going to clean. It came in, now we are saying the PF that we have today is even more corrupt than ever before. It is the most corrupt government that we have ever had. So, as Zambians in our analysis, if we want to make lasting change, we have to go beyond the issue of just taking out individuals. We have to change the entire system,” he said. “And when we are talking of a cancer, you don’t fight cancer just by looking at the symptoms. If you are going to uproot, to amputate it, then amputate the system upon which that cancer is built. It’s important that we bear that in mind, and an issue that will mean honesty as a value of socialism, the issue of humility plays a very big part. Dr Proud was talking about ‘don’t throw wild allegations’. Dr Proud, those wild allegations will always be there under capitalism, under this system.”

Dr Musumali said capitalism was a system that was not truthful.

“It teaches us, as its subjects, to lie from day one. It’s not just the leadership that’s lying; every one of us is lying on daily basis. We don’t have the norms, the values that teach us to be honest. In our homes, we are telling lies to our children vice-versa, and that is replicated even in our politics. Our politics in Zambia are about lying. Capitalist politics is about telling lies every day, every year and every century,” said Dr Musumali.

In sentiments made this morning when he called in on a special program on which Dr Musumali, a socialist and economist, featured on UNZA Radio, Zulu, who contested the Kabwata parliamentary seat in the 2016 general election as an independent, said there was urgent need to revolutionise leadership and make it less commercial if Zambia was to move forward.

“Good morning Dr Musumali. Let me call you comrade, because I think you sound sober enough to be called a comrade…I just want to talk about a few things, you have talked about like access to education and also opportunities, equity, when we talk of equity, not equality but equity. I think it is very important that we understand where we are as a country and where we have been,” he said. “I think at some point in the history of Zambia, we enjoyed some form of equity but when you look at the situation we are in, it is very clear to see that there is an elitist movement in the country that is siphoning the country’s resources and this inner circle is doing this without shame at all.”

Zulu then touched on the recent appointment of Margaret Mwanakatwe as finance minister, a decision which he described as questionable.

“You can see we are appointing a Minister of Finance who is questionable. There is a case concerning her seat…and you go on to appoint [her] as Minister of Finance. I have no problem with Hon Mwanakatwe’s credentials at all. But when you talk of integrity in leadership, these are the things we are talking about. Our institutions have been cheapened, including Parliament itself, because our Parliament does not seem to understand their roles,” Zulu continued. “They (Parliament) are not the watchdogs of the people anymore…As long as we have this elitist movement and we are comfortable with it, we are not going to go anywhere as a country. So, we need to revolutionise leadership, make it become less commercial because leadership now is all about profit. We go into leadership out of profit; what are you going to reap after five years. So, it’s a disaster.”