The day after the elections, I wished our President-elect and his party well, I do so again.
Socialists are patriots and we wish to see our country succeed, with or without us. We wish to see the economy and the living conditions of our people improve. There has been a lot of talk about national unity. And the focus has mainly been on tribalism and regionalism. The ultimate strength of our country will lie not in the power of our security and defence forces or financial resources but will lie in the unity of our people.
Speaking of Kwa and Ku, I am absolutely convinced that as long as there is enormous inequality among the people of our country, there can’t be any meaningful unity. A country that has enormous social differences, inequality and social injustice or one where millions of people are unemployed, lack medical attention or have no schools, have no food cannot have meaningful national unity.
The existence of a glaring disparity in income levels indicates an intolerable imbalance in the way wealth and resources are distributed. Our reality is such that poverty levels in some of our provinces are above 80 per cent and rural poverty averages 76.6 per cent.
History abounds with instances where the rich and powerful have brought about their own downfall by refusing to recognize in good time the legitimate demands of the majority. And as long as this gap remains at its current scandalous level, the future of our country is at risk and our people will look for alternative leadership.
By tolerating such high levels of poverty, the Zambian economy undermines the common good, and fails to demonstrate the solidarity that our shared human dignity demands and consequently undermines national unity.
Politicians can ask, plead for national unity, but unity comes only from the hearts of people, from establishing a system of governance anchored on honesty, equity, humility and solidarity.
And we should never forget that this country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless it is a good place for all of us to live in.
To our new government – as you are ushered in we urge you to remember the cries of the Zambian people. The cries that the previous government ignored to their own peril.
You will soon be appointing your cabinet. This must be the beginning of a different trajectory for this country. A lean cabinet must be a priority. We hope this will be the beginning of the abolition of Ministries that can be government departments. As the Socialist party, we have stated that this country can be run effectively and efficiently by reducing the number of ministers from 22 to 10.
We promise to be a loyal opposition party – We will provide very strong checks and balances. It won’t be a one party state but we do recognize, that the journey to recovery will not be easy. Our voice will be heard loud and clear on all important national issues. For us, to see wrongs being committed, and not to speak will be a great betrayal to the Zambian people. Losing an election will not shut us up nor temper our resolve to call out the wrongs in our society.
For the sake of the Zambian people, we implore you to prove to us that you and the PF are not siamese twins.