Comrades, respected Comrades allow me not to thank you for electing me as president of our workers’ party – the Socialist Party.
It will not be fair for you to expect thanks from a comrade you have enslaved.
Moreover, I have never applied for a leadership position in this party. We socialists don’t apply for positions in our parties, we are simply deployed by our comrades on the basis of trust.
So I can, and I must, thank you all for the trust you have placed in me.
We take up these leadership positions in this party of the working class, the party of the humble not because of ambitions or pleasure. We take up these leadership positions only to fulfill a duty, to serve the cause of the toiling masses of our people.
Our struggle is a very serious one which some people don’t seem to take seriously.
As a society, we often overvalue unimportant things and undervalue the ideas and strategies that make a real difference.
We are aiming to build a revolutionary movement of millions, toward the goal of actually taking hold of the reins of society and radically transforming it.
The conditions under which our mothers, our fathers, our brothers and sisters, the unemployed, the students, the boys and girls are living are increasingly becoming unbearable.
I see this in the compounds where I work and talk to our people. It really breaks your heart to hear what they say about what is going on in their lives, in Kwa; what is happening to the children, the women and the unemployed; what’s happening with education; the growing number of children who are homeless and have to try to survive in the streets; and what is happening with the health situation in our country.
The lives of 16.4 million people cannot be sacrificed, ignored or exploited in that way.
Faced with this situation, Zambians are truly becoming desperate. The situation they describe is now much more terrible, more desperate and hopeless than a few years ago. I can see this.
It is only a matter of time, because the neoliberal capitalist policies and practices being pursued are creating an enormous time bomb in our country. Are we going to wait for it to explode before we start thinking about these problems?
There’s no future for our people, and I think the politicians and all progressives and democrats in this country have a duty to pay it all the attention it requires, or our people will be reduced to nothing, to destitute, to slaves.
I don’t think that will happen. Within 15 years there will be more than 30 million of us in this country, and you can’t exterminate 30 million people like flies – 30 million people cannot be killed or annihilated.
This overwhelming period is transitory, like an insolent storm cloud that blots out the light of the sun for a short time.
Comrades, under these conditions we cannot have meaningful democracy. True democracy cannot exist in the midst of social inequality, in the midst of injustice, in a nation divided between Kwa and Ku, between rich and poor. Democracy can only exist in socialism.
True democracy can exist only in a fair, just and humane social system, a socialist system.
The existence of large numbers of hungry and undernourished people in our country constitutes an affront to all of us. A stable, permanent solution must be found for this serious problem.
Health is an essential right of all human beings and a responsibility of society as a whole. The severity of the health conditions that adversely affect the vast masses of our people is there for all to see, it cannot be hidden or masked.
There’s a crying need to extend health services, train the required personnel and guarantee the essential basic medicines which such conditions demand.
As long as health fails to be considered as a fundamental right of every human being and the duty of the community; as long as the responsibility of the state and of society in regards to health care fails to be recognised; as long as inequalities in the distribution of health resources fail to disappear; as long as poverty, hunger, ignorance and squalor fail to be directly fought against, little will be achieved in improving human health in this country.
So the heart of the problem lies in the measures wish and are able to take at this moment, in the political orientation and the nature of our economic development, and thus, in the resolute attitude of our leaders to struggle for the adoption of fundamental measures to meet the interests of our people.
Comrades, these are the challenges before us!
These are the challenges for which our party was created!
These are the challenges for which the leadership of your party is being constructed!
These are the challenges I am being deployed to confront!
A better Zambia is possible, but we have to collectively struggle for it.
No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.
We ourselves must strive. The leaders only point the way.
We have no alternative. We must continue struggling, with the hope that a better Zambia will become a reality – as it will, if keep on struggling. We shouldn’t resign ourselves to hunger, unemployment, squalor, disease, ignorance, hopelessness, despair. Struggling for a better Zambia means, in part, building it.
But it won’t be easy!
And our desire to solve these problems as soon as possible should not lead us to improvise, especially since we have learned that no isolated measure, no matter how just or effective it seems, can lead to the true, radical solutions we are aiming for.
We shouldn’t deceive ourselves and our people that things are going to be easy. It won’t be easy. No body should think things are going to be easy. We must be prepared to meet difficulties. We have to cope with the objective problems of the situation we find ourselves in, the increasing number of restrictive, stifling, repressive measures our adversaries will take against us.
But whatever the difficulties our members, our party and our leaders will never hire themselves out, sell out or surrender to the forces of evil!
We will confront every difficult and pressure. We will keep on moving ahead, winning new laurels and scoring new victories.
Nothing and nobody can ever stop us!