Latest Posts

Ukraine: Two years of endless deaths

Ukraine: Two years of endless deaths Featured

Today – February 24, 2024 – marks two years since Russian forces entered Ukraine under the “Special Operation”.
But what happened on this day, two years ago, did not mark the beginning of the war in Ukraine. It was not the start of the war in Ukraine. Rather, it was the acceleration of a conflict that dates back to at least 2014. That year, at the behest of the United States, a new government was imposed on Ukraine, aiming to bring the country closer to the European Union. This initiated the sustained persecution of the country’s Russian-speaking population. The conflict moved swiftly, with Crimea de facto becoming part of Russia once again and the Donbass region of Ukraine becoming a frontline in the conflict between Ukrainian far-right nationalists and Russian speakers. In May 2019, Ukrainian President Mr Volodymyr Zelenskyy took office and pledged to end the battle in the Donbass. Instead, due to pressure from NATO, the conflict intensified, eventually leading to the Russian intervention three years later. It is imperative for the people of Ukraine, Russia, and the world that the war be halted and that the issues be transferred from the battlefield to the negotiating table.

The impact of this war is devastating and needs an end. In any conflict, casualty figures become a matter of dispute. However, there is little disagreement that over 500,000 Ukrainian and Russian soldiers have died or been injured in this war, that over six million Ukrainians have fled the country, and that over seven million Ukrainians have been internally displaced (out of a pre-war population of nearly 44 million). If the war is not brought to a halt, tens of thousands more will be killed, and tens of millions more will suffer.

Ukraine’s economy has been devastated, shrinking by 29% in 2022 alone, according to the World Bank. The impact of the war ricocheted across the globe, causing wheat prices to rise by 21% and some fertilisers to rise by 40% within the first month of the conflict. Global South countries were hit particularly hard by sharp increases in food and energy prices in many regions, while the European economy inches towards a recession. In other countries, astronomic amounts of resources have been diverted to the war, which instead could have been used for social and economic spending. The US and Europe have already spent well over $200 billion on the war. In December 2023, the head of the Ukrainian armed forces asked US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin for a further $350–400 billion to pursue ‘victory’.

In reality, no amount of money will lead to a military triumph. It is clear, particularly after the failure of the Ukrainian ‘counter-offensive’, that there has been no significant change in the military situation, nor is there a credible prospect of one. The continued payment of such huge human and economic costs would be purposeless.

To end this conflict, there are a number of issues that need to be resolved:
1) The position of Ukraine regarding military blocs. At the end of the Cold War, Europe had an opportunity to pursue peaceful economic development. A coherent and balanced economy with enormous potential could have been formed by reducing military spending while combining Western Europe’s high value-added manufacturing and service industries with the former Soviet Union’s energy, raw materials, agriculture, and high-technology industries such as space. In East Asia, which overcame a period of even greater Cold War division and conflict (as seen in the Korean and successive Vietnam and Indochina wars), a focus on mutually beneficial economic development and an avoidance of military and political blocs led it to become the world’s most rapidly growing economic region. This is evidenced by the fact that, since 1990, the GDP of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations has grown by more than 400%. However, in Europe, the US insisted that such policies not be followed and that, instead, the region was to expand the NATO military bloc into Eastern Europe, breaking the commitment it had made at the time of German reunification that NATO would not advance ‘one inch eastward’ towards Russia. The US was fully aware that NATO’s expansion would greatly inflame tensions with Russia and across Europe. Of particular sensitivity was the possibility of Ukraine’s entry into NATO, which would bring the nuclear-armed bloc within the immediate striking range of Moscow. Numerous experts on Eastern Europe and Russia strongly and repeatedly advised against such expansion of NATO. Most famously, George Kennan, the original architect of US Cold War policy, predicted in 1997 that, ‘expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-Cold War era’. In December 2021, Russia proposed an agreement that Ukraine would not become a NATO member. In negotiations in March 2022, Ukraine proposed adopting a neutral status in exchange for security guarantees, inspired by NATO’s collective defence clause, which could have involved Poland, Israel, Turkiye, and Canada as guarantors. This was blocked by NATO, directly conveyed by way of an urgent visit from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Ukraine in May 2022, thereby preventing a rapid end of the war.

2) The position of the Russian-speaking minority in the territory of the Ukrainian state (as it was formed in 1991). A 2001 census found that nearly 30% of Ukraine’s population considered Russian to be their native language. States with large linguistic and ethnic minority populations can only maintain their unity if the rights of such minorities are respected. The policies of the Ukrainian government after 2014, which included suppressing the official use of the Russian language in numerous spheres, were therefore bound to lead to an explosive crisis within the Ukrainian state. As the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, which certainly cannot be accused of being pro-Russian, stated: ‘the current Law on National Minorities is far from providing adequate guarantees for the protection of minorities… many other provisions which restrict the use of minority languages have already been in force since 16 July 2019’. There are only two ways to resolve this situation: restoration of the full linguistic and other rights of the Russian-speaking minority within the borders of the old Ukrainian state or the secession of these regions from Ukraine. Which outcome is realised will be a key subject of the negotiations. Nonetheless, it is clear that any attempt to maintain the Russian-speaking minority within the Ukrainian state while continuing to deprive them of their rights will not succeed, nor will any attempt by Russia to impose another state on the Ukrainian-speaking population of western and northern Ukraine.

All efforts to resolve these issues by military means will continue to be futile and will only result in further intense suffering, above all for the Ukrainian people. These realities will become increasingly obvious if the war continues – which is why it must be brought to a halt as rapidly as possible, and negotiations must commence.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party [Zambia]

Corruption: Even their friends have realized they’re stealing big

Corruption: Even their friends have realized they’re stealing big Featured

The Swedish Ambassador to Zambia has joined the many voices that have raised alarm over the rampant cases of corruption in the country.

We are not surprised that even their friends are also coming to the same conclusions that we have drawn, that corruption is high under Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s puppet and tribal UPND regime.

We have said it before, and we are saying it now that these people are stealing big, and they do not have what it takes to wage a genuine fight against corruption.

This UPND government is corrupt to the core; it is reeking with corruption in every pore. It’s rotten from the bottom to the top, or rather from top to bottom. It’s a very corrupt puppet tribal regime, and they are not even as clever and sophisticated as they seem to think. These are shameless gluttons who don’t even care about the people who voted for them.

Mr Hichilema is fully aware that he is leading a rotten government, and the rot starts with him. No wonder people like Mr Stanley Kakubo can have the luxury of resigning from government instead of being fired. Mr Hichilema shielded the disgraced Mr Kakubo from taking a walk of shame because he knows that he is not the only corrupt person in this administration.

To this day, Mr Kakubo has not been arrested and prosecuted for his suspected involvement in corruption, and nothing has been seized from him as proceeds of crime.

When it comes to fighting corruption, Mr Hichilema is paralyzed by the fact that he has no moral right to condemn or even take decisive action against his lieutenants in government because everyone is literally involved in some illegal activity in one way or another.

The endless corruption scandals that have rocked this government are a reminder that the country is in corrupt hands and needs a breather. It is clear that this is a government of the thieves, for the thieves, and by the thieves.

So, how can Mr Hichilema be expected to genuinely fight corruption when there is so much grand corruption and looting surrounding him, and involving him?

We have said before that any meaningful fight against corruption in this country has to start with an investigation of Mr Hichilema’s own dealings in almost every sector of our economy like mining, fuel, fertilizer, insurance, grain imports and exports, property and real estate, construction and manufacturing, among many others.

There is a need to investigate Mr Hichilema. He should be able to answer questions about his dealings. Without doing so, the fight against corruption becomes hypocritical, a facade and meaningless.

Any meaningful fight against corruption must start with an investigation of Mr Hichilema’s business interests.

Mr Musa Mwenye, the chairman of the Anti Corruption Commission and the US ambassador to Zambia, Mr Michael Gonzales, have emphatically demanded that Mr Hichilema declares all his assets. Why?

The day Mr Hichilema is made to fully disclose all his business interests, without being able to conceal anything, will mark the beginning of the end of his presidency and the beginning of his journey to prison. Even Mr Hichilema knows this too well no wonder the resistance.

The amount of systemic corruption and plunder that is being facilitated by State House is terrifying and confirms the sad reality that this presidency is a disaster and a failure!

The truth and the reality currently, is that most of the bribery, embezzlement, illicit enrichment, trading influence and all manner of abuses and white- collar financial and economic crimes that we are witnessing are engineered by State House.

The presidency is the command post of grand corruption and looting of public resources. Under this presidency, procurement procedures and regulations have been totally paralyzed and they are going about their daily business with impunity, and without any oversight or regard for the moral, political and economic effects of their actions. This presidency is the most corrupt in the history of this country, and the presidential aides are the most incompetent, shady, and pathetically dishonest and corrupt.

With the presidency organizing and perpetuating this cancerous culture of corruption, it is wishful thinking to expect this regime to wage a relentless campaign against corruption and succeed.

Crooks of all shapes and sizes have been assembled and unleashed on the people and the state coffers by Mr Hichilema.

This is not a way to govern a country.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Mr Moise Katumbi’s presidential campaign trail

Mr Moise Katumbi’s presidential campaign trail Featured

Mr Moise Katumbi’s presidential campaign in Eastern, Central, Northern and Katanga regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Since the assassination of Patrice Lumumba the DRC has not had a leadership with a real vision for the DRC’s future, the competence and ability to execute the vision, and the character needed to ensure the realisation of the vision with sound judgment, integrity, and equity.

There’s urgent need to break from the DRC’s past patterns of poor leadership and governance. A clear and practical vision for the country’s future must be articulated and implemented. But this requires concerted effort from a new and energised leadership. This type of leadership should come from the Congolese people – both those living in the country and those who are part of its far-flung diaspora.

Sixty three (63) years after gaining its independence from Belgium, the DRC remains plagued by continuing governance challenges, corruption, insecurity, and widespread poverty.

State institutions are generally weak, and efforts to bring lasting peace and security have so far produced mixed results. While the western part of the country enjoys relative calm, violent conflict persists in much of the eastern DRC, perpetrated by armed militias, both domestic and foreign sponsored. Much of the instability and insecurity in the DRC is related to the mismanagement and plunder of the country’s natural resources.

That is why the coming DRC parliamentary and presidential elections in December will amount to nothing if they don’t help improve the quality of the country’s leadership.

And it will take concerted commitment from the Congolese, both inside and outside the DRC to implement and help the country choose the best possible leadership among those contesting the elections. The DRC needs a visionary, competent, and virtuous cadre of individuals who can lift up the rest

of the Congolese population through sound economic development policies and practices, adequate social services, and strong state institutions, leading to the establishment of a peaceful, just, secure, lawful, and orderly society.

We hold a very strong belief that among the contestants for DRC presidency, Mr Moise Chapwe Katumbi stands out. With the very limited possibilities that were there Mr Katumbi was able to bring in many areas of human endeavour, order, sanity, growth and development in Katanga when he served as governor.

We believe that armed with this extraordinary record, if Mr Katumbi wins the elections, he will help stabilise the DRC and give its people an opportunity to build a more just, fair, humane and peaceful country. But he will need the support of all DRC citizens of goodwill and our solidarity as neighbours.

We wish Mr Katumbi and Ensemble pour la Republique (Together for the Republic) victory in the December 20, 2023 polls!

Fred M’membe

Hichilema and his govt’s contradictions on maize

Hichilema and his govt’s contradictions on maize Featured

Listening to what the Minister of Commerce was saying on Diamond TV’s Costa show triggered a thought in my mind. It revealed very serious contradictions about Mr Hakainde Hichilema and his government’s pronouncements on maize.

So the government is saying 95 percent of the maize is produced by peasant farmers, who use either hoe- or ox-driven methods. He also alluded to the high maize price that will motivate farmers to grow more maize.

So one expects that if farmers are going to grow more maize then it follows that they will need more inputs like fertilizer than they did last season. Consequently, one expects that the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), as an example in terms of fertilizers to be used this coming season, will be more than the previous season.

But we have observed that FISP support to farmers is the same as in the previous farming season. So, there are a number of contradictions here.

If we expect more production, we expect increased consumption of inputs and an increased amount of fertilizer to FISP recipients. But the number of FISP recipients has reduced and the fertilizer supply has remained the same, be it six or eight bags. So where will the additional production come from?

Are we expecting new entrants who will provide their own inputs at their own expense? Are we expecting increased participation by commercial farmers while at the same time the government is saying 95 percent of maize production is by peasant farmers? Or we will end up with same or less production and blame it on El Nino as part of the mingalato?

Only time will tell!

Out of interest, we wish to know how much of our total maize production comes from FISP recipients? How much does FISP cost the government? How many hectares of land do FISP recipients use?

By the government answering these questions we will be able to measure the productive efficiency of FISP.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

Hichilema, state house and defenders of gay rights

Hichilema, state house and defenders of gay rights Featured

We would like to counsel Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s newly installed mouthpiece, Mr Cornelius Mweetwa that State House is deeply anchored with gays and defenders, protectors and promoters of gay rights.

We say this as a reminder to Mr Mweetwa and his desperate UPND league, who think they can use us to spit malice and hate in order to talk their way out of the present social, political and economic mess they find themselves in. We know they are desperate and worried about their loss of popularity countrywide but this should not put them on a senseless path of malice and hate towards political competitors like ourselves.

We also know that they’re lost and in disarray because quite frankly, they don’t have solutions to the numerous problems they are currently faced with. Their lies, deception and crookedness have boomeranged and their credibility and acceptability in the eyes of the general populace is at its lowest.

Mr Hichilema and his corrupt puppet regime have been weighed against their own words and actions, and they have been exposed as a bunch of pretentious, dangerous and greedy coward politicians. And they will not solve anything by being malicious, evil and hateful to anyone, especially if those they’re trying to paint black are not anywhere near what they’re alleging them to be. Their sadistic, evil and malicious intentions will not work.

We therefore, find it unacceptable and unwise for Mr Hichilema through his new spokesperson to make reckless and silly insinuations about the issue of LGBTQI and gay rights.

We have stated before and we shall state again that at no time have I as an individual or we collectively as the Socialist Party Zambia supported LGBTQI, gay practices.

And that remains our individual and collective position. That is the position of the great majority of our people, our religious teachings, our cultural practices and of our national laws. The desperation by Mr Hichilema and his panicking minions like Mr Mweetwa to paint me, us black on these issues and sometimes pushing contrary words in our mouths is malicious, mischievous and won’t do.

If Mr Mweetwa thinks he can launch himself in his new designation by replicating discredited scripts from Mr Hichilema’s rogue guerrilla channels – Zambian Watchdog and Koswe – which are managed by the State House media team to spread hate speech and malice then we feel very sorry for him because he will turn out to be ignorant, dishonest and worse than we anticipated.

Of course, we know he is not the finest of brains to execute his new assignment as Mr Hichilema’s lead attack dog but we also didn’t think he will be this worse off and dull than his predecessor.

Nonetheless, if Mr Mweetwa and the UPND really want to know who is dealing with defenders, protectors and promoters of gay rights, they should start with Mr Hichilema’s State House.

This regime and State House in particular’s association with gays and defenders, protectors and promoters of gay rights are not a secret. No wonder, known gay rights ambassadors like Mr Tony Blair – the former British Prime Minister, are frequenting Zambia today like it’s their backyard.

On September 29, 2021, Mr Hichilema hosted Mr Blair at State House. Mr Hichilema held talks with Mr Blair on the possible collaboration between Zambia and the Tony Blair Institute for global change.

Mr Hichilema said the institute is doing commendable work and hopes it can assist Zambia.

Mr Blair said his institute stands ready to help the new dawn administration.

Mr Blair has been recognised as one of the top gay icons of the past three decades, along with figures such as Boy George, Sir Ian McKellen and Barbra Streisand. In fact, Gay Times said Blair’s status as an ambassador of gay rights was undeniable.

Mr Blair, as British prime minister, introduced laws recognising trans people, civil partnerships, banned employers from sacking employees because of who they love and made homophobia a hate crime. And just last week, Mr Blair was back in Zambia, hosted and celebrated by Mr Hichilema and his team.

Mr Joe Biden, on May 4, 2012 told NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ anchor David Gregory: ‘I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. Who do you love? And will you be loyal to the person you love? And that’s what people are finding out is what all marriages, at their root, are about, whether they’re marriages of lesbians or gay men or heterosexuals.’

This is the President of United States today, the current occupant of the White House. And early in his presidency Mr Hichilema was a guest at the White House – something they were very proud of, were boasting about!

On June 23, 2023, Mr Hichilema visited European Union Parliament in Brussels and addressed it. Gay rights in the European Union are protected under the European Union’s (EU) treaties and law. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in all EU states and discrimination in employment has been banned since 2000.

The Treaty on European Union, in its last version as updated by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007 and in force as of 2009, makes the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union legally binding for the member state of the European Union and the European Union itself. In turn, Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union includes an anti-discrimination provision that states that ‘any discrimination based on any ground such as […] sexual orientation shall be prohibited.’

Furthermore, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides in Articles 10 that the European Union has a positive duty to combat discrimination (among other things) on the grounds of sexual orientation and provides in Article 19 ways for the Council and the European Parliament to actively propose pass legislation to do so. These provisions were enacted by the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1999.

In June 2010, the Council of the European Union adopted a non-binding toolkit to promote LGBT people’s human rights. In June 2013, the Council upgraded it to binding LGBTI Guidelines instructing EU diplomats around the world to defend the human rights of LGBTI people.

And for the first time in this country and under Mr Hichilema’s presidency, in May 2022, we saw some EU embassies flying gay pride flags in support and commitment to gay rights on Zambian soil.

Then also the UPND is a member of the African Liberal Network (ALN), which also is a member of the Liberal International (LI). And LI Human Rights Committee Bulletin 4th Edition – LGBTI Rights states:

“In the year since Liberal International launched its Human Rights Bulletin, the final edition of the publication for 2015 – which has attracted contributions from senior ministers, UN diplomats, and prominent activists – has been released, with a focus in this edition on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights.

Contributors from Africa, Asia, and Latin America have written and been interviewed about their experiences in fighting for a cause at the heart of all liberals – equality. In this fourth edition of the Bulletin, politicians, activists, and advisors offered insights and practical advice for overcoming the challenges of standing up for minority groups in countries and across continents.

Writing about the landmark human rights manifesto for Africa, adopted in 2014 by member parties of LI cooperating organisation, Africa Liberal Network (ALN), ALN vice-president Rosemary Machua, of the Kenyan liberals, ODM (LI member), emphasised the importance of having a ‘human rights framework for Africa, by Africans’. The fact that sexual orientation is included in the Declaration is a tremendous achievement for African liberals. It firmly entrenches our view that LGBTI rights are important, recognized, and above all that they are human rights, added Mrs. Machua.

These are views from the organisations to which the UPND belongs.

Further, before going on a rampage spilling senseless malice and hate towards innocent citizens, let Mr Mweetwa ask himself why the Church and other critical voices rose in unison just a few weeks ago to reject the appointment of Mr Jean Mafart, an openly gay man whose male husband is a convicted drug trafficker, as French Ambassador accredited to Zambia.

For the first time in history, a foreign government decided to send an individual to Zambia whose own lifestyle was against our laws, customs and culture. The reason why all this is happening now is simple, Mr Hichilema’s friends and corroborators in Europe and the US know that this regime is receptive and supportive of gay rights and activities.

So before pointing an accusing finger at innocent citizens, Mr Mweetwa must know that this regime is regarded to be not sincere enough to protect our Christian values and traditions as a country. The Zambian people are aware of the UPND’s hidden agenda, identity and ideological beliefs. And they will not look any better or become believable by scandalizing us.

Let Mr Hichilema and Mr Mweetwa address his government’s proven links with LGBTQI networks and people like Mr Blair and Mr Biden before being malicious and dishonest in their failed attempts to defend this corrupt, divisive and untrustworthy government.

We reiterate that if Mr Mweetwa wants to know who is dealing with gays and defenders, protectors and promoters of gay rights, State House will be a good starting point because they’re there and working with them.

This is the problem with malice, it boomerangs. And whoever digs a pit of inequity, will definitely fall in it.

And when it comes to allegations of being involved in gay activities, at least two names constantly come up from State House. Again, we emphasize that if the UPND really want to know who is involved with gay activities and issues in this country they should start with themselves as a party and State House.

On that basis, we throw back the challenge to Mr Mweetwa that if there is a party that needs to come out clean over its dealings with gays and defenders, protectors and promotors of gay rights, it’s the UPND and State House, not us.

In fact, if they are denying this fact, I offer myself for a public debate on national television with Mr Hichilema and Mr Mweetwa combined together. Let them come and I will expose their links and dark dealings on gay issues.

So that we can put to rest this disgraceful propaganda emanating from a discredited and highly corrupt regime.

I will be waiting for their favourable response so that we take this discourse to its highest and final level and rest it there.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

Response to minister of information and government spokesperson’s media briefing of Friday 6th October 2023

Response to minister of information and government spokesperson’s media briefing of Friday 6th October 2023 Featured

We are disappointed with Minister of Information and Government Spokesman Cornelius Mweetwa’s response to the Opposition Political Parties Open Letter to the Republican President.

We expected that the open letter, raising some very serious national issues of concern, would receive an equally sober response.

Instead, we see the Minister of Information veer off into ranting and attacking the persons of individual Opposition Party Presidents.

The response by the Honourable Minister falls far short of the decorum expected of his office. The matters raised by the Opposition leaders are not partisan, but rather, are national in nature and hence deserve to be treated with sobriety. When we engage the Republican President as we have done, we are not speaking for ourselves, but rather, speaking on behalf of the many Zambians that we represent.

We ought to be understood that no machinations at trying to divide us shall work. We stand together as Opposition Political Parties, not as an alliance nor a consortium as the minister has put it, but as individual Political Parties who the Zambians are reaching out to with their grievances.

Having said that, there are some points to note:

1. Our letter, as Opposition Political Parties, was calling for a National Indaba and not a meeting to be held between the Republican President and the Opposition. However, should the Republican President prefer to meet with us, as opposed to the National Indaba, then kindly indicate so.

2. Contrary to the assertion by the Minister of Information, the President has not made any prior effort to meet with us as Opposition Political Parties. We do understand the UPND’s penchant of being economic with the truth.

3. We have previously formally written to the Republican President on matters relating to the nation, as individual Political Parties. None of us have ever received a response to those letters – not even acknowledgments of receipt of the same. We are therefore requesting for a formal and befitting response from the office that our letter was addressed to.

On behalf of many Zambians, we await the formal response from the Republican President.

We remain in service to the Zambian people.

All People’s Congress Party (APC)

CITIZENS FIRST (CF)

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)

Economic Front (EF)

Golden Party Zambia (GPZ)

National Democratic Congress (NDC)

New Heritage Party (NHP)

Patriots for Economic Progress (PEP)

Patriotic Front (PF)

Socialist Party (SP)

Zambia Must Prosper (ZMP)

Hichilema’s govt and the gay rights agenda

Hichilema’s govt and the gay rights agenda Featured

While we wait for Mr Hakainde Hichilema to respond to our challenge for a public debate on national television regarding the UPND administration and State House’s involvement with gays and defenders, protectors and promoters of gay rights, we would like to ask the following questions:

(1) What role is the National HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Council (NAC) playing in promoting the LGBTQ agenda?

(2) Didn’t NAC launch an LGBTQ programme and workshops for peer educators held with some facilitators being gay persons?

(3) Didn’t the NAC in collaboration with selected government hospitals and clinics, dealing with those in charge of clinics and hired counselors conduct workshops, which were aimed at sending crews to identify members of the LGBTQ community?

(4) Were they not using the term Key Population in place of LGBTQ in the programme?

(5) Is it not true that this administration has established a position of Technical Director in charge of Key and Vulnerable Populations and the position is funded by USAID/PEPFAR Fund?

(6) Is this the reason why for the first time in this country and under Mr Hichilema’s presidency, in May 2022, EU embassies hoisted gay pride flags in support and commitment to gay rights on Zambian soil?

(7) Could this also be reason why the French government sent a Mr Jean Mafart, an openly gay man whose male husband is a convicted drug trafficker, as French Ambassador accredited to Zambia?

(😎 What is Mr Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister and renowned gay rights Ambassador frequenting Zambia for?

For those of our people who may not know, Key Populations include populations that live in poverty and squalor without access to necessities such as safe housing, water, sanitation and nutrition.

As indicated above the term also include persons such as sex workers, gay men and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, people who inject drugs, and people in prisons and other enclosed settings.

In the meantime, we wait for Mr Hichilema and his newly installed mouthpiece, vuvuzela Mr Cornelius Mweetwa to answer the questions raised above.

We desire to take this discourse to its highest and final level and rest it there to curb the senseless path of malice and hate.

So a favourable response to our challenge to a public debate on national television with Mr Hichilema and Mr Mweetwa combined together will be a great opportunity for all of us to deal with these issues openly, truthfully and without innuendo.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

CDF has not worked – JCTR

CDF has not worked – JCTR Featured

Increasing CDF allocations not an end in itself

Allocation to the Constituency Development Fund has continued to increase in the consecutive National Budgets in 2022 and 2023.

In the 2024 National Budget the government proposes to increase further the allocation to K30,600 million per constituency.

The idea of allocating resources to the

communities is beyond reproach. The enhanced CDF (in both amounts and scope) has a potential of bringing about a huge economic transformation at the community level. However, in order for the enhanced CDF to achieve its intended objectives, the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) would like to bring to the nation’s attention a number of challenges that must be addressed as a matter of urgency.

The implementation of the enhanced CDF continues to face a number of challenges

including the following:

1. Lack of transparency in the implementation of Zambia where community participation in

public bid opening for contractors has been extremely low.

2. Low accountability in the implementation of CDF in Zambia as there has been low information sharing, especially monitoring reports.

3. Low community participation in CDF, where many do not participate in selecting community

projects.

4. Low burn rates of CDF among constituencies, where these resources are still in the accounts of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (as of 2023, we are at 7 million disbursement of CDF 2023 allocations per constituency).

5. Weak CDF architecture to ensure CDF reaches the intended beneficiaries.

6. Numerous executive directives on the utilization of CDF resources, thereby, compromising community participation in CDF.

7. Weak mechanisms to monitor the database of the beneficiaries double dipping from CDF by belonging to multiple cooperatives and applying to numerous constituencies.

8. Political influence in the implementation of CDF, where CDF has been used as a campaign tool for politicians.

9. Capacity concerns at the Local Authority level (Limited number of staffs).

10. Poor management of cooperatives after receiving grants (cooperatives disbanding after receiving resources).

11. Lack of comprehensive audit to establish the value for money on all CDF resources.

The JCTR is seriously concerned with increasing the CDF allocation without first addressing the above highlighted challenges which evidently are impeding transparency, accountability and community participation in the implementation of CDF.

Without addressing these challenges, CDF will continueto be hijacked by politicians. This will derail CDF from achieving the intended goal of alleviating poverty and improving the living standards and conditions of people in Zambia.

The JCTR, therefore, recommends that for the enhanced CDF to meet its desired goal, the following must be considered:

1. Relocate the management and implementation of skills development and bursaries scope from the Local Authority to the Ministry of Education at the district levels. This is because the ministry has more capacities to implement this scope than the Local Authorities.

2. Relocate the management and implementation of empowerment (loans and grants) from the Local Authorities to the Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises Development at the district levels.

This is because the ministry has more capacities to manage loans and grants as witnessed with other initiatives like the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission loans.

3. Leave the Local Authorities to manage the community project scope. This is because they have more capacities and knowledge on the Integrated District Plans (IDPs). This will boost implementation of CDF in contributing to the 8th NDP.

4. Invest in the development of an integrated monitoring and evaluation system that captures data of all the CDF related projects across all the constituencies in the country.

5. Set up a platform that encourages inter-constituency collaboration in the implementation of some projects such as purchasing and servicing of road construction equipment as well as encouraging cross-learning of good practices amongst the constituencies.

6. Undertake a comprehensive audit to establish value for money on all CDF resources allocated

thus far.

We are not bitter: We fully understand the dangerous consequences of bitterness

We are not bitter: We fully understand the dangerous consequences of bitterness Featured

We can’t afford to be bitter because we fully understand the dangerous consequences of bitterness. Bitterness is tantamount to self-destruction. And because of this we fear bitterness and run away from it. Nothing we say or do is propelled or fueled by bitterness.

The book of Hebrews warns us about allowing bitterness to take root. “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” (Hebrews 12:15)

We can be bitter while claiming, “I’m not bitter! How could you say that?” We can tell ourselves we have forgiven someone while still allowing resentment to fester and build. Allowing bitterness to remain in your life will plunge you further and further away from the liberty and freedom of Christ. It will harden, break, and destroy the good in your life. Bitterness erodes optimism, shatters joy, and kills our ability to love others well. A bitter person goes through life with a heart that does not fully function. They live in a land of spiritual poverty while those around them drown.

It’s not good to be bitter. No one has to be bitter! Jesus Christ offers the power to stop bitterness before it starts and heal wounded hearts no matter how great the offence. Forgiveness is the key. Part of Jesus’s coming into the world was to “destroy the works of the devil”, (see 1 John 3:8b). Bitterness is a work of our flesh that the devil loves to exploit. Jesus came so that we could be truly free.

And bitterness has very serious physical consequences. It adversely alters the chemical balance in our bodies; ulcerative colitis, toxic goiters, and high blood pressure, are only a few of the scores of diseases caused by bitterness. Our resentments call forth certain hormones from the pituitary, adrenal, thyroid, and other glands. Excesses of these hormones can cause diseases in any part of the body.

Bitterness can also adversely affect our facial features. Refusing to forgive, results in physical fatigue and loss of sleep. We may try to hide our resentments, but soon they will also be etched into our eyes and facial muscles as permanent reflections of our inward feelings.

Bitterness is known to affect bone health; the life of the flesh is in the blood, (Leviticus 17:11). But the “factory” for the blood is the marrow of our bones. The health of our bones, therefore, determines the health of our body. Bitterness has a direct and devastating effect upon our bones. (Psalm 32:3; Proverbs 15:30; Proverbs 17:22; Proverbs 14:30; Proverbs 12:4; Ezekiel 32:27)

An inability to love God is the immediate result of hating another person. “If a man says, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.” (I John 4:20, 21)

Doubts regarding our relationship with God commonly accompany bitterness. This is quite natural since most of us have prayed the Lord’s Prayer in which we pray, “And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)

Hence, if we refuse to forgive other people, we are actually asking God not to forgive us. The significance of this point is emphasised by Jesus Christ, “For if you will forgive men their offences, your heavenly Father will forgive you also your offences. But if you will not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive you your offences.” (Matthew 6:14, 15)

Major hindrances to the spiritual development of others may result when we refuse to forgive, especially if we claim to be in a right fellowship with God. Our attitudes of bitterness will repel them from whatever it is that we are trying to convince them of. If we are to allow Christ to live in us we must allow Him to forgive through us.

And depression is one of the most significant consequences of refusing to forgive the people who wrong us. It requires a lot of emotional energy to maintain a grudge. Just as we become weary when our physical energy is exhausted, so we become depressed when our emotional energy is exhausted.

Bitterness and resentment create an “emotional focus” toward the person who offended us. This focus is the chief cause of becoming just like the one we resent. The more we focus on his or her actions toward us, the more we resemble the basic attitudes that prompted their actions.

The moment you start hating someone, you become his or her slave. You can’t enjoy your work any more because he or she controls your thoughts. Your resentments produce too many stress hormones in your body, and you become fatigued after only a few hours of work. The work you formerly enjoyed is now drudgery. You can’t escape his or her tyrannical grasp on your mind. It is for this reason that Solomon wrote, “It is better to be invited to herbs with love, than to a fatted calf with hatred.” (Proverbs 15:17)

Bitterness is all too easily passed on from one generation to another, thus affecting hundreds of descendants. The sins of the parents are visited to the third and fourth generations of those who hold hatred in their heart. (Deuteronomy 5:9)

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

Hichilema and his paranoid clique

Hichilema and his paranoid clique Featured

The video circulating online showing Mr Mtolo Phiri, the Minister of Agriculture, issuing reckless threats over the FISP programme is most unfortunate and dangerous.

In the video, Mr Phiri is seen urging people to report anyone heard talking about the FISP programme in unfavourable terms to the police so that such people could get arrested.

But why must people be threatened with arrests by the government when they have a right to protest or complain against the authorities over the many issues causing them untold suffering and hardship? Why should government accuse citizens of attempting to “bring war” as Mr Phiri puts it, for merely debating or discussing an agricultural programme?

Why is it that threats of arrests, detention, treason, sedition and so on and so forth, has become the best defence for Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s government whenever it’s challenged or called to be accountable for its policies and actions?

Clearly, this corrupt puppet regime, which is headed by Mr Hichilema, does not want to be held accountable for its failures, crimes and abuses in the way they’re running the country. They want to have a free reign to do what they want and to have their own interests safeguarded without any distractions. They’re allergic to health political discourse and contestation of ideas for the benefit of our country and it’s people.

Going by their record so far, Mr Hichilema and his league have no intention whatsoever to change their minds about the wrong policies and notions they hold about the country, it’s people and it’s future. It’s evident that these are not true liberal democrats. They’re just quacks and ignorant democrats who wrongly believe that they have a moral responsibility to do what is necessary and best for themselves in order to perpetuate their greedy political agenda, even if it means going against the law and the Constitution. Theirs is an agenda to satisfy themselves first and foremost, and then the people and the country later through a little bit of trickle down approaches. They’re pretentious gluttons who are not even fully aware of the extent and consequences of the problems they’re creating, the unnecessary difficulties they are our people, especially the poor, through.

However, we are glad that the pretense or claim of being liberal democrats to the core is rapidly peeling away off. As evidenced by the constant threats of interrogation, arrest and detention by the police, they keep making each time their ideas or policies are challenged.

This regime has shown that whenever Mr Hichilema and his league are roasted for their own lies, deceit and lack of delivery; the police and prison cells are the best response they are able to provide. They have created a culture of hiding their inefficiencies in the abuse of the police. It’s obvious that they’re not people who fully grasp political debate or are willing to exchange ideas and later on find solutions to problems currently facing the country.

And we are getting more and more convinced each day that if they’re not careful, this regime will soon become a killing machine. What is even more dangerous about them is their reckless disregard for the law and the haste to make clowns of themselves through the unprecedented and predictable abuse of law enforcement, especially the police. They have weaponised the police in order to silence critical voices. They have literally criminalised dissent so that they’re not scrutinised or challenged.

They have anchored their political survival and influence on the abuse of the police and other law enforcement agencies. No wonder they’re not ashamed to use the police in prescribing the most unreasonable and ridiculous charges against the critics they don’t like. Their goal is to silence the critics through brutality, vindictiveness and pettiness.

But it will backfire badly in the end, especially if they don’t grasp the reality that power has limits too. Mr Hichilema and his league must realise that there has never been a regime in history that remained afloat through heavy reliance on the abuse of the police and the criminal justice system. People have always resisted these kinds of abuses in the long run and have always voted against such leadership.

It’s important for Mr Hichilema to know that as long as we don’t know where the country is heading and our people’s livelihood continue to deteriorate owing to their puppet and pro imperialist policies, we shall not keep quiet about the situation.

We understand the panic and fear in them. We also understand the pressure and confusion that is raging in this regime as it continues to push its disastrous policies but we urge them to be careful in the manner they are taking advantage of state systems and institutions.

Otherwise, they may go down in history as the worst government to have ruled this country. This is a possibility they are faced with today. The decision is theirs to take and we are not afraid of them. And we remind them: the exercise of power must be a constant practice of self limitation and modesty.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

They have openly declared us their enemies

They have openly declared us their enemies Featured

Minister of Justice Mulambo Haimbe has openly declared the Socialist Party and the PF as their enemies.

What does this mean? What does being their enemy entail? Why are we their enemies?

We thought we were simply competitors in what is supposed to be a competition to serve our people and the country, and not enemies who should be crushed, annihilated or utterly destroyed.

But Mr Haimbe’s declaration explains why we are treated the way we are being treated. It explains why lately, immigration officers at KKIA have had to seek permission from higher authorities to clear me to proceed to board the aircraft and fly out each time I’m traveling. Indeed, only enemies can be treated this way.

If any one had doubts, Mr Haimbe has plainly and truthfully explained why we are being given the treatment that is only fit for enemies – because we are enemies.

In fact, as we get closer to their departure from office in 2026, we expect worse treatment from them than we are currently receiving.

They’re stuck. They’re confused. They’re desperate. And anybody who calls them out on their lies, deceit and failures is considered an enemy deserving all manner of intimidation and threats that they are capable of silencing or locking up anyone that does not comply or agree with them.

Clearly, they don’t like us; they hate us and are ready to harm us. What type of democrats are these? What type of Christians are these? Because Jesus doesn’t allow us to be that way. In fact, He said we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Mt 5:44).

For us, we shall continue our struggle against poverty, injustice and inequality with love, compassion, respect and patriotism.

Mr Hichilema, Mr Haimbe and the UPND will never be our enemies. They shall remain our competitors until they’re defeated because we have a conscience and we look at things differently from the way they do. Zambia is bigger than all of us and there is absolutely no reason for political contestation to turn into enmity.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

Only Socialism can help us eradicate extreme poverty

Only Socialism can help us eradicate extreme poverty Featured

Mr Hakainde Hichilema is leading a huge delegation to China. Let them see and understand what socialism with Chinese characteristics has achieved in all areas of human endeavour for the Chinese people and all humanity.

Today in most of our poor countries poverty looks intractable – impossible to end.

In our time it is only China that has truly managed to eradicate extreme poverty. And it is important to try to understand how and why China managed to achieve it.

As Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research aptly put it,

China’s achievement “is neither a miracle nor a coincidence, but rather a testament to its socialist commitment”.

It is a result of the socialist work that has gone on in the country since 1949. It is a product of the work of the Communist Party of China’s targeted poverty alleviation campaign that took place under President Xi Jinping, which included the participation of 800,000 cadres in surveys carried out in 2014, the dispatching of three million cadres who went to live in poor villages for at least two years, and the 1,800 cadres who died during the fight against poverty.

This enormous transformation, led by the CPC, re-established the party’s moral authority and brought the issue of socialism and social justice to the centre of Chinese poverty eradication discussions. It drew from the campaign-style governance of the Mao Zedong era.

The programme created a new rural infrastructure to eradicate extreme poverty that included raising to a very high level the participation of villagers in public affairs through their village committees.

Clearly, it is the principle of socialism and the socialist infrastructure – especially the CPC – that enabled China to eradicate extreme poverty. It will therefore be very difficult for the Chinese path to extreme poverty eradication to be seen as a model to be adopted by other countries unless these countries also ground their programmes on a socialist footing.

Extreme poverty in China was not eradicated by cash transfer schemes, it was eradicated by a socialist commitment to take ideas, such as dignity, and realise them in the world. It is socialism and only socialism that can help us eradicate extreme poverty.

We therefore urge Mr Hichilema to take advantage of this state visit and learn more about socialism so that he can understand us better and what our cause is all about.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

The DPP is shielding the careless, rabble-rousing Inspector General of Police from prosecution

The DPP is shielding the careless, rabble-rousing Inspector General of Police from prosecution Featured

As we have repeatedly pointed out, it is a well-known fact that throughout history, those who administer or control the criminal justice system hold the power with the potential for abuse and tyranny.

Since all criminal prosecutions can only be carried out by them or with their consent, they choose who to prosecute or to exempt from prosecution. Their cadres, supporters, and all members of their league get away with many crimes.

Therefore, the exercise of power must be a constant practice of self-limitation and modesty.

Director of Public Prosecutions’ Mr Gilbert Phiri’s decision to reject our application to conduct prosecution in the matter involving the Inspector General of Police Mr Graphel Musamba is most unfortunate and an abuse of the judicial process.

Yesterday, September 11, the DPP wrote to us citing public interest considerations as the reason to deny our request to prosecute Mr Musamba.

This decision by Mr Phiri exposes inherent bias, not only of the DPP, but that of the Attorney General as well and their allegiance towards the UPND government and those it subsequently appoints to serve in public offices, like Mr Musamba.

The closeness of the DPP and the Attorney General to the UPND is not in dispute.

Public interest considerations are a product of a request by the Attorney General to the DPP.

In broader terms, what they are seeking is to protect both Mr Musamba and the Commander- in- Chief, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, who is the DPP’s former client by the way, from potential embarrassment after the Inspector General of Police’s misconduct.

Without a doubt, this decision is a calculated attempt meant to act as a “political shield” against the potentially embarrassing circumstances that Mr Musamba has found himself in.

We note that Mr Phiri’s reasoning is carefully couched in broad and undefined terms like “public interest”, which when carefully looked at may amount to nothing but serving political interests.

They are not saying that we have no good complaint against Mr Musamba. They are simply saying that in the “public interest” it will not be good for Mr Musamba to be prosecuted. But is it really in the “public interest” for Mr Musamba to criminally defame citizens with impunity? Isn’t this placing themselves above the reach of the law?

At the same time, the DPP is, without reservations or public interest considerations, prosecuting all those who are believed to have defamed members of their league.

We are being prosecuted for defaming Deputy Inspector General of Police In-Charge of Operations Mr Milner Muyambango, but we cannot be allowed to prosecute the IG for defaming us? Is there fairness, justice in this?

Ms Saboi Imboela is being prosecuted by the DPP for defaming a State House assistant, Mr Clayson Hamasaka. Mr Munir Zulu is being prosecuted by the DPP for defaming some ministers.

This is how they are abusing their administration of the criminal justice system.

What are our options?

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

Hichilema must address the cost ot living before it’s too late

Hichilema must address the cost ot living before it’s too late Featured

We welcome the bold, confident and honest observation from the Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) on the cries of the general public regarding the continued increase in the cost of living in the country.

Last week, CCZ General Secretary Fr Joseph Chikoya issued a statement in which he said, among other things, that the 15 percent price increase of fuel will adversely affect the most vulnerable, especially low-income citizens, who are already grappling with the high cost of essential commodities, such as mealie meal, cooking oil and increased transport costs.

Fr Chikoya called for urgent interventions to be made to help cushion the lives of the most vulnerable Zambians by providing policy directions that will see a more manageable cost of living. He further noted that the cries of the general public were genuine and deserved the government’s urgent attention.

We agree with the Council of Churches in Zambia’s reflections on the prevailing hardship in the country, and we are deeply concerned about the impact of the cost of living, particularly on families and communities. The rapidly increasing price of essential commodities and services is causing severe challenges for our people.

They are already poorly paid and this, coupled with the unstable and ever escalating price of essential commodities and services, is melting their incomes at a very fast rate. In essence, the poor and vulnerable, who are the majority of our population, are suffering a double punishment from Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s corrupt puppet regime’s directionless and anti-poor policies.

Many of our people today are struggling to meet the rising cost of literally everything, especially mealie meal. There is no doubt that the increase in the cost of living is also having a huge impact on consumption patterns. And this situation is negatively affecting most families. It is making once decent families resort to formulating desperate coping strategies to make ends meet that in the long run ends up destroying them irretrievably.

The social crisis that many families in Zambia face today owing to the rapidly increasing and unbearable cost of living is; firstly, taking away their dignity and self-respect. And secondly, the unbearable cost of living and inability to provide is affecting the mental wellbeing of most family providers, which in extreme cases can lead to depression or death. It is becoming clearer each day that many families in our communities are unable to handle or deal with the continuing economic shock.

What is even more saddening, is that the interventions or efforts to address this desperate situation from Mr Hichilema and his corrupt puppet regime are highly disproportionate.

Instead of being desperate and in panic mode by holding staged public meetings in the urban constituencies of Lusaka, we advise Mr Hichilema to come up with workable interventions that will immediately assist the vulnerable to keep pace with the rapidly increasing cost of living. Additional rhetoric, lies, and promises of an egg, a potato, and so on – like he did at one of the public meetings last week – will not sort out the hunger and anger prevailing in most homes countrywide.

Let Mr Hichilema know that these low-level, pickpocket tricks he is attempting to fool our people with will not only backfire but will also fail to close the yawning gap of poverty and squalor that is increasing on a daily basis.

We therefore call for urgent action to help the suffering majority of this country before things get out of hand.

One bad term doesn’t deserve another, aleya!

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

State House and corrupt fertilizer tenders

State House and corrupt fertilizer tenders Featured

There are very serious issues being raised about the fertiliser supply tenders that Mr Hichilema needs to explain.

And these concerns are not baseless. There’s what may be described as corruption as well as a serious lack of transparency and fairness in the awarding of these tenders:

Best Med (Copperbelt Province) price US$11,873,548.68

Agrizam (Eastern Province) price US$24,191,422.05

Alpha (Luapula Province) price US$8,324,998.80

ETG (Muchinga Province) price US$8,570,290.77

Growmax (North Western Province) price US$8,510,253.58

Growmax (Western Province) price US$4,662,547.12

Greenfield (Northern Province) price US$12,328,701.00

Kovenant (Southern Province) price US$22,197,543.75

Direct bidding will cost the Treasury about US$7,790,616.27 more than was offered in the two cancelled tenders. This is money that could have been used to buy medicines for hospitals, pay local government workers, and so on.

How does Mr Hichilema justify this? How does he explain it? What label should be given to it if not corruption?

Ever since UPND took office, the procurement of fertiliser has been scandalously expensive and has become increasingly difficult to conclude in a fair and transparent manner.

The process has been carried out in a way that favours some of Mr Hichilema’s friends and close associates in the industry while discriminating against other players in the sector.

In fact, these dirty and unethical schemes in the procurement of fertiliser are being carried out on the direct orders of certain identifiable advisors in the presidential advisory team at State House. We are aware of these practices and the corrupt links between some presidential advisors and the entities that are being awarded the tenders. It is clear that this is a State House dirty job.

Things can’t continue this way. Let Mr Hichilema come clean on this matter and stop blaming those before him for the same corrupt practices he is tolerating in his own government.

This regime should be ashamed and embarrassed by the corrupt manner in which it has handled the fertiliser procurement process since it took over power.

Fred M’membe

How Hichilema has given away Zambia’s crown in mining for nothing

How Hichilema has given away Zambia’s crown in mining for nothing Featured

Yesterday, Mr Hakainde Hichilema officially gave KCM back to Vedanta, a company whose owner mocked all of us Zambians for selling him our crown jewel of the Zambian mines for nothing.

His actions were particularly painful given that KCM retrenched thousands of workers, withdrew ZCCM social benefits for workers, introduced precarious subcontracting, refused to pay taxes and irresponsibly polluted the rivers on which the poor people of Chingola depend for drinking water and agriculture.

Vedanta’s human rights and environmental record is also a matter of great concern and a subject of global protests. This is the company that Mr Hichilema has given the company back to.

We agree that the liquidation process by the PF was flawed. However, it was justified given the behaviour of the company. Vedanta had a legal right to the company, but lost the social licence. The government should have leveraged this advantage to negotiate for more shares in KCM and the departure of Vedanta. This has not happened and will not happen.

However, this is unsurprising. On August 7 at Parklands Secondary School in Kitwe, Edgar Lungu accused Mr Hichilema of receiving bribes from Vedanta to support his campaigns, and of promising to give KCM back to Vedanta. Soon after forming the government, Mr Hichilema withdrew the matter from the courts and made endless promises about how and when they would announce the way forward.

Aware of the resistance from the public, opposition leaders and experts in mining studies, Mr Hichilema delayed the handover ceremony in the name of protracted negotiations. In reality, I would argue, there were no protracted negotiations but a strategic delay, as some experts have argued, to create enough hopelessness, anxiety, and uncertainty while presenting Vedanta as the only alternative.

Realising the arrogance of Mr Hichilema, the unions that forcefully supported KCM liquidation under the PF, gave in to Vedanta’s promises and began campaigning for Vedanta’s return. The question was no longer about the bad things that KCM under Vedanta did, but when the government would hand over the company to Vedanta. Some churches and youths amplified these calls on various radio platforms, including organised protests that were warmly welcomed by Mr Hichilema and the state-owned media at the expense of the anti-Vedanta protestors.

All this culminated in what we witnessed yesterday, the handover of KCM to Vedanta. This is a reckless and highly irresponsible decision. We cannot handle a company that in 2000 had estimated reserves of 280 million MT at Konkola, with an estimated productive lifespan of over 50 years, and in excess of over 53.9 million MT reserves at Nchanga Mine. With these kinds of resources, we do not need to postpone our debt to the future generation through debt restructuring.

Today, Vedanta is promising: US$1 billion investment in KCM development, US$250 million payment to all local creditors, US$20 million investment into the local community (CSR) every year through a special purpose vehicle¬ – a community trust, 20 percent increase in salaries for employees, and a one-off K2,500 payment to all employees.

Why now, after Vedanta failed to fulfil its commitment to inject US$397 million into KCM as FDI, but instead went on to use all the funds it generated within KCM towards capital projects, depriving the company of the necessary funds for operations and maintenance? This is the same company that bragged about making an easy profit of US$500 million each year from KCM, the mine purchased for a mere US$25 million while declaring losses every year, and refusing to pay taxes.

This is the same company that concentrated on the surface plant concentrator to process seven million tons of ore per annum it did not produce but purchased from other countries, effectively changing the philosophy of the business entirely from “mining” into a “treatment facility”. This is the same company that changed the design of the mine by positioning the shaft in the wrong place.

But that’s not all. This is the same company that led KCM into high indebtedness and the threat of insolvency. The total liability of the company as of 30 September 2013, stood at US$1.567 billion, exceeding its current assets by US$123 million. It was also under the threat of receivership from Standard Bank for defaulting on its US$700 million loan. Unconcerned, in September 2011, Vedanta prematurely recalled the US$500 million loan it had given to KCM earlier, which was supposed to have been repaid in 2012.

This is the same company that frustrated the government’s Business Improvement Plan (BIP) to increase production from 132,318 tonnes of finished copper in 2013, to 178,994 tonnes by 2017, resulting in a further decline in production to 86,585 tonnes.

Today, this is the company that Mr Hichilema has given back the crown jewel of our mines to amidst an escalating high cost of living. This has happened at a time when the promised price reduction of mealie-meal from ZMK150 to ZMK50 has culminated in more than ZMK300 per 25 kg bag; fertiliser, fuel, and so on.

We are saddened by this reckless decision and we want Zambians to ask Mr Hichilema the following simple questions:

• Whose interests are you serving?

• To what extent can you argue that Mr Lungu was wrong?

• Why have the so-called negotiations been silent when you promised transparency?

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

Hichilema’s reckless and desperate ‘coup plot’ talk

Hichilema’s reckless and desperate ‘coup plot’ talk Featured

The talk of a “coup plot” by Mr Hakainde Hichilema and some of his hungry surrogates is nothing but wild, irresponsible and reckless rhetoric.

Before we delve deeper into the details of this cheap plan, here is the context of the scheme.

So upon returning from Harare, Zimbabwe, with a bloodied nose and shame on his head, Mr Nevers Mumba was on national television to defend his disastrous SADC Election Observation Mission report, but also as part of the scheme he made some outrageous and illogical claim that politicians who were labelling Mr Hichilema as a Western puppet were instigating a military coup in Zambia.

What a dishonest, manipulative and reckless statement from a person who is supposed to espouse true Christian beliefs and values. What cheap sophistry, hypocrisy and ignorance of global affairs is this?

Soon, after this highly reckless and inflammatory talk by Mr Mumba, yesterday Mr Hichilema echoed these sentiments.

Mr Hichilema said and I quote, “However, to colleagues that think we are timid by being kind and that they can break the laws and entertain thoughts of illegal take-over of government, including undemocratic coup d’état, our only word is that we are coming for you and we will not allow you to make Zambians start running around as is the case in some places.”

From the above scenario, we can see the connivance and deliberate plot to do evil and get rid of dissent by punishing opposition leaders on trumped-up charges. The pattern is clear for anybody to follow. But they’re not clever enough to understand or later conceal their evil intent. Simply put, they’re reckless schemers who are extremely high on power.

It’s evident that they are unaware and appreciative of the limitations of power and influence. They think they can do what they want and to anyone without consequences for their actions. They’re just lost and confused about the situation in the country.

Lest we forget, Zambia is a country that has witnessed and experienced such senseless tactics before and how they fell flat on their face. And we don’t think we have seen the end of this.

As President, Mr Frederick Chiluba locked up Kenneth Kaunda on similar outrageous allegations of plotting a military coup. Again, the same Mr Chiluba locked up the late Dean Mung’omba for the same reasons as he did with KK. Mr Edgar Lungu also locked up Mr Hichilema for alleged treason. And none of these people cited here was prosecuted. KK was never prosecuted, Mr Mung’omba was never prosecuted, and Mr Hichilema was never prosecuted. So clearly, when leaders are desperate and their hold on power is threatened, they start processes that they never complete.

Meanwhile, as they play such dangerous games, innocent lives and families are being destroyed. This is what Mr Hichilema, an erstwhile detainee himself, is trying to do to those he doesn’t like. Those he feels are a threat to his hold on power. What shame! What a waste of time and effort! What an incorrigible person!

What is even more remarkable about this is that in opposition, Mr Hichilema spoke freely about presidents of this country. For instance, Mr Hichilema is on record describing President Michael Chilufya Sata, as “chimbwi no plan”, loosely translated as a mindless hyena. Mr Hichilema made these remarks about Mr Sata during the time Mr Sata was president and nothing happened to him.

Nobody was spared, and Mr Hichilema made more demeaning and insulting remarks about leaders of this country, including Mr Lungu. So what has changed now? It is acceptable for Mr Hichilema as an opposition leader to describe presidents of this country in terms he deemed fit but it is apparently highly offensive and treasonous for current opposition leaders to do the same to him now that he is the President.

It is now treason to describe Mr Hichilema for what he truly is – a puppet of Western imperialism and transnational corporations. Why should this be so? What type of self-importance, arrogance and tyranny is this? What makes Mr Hichilema think he is so different and more special than the rest of the presidents this country has had? What makes him think the opposition must conduct themselves in a manner that comforts and pleases him?

We urge Mr Hichilema and his hungry surrogates to take caution before they engage in very dangerous activities in order to stay in power. If not, they risk presiding over a killing machine.

We also want to put him on notice that some of us are not prepared to be cowed into submission by the spreading of misinformation, threats and illogical conspiracies, which are nothing but a figment of Mr Hichilema and his surrogates’ imaginations. We wish to remind him that while they were only spectators, some of us were direct participants in the fight for multiparty democracy in this country.

We were at the forefront of the struggle against the one-party state and we will not allow him to turn Zambia into a sham democracy.

Further, let Mr Hichilema be comfortable with our political ideology, discourse and mobilisation strategies, because we mean well and have always been for democratic transitions of power. Never will we support any undemocratic changes of government.

That said, we call upon Mr Hichilema to exhibit maturity and leadership and abandon the highly inflammatory, sensational and intemperate outbursts that he is now making.

We know that he is under pressure. We know that the lies, manipulation and deceit have backfired. We know that he stands exposed in the eyes of Zambians as a liar and a fraud who has no intention whatsoever to do as he promised during his campaign for the presidency. We know he is ashamed of himself. We know the rallies in Lusaka haven’t yielded anything. We know he is extremely unpopular and frustrated with his performance.

But that must not make Zambians – any of us – suffer pantu alelaya eka, tatwaliko tulibakayele!

One bad term doesn’t deserve another, aleya!

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

VEDANTA/KCM saga: The lies, greed and arrogance

VEDANTA/KCM saga: The lies, greed and arrogance Featured

Arthur Schopenhauer once said, “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

We said it, and Mr Hichilema and his corrupt puppet regime ridiculed and violently opposed our perspective on the issues that were surrounding the situation at KCM. But here we are again in the same situation they ridiculed and violently disputed when we raised the alarm.

It is now evident that they were merely trying to silence the voices of truth on this issue so they could be heard and seen as the only ones who can do what is best for the people of the Copperbelt, in particular the people of Chingola and Chililabombwe.

We repeat what we have said before; that the return of Vedanta at KCM after its Indian owner Anil Agarwal parted with US$200 million, endorses the betrayal and disrespect Mr Hakainde Hichilema has for the people on the Copperbelt.

This particular move has a revealing effect on what type of a leader Mr Hichilema is and how he views and treats the people on the Copperbelt – with low value.

By this decision alone, Mr Hichilema has spat in the face of the people of the Copperbelt, especially the miners, who braved the meandering queues to cast their votes and put him into office.

Below are the articles we published on this issue in July this year.

VEDANTA’S AGARWAL TO GET BACK KCM AFTER PARTING WITH US$200M

After parting with US$200 million, Vedanta Resources plc’s 69-year-old Indian owner, Anil Agarwal, is assured of getting back KCM, which he lost control of in a Zambian government initiated liquidation order in 2020.

Agarwal acquired KCM in 2004 in a transaction that had an aggregate value of approximately US$270 million, comprised of a cash consideration of US$48.2 million for the 51 per cent stake, a commitment on the part of Vedanta to fund cash flows in KCM to an aggregate limit of US$220 million, and an agreement on the part of Vedanta to contribute US$1 million towards the cost of a feasibility study of substantial deeper level resources associated with the Konkola mine (containing estimated resources of around 250 million tonnes at 3.8 percent copper), to be undertaken by December 31, 2006.

In August 2021, while addressing miners in Kitwe, the then President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Lungu, claimed that he had received a report that Mr Hakainde Hichilema was soliciting US$300,000 from Vedanta, promising to give them back KCM once elected. An accusation, which Mr Hichilema vehemently denied.

On April 25, 2022, during a media briefing at State House, Mr Hichilema dismissed media reports suggesting that the government planned to give back KCM to Vedanta as falsehoods.

But on May 9, 2022, Mr Hichilema U-turned stating, “Vedanta and ourselves have agreed that we suspend litigation,”

Going by the sequence of events and inconsistencies in the statements, especially on the part of Mr Hichilema, we demand that he comes clean on the Vedanta issue. What is going on? The Zambian people deserve to know the truth and how decisions have been arrived at in this matter.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

In the same month of July, we again guided as follows:

HICHILEMA HAS BETRAYED THE COPPERBELT ON VEDANTA

The return of Vedanta at KCM after its Indian owner Anil Agarwal parted with US$200 million, endorses the betrayal and disrespect Mr Hakainde Hichilema has for the people on the Copperbelt.

This particular move has a revealing effect on what type of a leader Mr Hichilema is and how he views and treats the people on the Copperbelt – with low value. By this decision alone, Mr Hichilema has spat in the face of the people of the Copperbelt, especially the miners, who braved the meandering queues to cast their votes and put him into office.

As usual, Mr Hichilema has made known to the Zambian people that the poor masses of this country are nowhere near the equation, and as such deserve no place, value, or respect from his government. Like we have always said, Mr Hichilema is here to protect mining transnational capital and not the working masses. And we shall validate our standpoint stated above by highlighting the facts that led the Zambian government to initiate a liquidation order in 2020, so that citizens can see and judge for themselves.

Under Vedanta, KCM faced various operational difficulties, which included:

1) the mine failed to meet its financial obligations to the workers thereby subjecting them to poor working conditions,

2) the mine failed to honour its debts with contractors and suppliers,

3) the mine was highly indebted and threatened with insolvency, to the extent that as of September 30, 2013, KCM’s total liability stood overwhelmingly at US$1.5 billion, surpassing its asset base by US$123 million. This situation definitely made it unfeasible for the mine to meet its financial obligations. For this reason, KCM defaulted on its US$700 million loan signed with Standard Bank. By the way, this particular loan was secured on the KCM assets,

4) Vedanta failed to live up to its pledge to inject a sum of US$397 million foreign direct investment in the mine but resorted to diverting funds it was generating locally to other ventures thereby choking the mine and leaving it with no resources to inject in its operations,

5) Vedanta lamentably failed to operationalise the Konkola Deep Mining Project despite making numerous pledges and commitments over the same, and,

6) Vedanta never invested in its own equipment. It was merely sub-contracting its works. This made it extremely expensive to run the mine.

Above are just some of the many reasons the Zambia government repossessed the mine and opted to find another investor. Now, with all that we have stated above, we ask a question: which principled and decent leader would surrender back such a key national asset to a dishonest investor like Vedanta?

Clearly, Mr Hichilema is a selfish and showboating politician. But all this won’t end well. It will soon catch up with him because Zambians are not fools. Already the atmosphere is one of exhaustion. People are fatigued of his lies, inconsistency, and self-serving attitude.

Let him know that this country is way bigger than him and so he must stop playing with people’s livelihoods and the country’s future by dishing out key national assets willy-nilly like sweets in a market parlour.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

The ongoing debate about whether to abolish or keep FISP

The ongoing debate about whether to abolish or keep FISP Featured

It is very important to understand what we want to achieve with FISP. This requires looking at two critical components of the intended purpose and assessing whether they achieve it or not.

Before proceeding with the initial intended objectives, we need to pose this question: is FISP aimed at increasing crop production or is it a poverty alleviation programme, such as social cash transfer, to support vulnerable peasant farmers and their families to ensure food security?

The FISP guidelines, which also mention that farmers should graduate after three years of being on the programme to medium-scale farmers, indicate that the programme was intended to enhance crop production and facilitate the progression of farmers from peasantry to small-scale, then medium-scale, and finally to commercial farming.

Let’s assess the practicality of its intended objective. If a farmer receives six bags of fertiliser per year at K1,000 per bag, then the assistance at a monthly average is K500 per month. With this level of support for direct input only – ignoring all other production costs and personal responsibilities – is it practical that such support can graduate a farmer from peasantry to commercial farming? Unless a miracle happens the farmer will permanently remain in the peasantry category. This explains why farmers have remained on the programme for prolonged periods beyond three years. If FISP was intended to grow crop production then it was ill structured and should be canned.

However, a positive unintended consequence of FISP is that it provides government support to peasant farmers who comprise the biggest segment of our maize production, but cannot afford fertiliser due to its high cost. Effectively, peasant farmers plant crops for their own consumption and sell the excess production to commercial players in order to generate income to sustain their livelihoods, including paying school fees and medical bills and meeting family needs. These farmers don’t qualify for commercial loans because they aren’t creditworthy. So, in a nutshell, with unintended consequences FISP is actually a social protection programme and not a crop production growth strategy. It should be classified in the same category as social cash transfer.

So before we say scrap or keep FISP, we need to understand these dynamics. And most importantly, before farmers are removed for being on the programme for more than three years, we need to understand that given the meagre support of six bags a year, it is impractical for peasant farmers to graduate to higher categories, including commercial levels, because the support received is insignificant. If anything, this is a segment which has a low crop yield per acre because at its best it is an ox driven, rain fed method of agriculture, and at its worst a hoe and rain fed method of crop production. If the support is removed it will just increase poverty levels in rural areas.

In conclusion, FISP should be maintained as a social protection programme. If scrapped, food security for our vulnerable peasant farmers will be compromised. What the government should do is clean up the FISP database and ensure the correct, vulnerable people are kept on the programme.

With regard to enhancing food production, it is necessary to come up with a totally new strategy driven by enabling policies. Most importantly, credit support should be readily available at affordable interest rates. Technical support and access to mechanised farming should be at the centre of this initiative, including irrigation rather than rain-fed methods.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

Hichilema is dividing SADC

Hichilema is dividing SADC Featured

The SADC Troika consists of Zambia (the chairperson), Tanzania (the deputy chairperson, and Namibia (the immediate past chairperson).

The leaders of Tanzania and Namibia have both congratulated President Mnangagwa on his re-election. President Cyril Ramaphosa has done the same. But Mr Hakainde Hichilema is yet to do so because the candidate he reportedly supported lost the election.

The man he unilaterally chose, Mr Nevers Mumba, to represent him in Zimbabwe’s election released a discredited and biased preliminary report that is likely to be thrown out at the next SADC meeting because both Mr Hichilema and Mr Mumba could not declare interest.

Why did Mr Hichilema, in his capacity as incoming chair of the Troika, appoint Mr Nevers Mumba to head the SADC Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM), given his known and close ties to both Mr Nelson Chamisa, one of the presidential candidates in the just ended Zimbabwean election, and to Hichilema, who himself is very close to the CCC leader?

I use the term “incoming” deliberately because Mr Hichilema, at the time he announced the appointment of Mr Mumba on 14 August 2023, was not yet chairperson of the SADC Troika on Politics, Defence and Security. The President of Namibia was still the chairperson at the time. https://twitter.com/HHichilema/status/1691184702235836416?s=20 Mr Hichilema only formally assumed the leadership of the Organ three days later, on 17 August 2023, at the 43rd Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government in Luanda, Angola. https://www.sadc.int/latest-news/sadc-hold-43rd-summit-luanda-republic-angola-17-august-2023

Although the ultra-urgency that Mr Hichilema demonstrated when appointing Mr Mumba is in itself curious, what is most striking and raises questions about his judgement was the choice of a person whose impartiality was always going to be questioned to lead the Mission. Why not appoint someone who won’t give ZANU-PF reason to discredit the Mission’s findings – however legitimate they may be?

What criteria was used to appoint Mr Mumba? If it was because of his role as former vice-president of Zambia, what disqualified the several other ex-veeps of Zambia who are still alive? If it was because of his role as opposition MMD president, what disqualified the several other leaders of opposition parties in Zambia?

Why did Mr Hichilema choose Mr Nevers Mumba to lead the SEOM to Zimbabwe? What particular individual qualities did Mr Mumba have that other former vice-presidents and opposition leaders in Zambia lacked? Was Mr Mumba really the best candidate for such a sensitive role that requires utmost levels of impartiality and maturity? Had Mr Hichilema exercised caution in his choice of the person he appointed to lead the Mission and understood that the credibility of its report rests on the credibility of its membership, the apparent or emerging divisions within the Troika – and potentially within the SADC itself – may have have been avoided.

But that is how betrayal is; hypocrisy, treachery and ignorance can be a very big a problem but they all have limits to their power and influence. What Mr Hichilema forgot was that he could only masquerade or present his fake image to the region and the world for a short period before shame visited him.

Clearly, hiding his true identity as an imperialist puppet has lamentably failed. We hope he has learnt something from this mistake.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party [Zambia]

One bad term doesn’t deserve another, Hichilema aleya!

One bad term doesn’t deserve another, Hichilema aleya! Featured

We were back at the police yesterday because Mr Hakainde Hichilema and his far-right corrupt, puppet regime is being haunted by our exponential growth, support, and solidarity among the poor masses of this country.

Mr Hichilema is unsettled by the fact that more and more of our people, including his own supporters, agree with our message and vision for a more equal, fair, just and united Zambia.

Our people have read through this one-term puppet regime’s corrupt and divisive rhetoric and have resolved to correct the mistake they made in the last general election.

Even Mr Hichilema and the masters who control him know that we not only support our people, but that more and more of our people, especially the poor masses, heavily support us too.

This is why Mr Hichilema and his league are desperate and willing to practise autocracy while preaching democracy. But we fully understand what is happening to them and how this unstoppable mass movement of the people affects them.

We know this, and global history has shown that the more corrupt a regime becomes, the more intolerant and repressive it is towards opposition political parties and critical voices. And what we are facing today is the standard outcome that unfolds whenever a regime’s corrupt, incompetent, and authoritarian path is unmasked.

But we have a message for Mr Hichilema and his league, and that is: “The struggle to liberate our people from poverty and squalor will never die. This is one struggle we are willing to sacrifice and pay a heavy price for”.

So, let them know they’re in for a tough fight with us as we pursue justice, equity, and peace.

We will not be deterred by scared, evil puppets and their equally evil masters, who are willing to strangle our people with poverty while they greedily share our minerals and natural resources.

Time is ticking and time will tell. The damage being done to our country will be accounted for someday soon by those inflicting severe losses, suffering, and destruction on innocent people.

Our people have suffered indignity and injustice from imperialists and their puppet regimes, such as the one governing our country today, for far too long.

One bad term doesn’t deserve another, aleya!

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Hichilema and his evil advisors at state house

Hichilema and his evil advisors at state house Featured

The evil, disgraceful and morally objectionable activities being peddled by certain identifiable individuals within the presidential advisory team at State House confirms Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s heartless and spiteful personality, which is regrettable.

Evidently, Mr Hichilema has given consent to and has embraced this evil, conspiring, and morally bankrupt behaviour to manage his presidency, which he obviously thinks can function better when anchored on persecution, vindictiveness, pettiness and malicious attacks on the dignity of political opponents and their families.

But this will not work, and has never worked anywhere, as it only succeeds in blinding the leadership to the real and honest picture obtaining on the ground. In fact, the worst thing that can happen to any political cause is when the propagandists start believing their own propaganda and hate speech.

This is the situation Mr Hichilema and his evil counsellors at State House find themselves in today. Mr Hichilema and his evil conspirators have started believing their own lies and hate speech, and are hooked on the swirl of cruelty, corruption, and indecent behaviour around the presidency.

Clearly, these are petty individuals who are in disarray about leadership, governance, success, and victories. They have over inflated their intellects and influence to the extent that they feel untouchable and invincible. But they will live to regret this some day soon. Most Zambians have lived long enough and been through several governments since independence and they cannot fail to predict the ending of such overzealous and evil individuals.

As a matter of fact, through our highly placed and impeccable contacts within Mr Hichilema’s regime, we have become acutely aware of the identities and actions of some of Mr Hichilema’s advisors in State House. We fear for this country and its citizens when we look at the evil plotting – politically, business wise, financially and socially – against citizens, and the disgraceful and morally objectionable activities currently taking place within State House.

Certainly, the undue influence and behind- the-scenes wicked counselling and scheming currently taking place in Mr Hichilema’s presidential advisory team is a catalyst for a barbaric failed state with no traces of decency, integrity, love or compassion in it.

We know all the little evil advisors whispering wicked counsel straight into Mr Hichilema’s ear and how, in extreme instances, these same individuals have abused law enforcement and deliberately caused pain and anguish for the families of innocent citizens they have locked up in police cells, prisons; the many civil servants and parastatal employees they have denied a living through unfair job dismissals; the corrupt fertiliser tenders and other deals they are cutting; as well as how they are instigating law enforcement agencies against selected citizens in order to cripple them emotionally and financially thereby shutting the critical voice and silencing the truth-tellers.

The continued detention of former State House Special Assistant for Politics, Dr Chris Zumani Zimba and his co-accused, and the arrest and torture of PF presidential hopeful Mr Emmanuel Mwamba, and PF member and blogger Mr Rizwani Patel are among the many instances with visible footprints leading to the evil plotting happening in State House.

Arising from the above, it is vividly clear that the malfunctioning and subsequent downfall of Mr Hichilema and his corrupt, far-right UPND puppet regime is being accelerated by the crimes of a few evil advisors in his presidential advisory team at State House.

We know and understand that Mr Hichilema can only work with those he is comfortable and shares the past with, those he has done both good and bad with, those with traits similar to his. And so, we can only advise since our role as an opposition political party is to scrutinise his rule and offer solutions.

For that reason, we urge Mr Hichilema to think through the wicked and low-priced behaviour he is allowing, and pay a closer look into these dishonourable and unjustifiable notorious flaws, and evil plotting currently obtaining in the presidential advisory team at State House.

Let him take a keen interest in the happenings of literally every department at State House; legal, national security advisory, media, political, and so on. This must be done as a matter of urgency to escape the looming shame on himself and the presidency. There is just way too much scum or filth in this particular presidential advisory team at State House!

Proverbs 25:5 guides: “Remove wicked officials from the King’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness.”

As for the evil advisors at State House, we advise you to introspect and constantly remember that presidential immunity is not transferrable; it is Mr Hichilema with the immunity and not you, but even for Mr Hichilema, the immunity is not permanent. It can be removed when need arises. So, tame your zeal and evil plotting because power is brief, transitory and never permanent.

The country is watching! Zambians are alert!

Fred M’membe

Hichilema had no plan to fix Zambia, it was all rhetoric

Hichilema had no plan to fix Zambia, it was all rhetoric Featured

What’s the problem with KCM and Mopani? What’s troubling Mr Hichilema’s government?

We would like to remind them that the delayed capitalisation of the two mining operations has been and is too painful for Zambia, especially for the residents of the Copperbelt Province. Statements to the effect that the delay is “because the government wants to safeguard the interests of Zambians” are hollow and deceitful because it is clear that Mr Hichilema and the UPND had no plan to “fix” any challenges Zambia was facing before they were elected, and now the problems have grown bigger.

On KCM, the trouble is that Vedanta has spent money and promised to be given back the mine based on agreed terms, including some Key Performance Indicators that Mr Hichilema’s government has included in the draft agreement.

The Key Performance Indicators include the following:

  1. An investment of more than $1 billion to develop KDMP;
  2. Salary and wage increments for KCM staff;
  3. Assume and pay-off debts owing to suppliers and contractors to KCM. These will be mainly debts incurred by the Provisional Liquidator and may be upwards of $300 million, excluding the electricity bill.

Should the Key Performance Indicators not be met, Vedanta will be compelled to offer its shares in KCM to ZCCM IH at a price. It would appear it is the asking price from Vedanta that might now be delaying the conclusion of the deal.

Vedanta is asking for upwards of $2.75 billion should the government invoke the Article to takeover the mines if Vedanta fails to attain certain Key Performance Indicators. It is incomprehensible that such an Article would even be considered because one wonders what safeguard measures have been put in place to safeguard GRZ/ZCCM IH/ and the people of Zambia, who are the ultimate beneficial shareholders in ZCCM IH, from Vedanta should Vedanta deliberately underperform so that ZCCM IH triggers the Articles for the Vedanta shares to be sold to ZCCM IH in the name of not meeting KPIs for Vedanta to automatically be owed $2.75 billion by ZCCM IH.

Should this information we have be true, then this imminent deal between Mr Hichilema’s government will surpass the Lungu government’s $1.5 billion deal with Glencore over Mopani.

Noticeably, there is something fishy about this deal and it can only be because Vedanta may have parted with some money to allow for such a bad deal against Zambians to be tabled for finalisation.

It cannot be wrong to assume that this deal might have an upside for some government officials pulling strings to make it happen. Your guess is as good as mine as to what level such deals are given the go-ahead.

As for Mopany Copper Mine, it appears that after almost concluding with a Chinese group, the government has reopened the bid process by allowing a possible last-minute entry to be considered for its acquisition.

Whatever the reasons, it is now two years since Mr Hichilema was elected into office to manage Zambia with the promise that “Bally will fix it”.

It appears Mr Hichilema either underestimated the challenges Zambia is and has been facing, or that may be “Bally” had no plan even after being given 16 years to prepare for the job.

Fred M’membe
President of Socialist Party

Siandenge will be  Hichilema’s downfall

Siandenge will be Hichilema’s downfall Featured

After the events of the past two days, our thoughtful and honest conclusion is that the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of State House, Mr Fanwell Siandenge, is a danger to Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s presidency and the country.

We say this without any grain of malice or ill intention. What we are saying is based on an exhaustive assessment of activities and events that have taken place in the country regarding my arrest and subsequent detention, all of which were totally unnecessary and ill advised.

It requires very little effort for anybody to notice that there is chaos in the Zambia Police high command and by extension, the Presidency, or State House in particular. And the main culprit in all this is Mr Siandenge himself.

It is evident that Mr Siandenge has been handed a blank cheque by Mr Hichilema to do exactly what he wants, which is most unfortunate, and this is what resulted in the unprecedented blunders, recklessness, and administrative chaos we witnessed in the police high command in the last two days.

So, without regard for hierarchy, Mr Siandenge has been pulling strings and literally playing his superior, the Inspector General of Police, Mr Graphel Musamba, like a string puppet. For instance, we are fully aware of what transpired for Mr Musamba to shamelessly parade himself before cameras to read that disgraceful and outrageous speech word-for-word.

Mr Siandenge is abusing the proximity and personal relationship he shares with Mr Hichilema. That is why, today, Mr Siandenge is like a god within the police and other state institutions, and nobody dares to question him on anything, including erroneous and senseless orders.

Mr Siandenge, who is renowned within the system for watching over Mr Hichilema like a hawk and projecting himself as a true loyalist of greater strength, ability, and intelligence than everybody else around the President, has shrewdly brought Mr Hichilema and the entire presidency under his control without them even noticing. That is why he is able to get away with literally anything.

But this is dangerous both for Mr Hichilema and the country. And the earlier Mr Hichilema realises this, the better for his administration and his legacy. Letting Mr Siandenge operate in an unrestrained manner like he has been doing lately will cost Mr Hichilema heavily and he will regret it someday soon.

Being the Deputy Inspector General of Police in the Zambia Police Service is not just a fancy title; it’s a responsibility that requires a special set of skills and immense effort. It’s not a job for everybody. It’s a job for seasoned patriots with demonstrable maturity, objectivity, impact, and real vision – and not party zealots with limited knowledge and understanding of what they are supposed to do, like Mr Siandenge.

The honest truth is, Mr Siandenge is not Deputy Inspector General of Police material. Yes, he may be relevant and effective in his personal dealings with Mr Hichilema but as DIG, the man is not fit or capable of holding that office or any other at that level.

And Mr Siandenge’s continued existence in that role will just entrench the mediocrity we are experiencing in the police today and degrade the presidency even further.

Let Mr Hichilema provide a career path alternative for Mr Siandenge and save the country from his tactless, primitive, and ignorant policing. Policing and law enforcement has become so sophisticated and difficult to navigate that dunderheads like Mr Siandenge will be forever lost at sea.

Remove Mr Siandenge and save yourself from shame!

Fred M’membe
President of Socialist Party

Is police high command the new government mouthpiece?

Is police high command the new government mouthpiece? Featured

So under Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s “new dawn” administration, the police high command is now designated an official government mouthpiece.

We say so because we are constantly seeing the police high command defending or deflecting criticism from the public and opposition political parties, as well as expressing or interpreting highly politically charged views, which is only common to active politicians. What manner of incompetence and administrative chaos is this?

And the appointing authority, together with the crowd of so-called advisors, sees nothing wrong with this. They cannot see the unprecedented destruction they are causing to the Zambia Police Service as a whole, and how they are reducing this country to the status of a banana republic.

Anyway, that’s the price you pay when you thoughtlessly elevate semi-literates or people of limited knowledge and understanding of what they are supposed to do to the top echelons of institutional power.

It is very clear that this particular police high command, which heavily relies on the Deputy Inspector General of Police in-charge of State House, Mr Fanwell Siandenge, lacks the wisdom, and the theoretical and practical skills to handle a complex state institution like the police.

This police leadership, together with the appointing authority tolerating it, is a joke!

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

I’ll defend the dismissed cops

I’ll defend the dismissed cops Featured

Today, I write to you from the dark, tiny, and cold concrete floorings of Lusaka’s Woodlands Police Station jail cells.

As expected, it has been an extremely cold and long night on the floor, but by God’s grace we have made it and seen the sun rising again. A privilege and blessing from above we can never take for granted except to thank our creator for his divine protection and sustenance.

It’s a brand new day and we look forward to witnessing what will unfold. On that score, please allow me to begin the day by addressing Mr Hakainde Hichilema and his far-right, corrupt UPND puppet regime.

I want to be candid with Mr Hichilema and his most trusted lieutenant, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of State House, Mr Fanwell Siandenge, that theirs is an exercise in futility because at this stage, no matter what they do, they are already on the bad side of our country’s history – the losing side.

And this is so because they are not with the people. They have quickly lost the touch and connection with the suffering masses of this country. Mr Hichilema and his far-right corrupt puppet regime is so neck deep in inequity. Such irresponsible, clueless, and cowardly leadership is not one that can scare us let alone frustrate our cause. There is no doubt that this is a failed project, and Mr Hichilema’s exit from office has just begun. The writing on the wall is clear.

And my message to Mr Hichilema and his Gestapo venerating Zambia Police Service high command led by Mr Siandenge, is that, if it is a crime to defend the interests and rights of the 35 police officers who were dismissed from the Zambia Police Service irregularly without any disciplinary hearings whatsoever, for which I should be arrested, detained, prosecuted and sent to prison, then let it be so.

I will stand by these police officers and many others this sadistic regime is ill-treating and intend to ill-treat in the future, because these police officers deserve our compassion, support and solidarity. Even if some of the officers mistreated me when they were in service, they all deserve my compassion, support and solidarity, and not retribution.

Let Mr Hichilema and his league know that this type of primitive injustice and emotional torture, actually kills – it pushes some of the victims into severe depression and eventual death. Mr Hichilema should know that leadership without compassion is an old-fashioned mentality and nothing but complete savagery.

The Zambian people must be made aware that today, we have a heartless, corrupt, and cruel tribalist in national leadership. And what we are witnessing currently, is exactly what happens in a country when such people rule. This is a cruel leadership that gets a kick from inflicting pain and suffering on its own citizens. But we are putting them on notice that we are ready for them and their excesses.

I urge Mr Hichilema and his league not to treat police officers like common labourers or general workers – they are very important officers of the state who deserve much better treatment and respect.

In fact, if there are two individuals in this country who are supposed to be more humane and compassionate to others, it’s Mr Hichilema and Mr Siandenge themselves, who suffered pain at some point in their lives. Clearly, the duo haven’t healed, they are still bitter people and bad students of history who cannot learn even from their own experiences, which is most unfortunate, as innocent Zambians will be made to pay for crimes they didn’t commit.

But it also shows that the two are not opposed to what they saw as autocratic methods when they were in pain and suffering themselves.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

KCM/Mopani deals: A case of untimely inaction being worse than untimely action

KCM/Mopani deals: A case of untimely inaction being worse than untimely action Featured

Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s government promised to sort out the issues of Mopani and KCM by the end of July. Today the dates have been changed to “we don’t know when”.

Clearly, after several months of illusions and posturing over Mopani and KCM, reality has dawned on Mr Hichilema and his far-right UPND government and they are now running back and forth. Even the lies have dried up as the truth steadily seeps in through the cracks on these two transactions. They are lost and stuck, and literally dangling from the ceiling like bats in broad daylight.

What’s the problem? What’s troubling them?

On KCM, the trouble is that Vedanta has spent money and promised to be given back the mine based on agreed terms, including some Key Performance Indicators that Mr Hichilema’s government has included in the draft agreement.

The Key Performance Indicators include the following:

  1. An investment of more than $1 billion to develop KDMP;
  2. Salary and wage increments for KCM staff;
  3. Assume and pay-off debts owing to suppliers and contractors to KCM. These will be mainly debts incurred by the Provisional Liquidator and may be upwards of $300 million, excluding the electricity bill.

Should the Key Performance Indicators not be met, Vedanta will be compelled to offer its shares in KCM to ZCCM IH at a price. It would appear it is the asking price from Vedanta that might now be delaying the conclusion of the deal.

Vedanta is asking for upwards of $2.75 billion should the government invoke the Article to takeover the mines if Vedanta fails to attain certain Key Performance Indicators. It is incomprehensible that such an Article would even be considered because one wonders what safeguard measures have been put in place to safeguard GRZ/ZCCM IH/ and the people of Zambia, who are the ultimate beneficial shareholders in ZCCM IH, from Vedanta should Vedanta deliberately underperform so that ZCCM IH triggers the Articles for the Vedanta shares to be sold to ZCCM IH in the name of not meeting KPIs for Vedanta to automatically be owed $2.75 billion by ZCCM IH.

Should this information we have be true, then this imminent deal between Mr Hichilema’s government will surpass the Lungu government’s $1.5 billion deal with Glencore over Mopani.

Noticeably, there is something fishy about this deal and it can only be because Vedanta may have parted with some money to allow for such a bad deal against Zambians to be tabled for finalisation.

It cannot be wrong to assume that this deal might have an upside for some government officials pulling strings to make it happen. Your guess is as good as mine as to what level such deals are given the go-ahead.

As for MCM, it appears that after almost concluding with a Chinese group, the government has reopened the bid process by allowing a possible last-minute entry to be considered for its acquisition.

Whatever the reasons, it is now two years since Mr Hichilema was elected into office to manage Zambia with the promise that “Bally will fix it”. It appears Mr Hichilema either underestimated the challenges Zambia is and has been facing, or that may be “Bally” had no plan even after being given 16 years to prepare for the job.

The delayed capitalisation of the two mining operations has been and is too painful for Zambia, especially for the residents of the Copperbelt Province. Statements to the effect that the delay is “because the government wants to safeguard the interests of Zambians” are hollow and deceitful because it is clear that Mr Hichilema and the UPND had no plan to “fix” any challenges Zambia was facing before they were elected, and now the problems have grown bigger.

But armed with the painful history of the privatisation exercise and the activities of some negotiators/consultants who were implicated, we can only hope and pray that these seemingly continuous delays are not coordinated to enable a handful of business friends and partners to carve up the two mines, which have been the engines of the Copperbelt.

That is why, as responsible citizens, we strongly feel that we have a duty to demand total transparency in these two transactions to ensure that we prevent a situation where the same individuals with a checkered past or those connected to them, gain the right to take over the running of these prime ventures for a song or a mere fraction of their true value.

A repeat of thoughtless agreements, such as happened with the mine in Luanshya and how Grant Thornton – a firm where Mr Hichilema was at the helm of the consulting wing – got involved and was rewarded millions of dollars for the mine whose sale remains one of the enduring sources of tragedies in Luanshya and beyond, must never be allowed to happen again.

We must remain vigilant and not allow the swindlers of our mines during the sham privatisation exercise to return as messiahs of the Copperbelt. The architects of the existing poverty and squalor on the Copperbelt must not be given another opportunity to hoodwink our people into thinking that they have a solution to the issues surrounding Mopani/KCM. Let us not allow them to use public office for private gain.

Further, it is now inescapable for Bally to now explain whether he meant to “fix” the people of Zambia and not the problems they were facing, because clearly his delay in fixing the economy is fixing the poor people of Zambia. And the delay to “fix” the mines is indeed fixing the people of the Copperbelt. Its like the people of the Copperbelt are being punished for trusting Mr Hichilema and his campaign promises, which they have later learnt were built on total deception, lies and manipulation.

What is even worse, is Mr Hichilema’s lack of a sense of urgency in dealing with the prevailing desperate situation on the Copperbelt. He is taking his time as if he is not dealing with fellow citizens, his voters. But what more can one expect from an insensitive, greedy and plundering leadership? Our people must know that this leadership is about self-interest and the illicit amassing of wealth – they want to the first Zambian billionaires!

The suffering masses are not and will never be a priority. But we urge our people to remain resilient as we defend and protect our mineral resources and national wealth. And for Mr Hichilema and his league, to you we say, you have no justifiable reason to prolong the resolution of issues at Mopani/KCM. Look beyond your interests and rescue the masses. They have suffered enough. Have a heart; you don’t treat your fellow citizens this way.

As Lenin aptly put it, “Untimely inaction is worse than untimely action”.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Hichilema has ordered my arrest

Hichilema has ordered my arrest Featured

…stop the dangerous Koswe games; you’re President now

A few weeks ago, I guided Mr Hakainde Hichilema through an article headlined: “Confusion Reigns At The Defence Forces”. And below is the article:

Secretary to the Cabinet Mr Patrick Kangwa has appointed Mr Friday Nyambe, the Director General Office of the President Special Division, as chairman of the Central Joint Operations Committee (CJOC) with immediate effect.

The Duties of the President and Commander-in-Chief are never shared or delegated, not even to the Vice-President. It is only the President who has authority over matters of deployment of the Defence Forces and their officers. CJOC was a creation of the Zambia Army and Zambia Police. Never in the history of Zambia, or any other defence force in world, has this happened.

The CJOC in Zambia consists of the Chairman, the Vice-Chairman, the Secretary, and members from other government agencies with work related to fields of border protection and inland security.

The collective body of the CJOC is headed by the Chairman (or Vice-Chairman in the Chairman’s absence), who sets the agenda and presides over meetings.

Responsibilities for members of the CJOC are to take precedence over tasks of national security as a team. The Chairman of the CJOC is the Army Commander, the principal military adviser to the President, Ministry of Defence, and the Defence Council. However, all CJOC members are by law military advisers, and they may respond to a request or voluntarily submit, through the Chairman, advice or opinions to the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces.

The executive authority of the CJOC in Zambia has never changed. It is as designed the world over. In World War II, the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff acted as executive agents dealing with area commanders, but the original National Security Act of 1947 saw the Joint Chiefs of Staff as planners and advisers, not as commanders of combatant commands. In spite of this, the 1948 Key West Agreement allowed members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to serve as executive agents for unified commands, a responsibility that allowed the executive agent to originate direct communication with the combatant command. Congress abolished this authority in a 1953 amendment to the National Security Act.

Today, the Joint Chiefs of Staff have no executive authority to command combatant forces. The issue of executive authority was clearly resolved by the Goldwater-Nichols DOD Reorganisation Act of 1986: “The Secretaries of the Military Departments shall assign all forces under their jurisdiction to unified and specified combatant commands to perform missions assigned to those commands.” The chain of command runs through the President to the commander of the combatant command.

In Zambia, the security system has a solid foundation dating as far back as the first and second Republics. Dr Kenneth Kaunda laid a very strong foundation, which has proved extremely effective in the absence of a unified command.

It is important to mention here, or educate Mr Hakainde Hichilema and his team, that powers vested in the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces are for the President only. Mr Hakainde Hichilema should learn to consult from the elders before attempting to change traditions that have kept the Zambian nation together. National security instruments of power are never shared anywhere in the world. The Minister of Defence, the Minister of Home Affairs, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence and Secretary to the Cabinet, have no power to issue orders or instructions to the Defence Forces. When this happens, it marks the beginning of a downfall and break down of systems.

Disorganising the Zambia Defence Forces is a very serious weakness on the part of the Presidency. We advise Mr Hichilema to put his house in order and not to allow any person to abuse or take over his responsibility as Commander-in- Chief.

On July 26, 2023, Defence Minister Ambrose Lufuma said government had shifted the Chairmanship of the Central Joint Operations Committee which was headed by the Army Commander to another security wing. Mr Lufuma said the change in Chairmanship was because the country is faced with mild security challenges, which are mainly internal and can be best discharged by another security wing.
He said this is until the security dynamics change.

Mr Lufuma said the government had appointed Director General Special Division Friday Nyambe as Chairperson of the Central Joint Operations Committee and Lieutenant General Sitali Alibuzwi as Vice Chairperson for administrative convenience. And Mr LUFUMA said it is unfortunate that there was a leakage of the letter which was written to all concerned by the Secretary to the Cabinet. He however said those found behind the leakage of the letter will be dealt with by the law, as it violates the law of communication of certain information and protection of classified information. https://www.znbc.co.zm/news/changes-made-to-the-cjoc-chairmanship/

On July 28, 2023, former defence minister, Davies Chama joined the discourse saying that the change in chairmanship for the defence Central Joint Operations Committee (CJOC) is unnecessary and only raises suspicion. https://diggers.news/local/2023/07/28/change-of-chairmanship-for-cjoc-suspicious-chama/

On July 29, 2023, PF presidential aspirant, Mr Emmanuel Mwamba chipped in with an article headlined: “President Hichilema and the Rogue Media at State House”. Find below Mr. Mwamba’s article in full:

Koswe, a known rogue media run by State House media team, has run dangerous and defamatory articles against the Zambia Army Commander, Lieutenant General Dennis Sitali Alibuzwi and Socialist Party President, Dr Fred M’membe, literally accusing them of treason and conspiracy.

Later, the Army Commander has been relegated to the position of Vice Chairperson of the Central Joint Operations Committee (CJOC), a highly irregular move.

Minister of Defence, Ambrose Lufuma said the Chairmanship of the CJOC has since been taken by Director General of the Zambia Security and Intelligence Services, Mr Friday Nyambe.

It is irrefutable that Koswe is run by State House and this has been publicly asserted by many, including those close to the team. The question is why does President Hakainde Hichilema allow this?

The rogue media defames, insults, abuses, and destroys lives of his own officials, relentlessly engaging in character assassination of members of the Opposition and citizens, and this is done without remedial or recourse to the law.

Koswe instigates dismissals, prevents employment of successful candidates, incites arrests and encourages hate speech against Citizens.

Reporting Koswe to authorities is useless as both Police or ZICTA can never act against a State House entity.

No one has been spared from the character assasinations, lies and defamatory attacks including President Hichilema’s own Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and especially members of the Opposition.

When the online paper attacked and ran defamatory and dangerous allegations against State House Permanent Secretary Oliver Kalabo in December 2021, it had to take his own spouse and long-time senior member of the UPND media team, Jacqueline Saidi Chishimba to go to her Facebook page and call out and name the Koswe editors for them to stop the rot on her husband.

A few weeks ago, the rogue paper ran articles against Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, Chembo Mbula and it didn’t take long, he was quickly transferred!
That has been the case of many silent victims.

It is now clear that President Hichilema allows and feeds Koswe, using it and unleashing it as an attack and rabid dog against harpless Citizens.

President Hichilema is now the Republican President and he cannot allow the abuse of the law, and the abuse of citizens. It could have been excusable when he was in Opposition to run guerrilla journalism but he is now President, sworn to defend the Constitution and sworn to defend the rights of all citizens.

Mr President, Koswe, a monster you have been feeding, is now NOT even afraid to toy with Zambia’s national peace and security. How do you allow the attacks on your own Army Commander and the subsequent changes you have since made? https://www.facebook.com/search/top?q=emmanuel%20mwamba

Above is the sequence of events of who said what and when. But throughout this period, Koswe, the discredited UPND guerilla channel, which is housed at State House, had been on the offensive splashing all manner of defamatory, seditious and inciting articles against persons like myself, including Mr Hichilema’s own appointed Army Commander, Lieutenant General Dennis Sitali Alibuzwi without remedial or recourse to the law.

However today, after all the lawlessness and highly seditious activities committed by the State House media team via the discredited Koswe, I have been reliably informed that Mr Hichilema has directed that I should be arrested and charged with serious charges under the State Security Act. The plan is to abuse law enforcement agencies and prescribe false charges against me so that I can be grounded politically for merely exercising my right to freedom of speech like everybody else who spoke on this matter.

But this won’t work, this country has got laws that are decent enough to shield us from jungle and tyrannical tendencies Mr Hichilema and his far- right UPND government are shamelessly exhibiting. If people are sensible, responsible and objective, they will realise that I have not committed any offence. In fact, if there is anyone deserving to be charged and arrested for various serious offenses, its Mr Hichilema’s media team at State House because they carelessly turned a noble discourse of public interest into a state security matter.

Clearly, the indiscipline and unrestrained manner Mr Hichilema’s media team are going about in spreading hate speech, character assassination, lies and seditious attacks on the leaders and citizens of this country is most unfortunate and very dangerous. And one day, both Mr Hichilema and his attack dogs will regret ever taking such a highly polarising and dangerous path. They may abuse ZICTA, the police and other law enforcement agencies today but they should not forget that power is transitory and the Zambian people are not stupid, they know what is happening, and who is behind all this. And at the right time, decisions will be made based on the knowledge they kept close to their chests all this while because this is not the way to govern a country.

Mr Hichilema must show leadership and stop the highly reckless and dangerous Koswe and dog games. If it worked in opposition, it can no longer work anymore because that project has passed its shelf life – its discredited and its discrediting his presidency too. But we are ready for them, we didn’t sign up to fail in our quest to protect our country’s mineral resources and national wealth from the jaws of transnational corporations and imperialist puppets. Let them know that whatever we do, we do it for our people and we are ready to pay the price!

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

UPND’S two years in office have been a disaster – Fred M’membe

UPND’S two years in office have been a disaster – Fred M’membe Featured

Socialist Party President Fred M’membe says the UPND administration, which clocks two years in office next month, has been disastrous.

Dr M’membe said the UPND government would be remembered for gagging divergent views by arresting opponents, and that even though tribalism was prevalent in previous administrations, the UPND had hit a record high.

He said the UPND administration had proven to be a puppet of Western governments by allowing an AFRICOM “office” in Lusaka, which posed a threat to neighbouring countries.

In addition, the government had failed to address the cost of living over the past couple of years with large increases in the prices of mealie meal, fuel and electricity.

The UPND administration had backtracked on other promises as well, such as its policy on street vendors and a pledge not to allow Vedanta to return to run Konkola Copper Mines – KCM.

Dr M’membe said there had also been selective justice in the fight against corruption with only political opponents being targeted, ignoring deep-rooted corruption in the UPND government.

Wounds left by Vedanta are still felt on the Copperbelt – Kelvin Kaunda

Wounds left by Vedanta are still felt on the Copperbelt – Kelvin Kaunda Featured

Kelvin Kaunda says the decision to allow Vedanta back to run Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) is not in the best interests of the people on the Copperbelt.

Kaunda, who is Socialist Party National Youth Chairperson and is on the Copperbelt for a three-day working visit, said people must be protected from companies that are not interested in the welfare of their employees.

He told the residents of Mufulira at a meeting that Zambians must start claiming what is theirs and benefit from the country’s resources.

“Both suppliers and the workers were mistreated. Employees went for months without getting their dues and contractors went for years without pay under Vedanta,” he said.

“Businesses died and families were destroyed. The wounds are still fresh. The company was abusive in its relationship with both workers and suppliers – and today we should go back?”

Kaunda criticised the UPND for its continued failure to fulfil what it promised.

“What Zambia needs is to see the prices of goods and services being reduced. This is no laughing matter. Just because balelya bwino bena, they think the economy is OK for the majority,” he said.

“They must face reality, get on the ground and see how people are suffering, people who genuinely need help. The price of mealie meal is now way beyond what was promised, and unemployment levels are still high.”

Kaunda said he was impressed with the rate at which the Socialist Party was gaining numbers countrywide, adding that people were attracted to the leadership of party President Fred M’membe.

“We are grateful for the support we have been receiving as a party. The Socialist Party has shown that it is the party of choice. It is a party for all classes and not the elites and privileged few,” he said.

The parallel between Mobutu and Hichilema

The parallel between Mobutu and Hichilema Featured

We take note of Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s response through the Minister of Information and Media, Ms Chushi Kasanda, who also doubles as the Chief Government spokesperson, to our concerns regarding the current terrible state of Zambia’s foreign relations under Mr Hichilema’s far-right UPND government.

We have carefully studied Mr Hichilema’s reaction and realised that they are aliens to the discourse they are attempting to engage us in. To put it simply, they are at sea. They do not grasp the geopolitical standpoints informing the deep foreign relation matters we have been consistently raising.

A puppet regime or puppet government is a state that is de jure independent but de facto completely dependent upon an outside power and subject to its dictates, orders or desires. Puppet states have nominal sovereignty, except that a foreign power effectively exercises control through economic or military support. By leaving a local government in existence, the outside power evades all responsibility, while at the same time successfully paralysing the local government they tolerate.

Puppet states differ from allies, who choose their actions of their own initiative or in accordance with treaties they have voluntarily entered into. Puppet states are forced into legally endorsing actions already taken by a foreign power.

And so, this government is merely pretending to be saying something even when it is vividly clear that it does not comprehend, let alone subscribe to, our detailed and patriotic stance on these matters. But since they are liars and hypocrites, they are busy issuing statements whose contents they do not fathom and in response to matters which are totally beyond their grasp, just to save face. With due respect, Mr Hichilema’s reaction today, through Ms Kasanda, is actually nothing but mere words on paper – not to be taken literally.

That said, we want to make it categorically clear once more that Mr Hichilema is leading a far-right Western puppet regime and is delivering on his key commitments to the West and NOT to the Zambian people. He is a Western project. A front for the West to dominate us and loot our minerals and national wealth in the 21st Century.

Isn’t it odd that while Western countries are very happy with Mr Hichilema, who has created an enabling environment for foreign capital and individual accumulation of wealth for those who loot Africa’s minerals and national resources, the Zambian people are waking up to the higher prices of commodities everyday? And Mr Hichilema seems not to care about the poor living conditions of our people at all.

But our people must know that this is not a new thing in Africa, because we have had leaders like Mr Hichilema before, who mortgaged their countries for personal gain and glory. Our neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), formerly Zaire, for instance, was once led by Mobutu Sese Seko, a leader installed by the United States and the Belgians to serve Western interests in exchange for personal power, glory and other benefits.

Today, Mr Hichilema appears very clearly to be inspired by Mobutu in his zeal to please the West while dividing the country and choking the poor masses with his neo-colonialist puppet agenda. But the sad part of it all is that the losers will be the people of Zambia, much the same way as the people of the DRC were the losers under Mobutu. Mr Hichilema must know that the Mobutu approach to foreign relations and irresponsible handling of national wealth and state power has always ended with disastrous consequences and hugely negated development in countries that attempted to entrench this repulsive style of governance.

Few will forget Mr Hichilema’s excitement when he was summoned to the White House upon assuming office to meet, not Mr Joe Biden, but Kamala Harris, and in his excitement, he was not ashamed to tell the world how happy he was to be “the first to be invited to the White House” (even though this was not true as Mobutu and other puppets had been there before him). We do not know how many times Africa’s founding fathers turned in their graves to see a reincarnation of Mobutu in an era when leaders should know better than being a puppet of the West.

Mr Hichilema must know that owing to his puppeteering and foreign policy inconsistencies, Zambia is currently standing out on the continent as a bastion of diplomatic treachery, transnational corporations and Western interests, a situation which is getting the country increasingly isolated both in the sub-region and across the African continent. If nobody has told him this, let him hear it from us that Zambia no longer commands the respect and admiration it once had on the continent and globally. We stand discredited and unnoticed due to this government’s treachery and prostitution on key foreign policy matters. We have shamelessly abandoned our non-aligned position on global affairs, a policy that gained Zambia global recognition, support and respect – and we expect our traditional allies to look at us the same way?

Even back at home, the situation is the same. Mr Hichilema’s commitment to serve the West and transnational corporations has distanced him from the masses who elected him, but who are left to scavenge for a living while he assists his Western masters to sustain their hegemony.

If indeed, Mr Hichilema and his far-right UPND government prioritises transparency and sovereignty throughout its decision-making process, as claimed by Ms Kasanda, we challenge them to make the AFRICOM office agreement public. If not, let them stop lying to our people and violating our territorial integrity and sovereignty through reckless decisions like allowing the US to be hovering and patrolling our country like a chosen race of prefects via AFRICOM.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Hichilema must review police salaries

Hichilema must review police salaries Featured

Mr Hakainde Hichilema and his far- right UPND government must urgently review the remuneration and conditions of service for Zambia Police Service officers and staff.

We have made this demand in response to the frequent appeals and complaints our party leadership and structures countrywide have been receiving regarding this matter, which we strongly feel is long overdue.

And going by the appeals and complaints, we have received so far, it is very clear that this matter is yet another unfulfilled campaign promise because the expectation was that after Mr Hichilema’s 2021 elections victory, there would be some kind of gradual progression towards prioritising and attending to the numerous hardships facing our police officers and staff.

But this has not been the case and this is not right. That is why we are demanding that Mr Hichilema and his government to immediately initiate a comprehensive review in the manner the police officers and staff are remunerated. And this review of remuneration and conditions of service must be aligned with the challenges and demands of modern policing.

Police officers and staff are an integral part of our national defence and security apparatus. For this reason, it is necessary that this far- right UPND government urgently looks into their plight by providing and caring for them. Our police deserve to be adequately and fairly remunerated in order for them to account for their performance and general conduct satisfactorily.

Further, policing has become a highly sophisticated career, which requires extensive knowledge and skills in the discharge of duties. That is why we urge Mr Hichilema and his league to invest in capacity building programmes, skills training and career development for the police to guarantee a higher level of competence that will be fit for purpose in the 21st century.

Our assurance to the gallant police officers and staff is that if this government does not respond favourably to the issues raised above, we shall implement these plans upon assuming office because our main goal is to modernise the police service by bridging the existing remuneration as well as training and career development gaps.

This is so much of a priority to us because we want to ensure that the nation is assisted by a highly motivated and flexible police service that is determined and strong enough to reach its full potential. So let our police officers and staff know that tuli bantu babo and we are resolved to reward their tireless effort and sacrifice for the motherland to enable them provide a better service for all Zambians.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

UPND government is highly corrupt, unstable and directionless

UPND government is highly corrupt, unstable and directionless Featured

Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s government is highly corrupt, unstable and directionless and our people must manage their expectations because nothing epic will arise out of this double-dealing far- right UPND regime.

We can say it without any hesitation that Mr Hichilema is leading the most corrupt, divisive and neo-colonialist puppet regime in the history of our nation. Simply put, Mr Hichilema and his league are agents of mining transnational corporations and the Brenthurst Foundation with the primary focus of keeping the indigenous suffering majority of our people to the extreme margins of economic structures and activities as they regain control of our mineral resources and national wealth.

Without a doubt, these are people who are unpatriotic to the nation and with no empathy whatsoever for the poor people on whose behalf they claim to govern. No wonder they can decide without reluctance to apply colonial administration methods of keeping the suffering indigenous people at the peripheries of the Central Business District of Lusaka without offering proper alternatives. They have no heart for the poor because Mr Hichilema and his league view the poor people of this nation as a nuisance.

Let us not forget that Mr Hichilema told our people so many lies and typical of his kind, instead of apologising for his deceit and manipulation, he has elected to pass the blame on the poor people, whose trust and confidence he has abused unsympathetically.

Going forward, our honest counsel to the Zambian people is to understand Mr Hichilema in the context that he is a brutally stubborn liar and manipulator with no clue on how to govern the country fairly, efficiently, effectively and in an orderly manner yet reluctant to follow advice. Zambians must know that the lies Mr Hichilema told before being elected into office; the lies he is telling today and the lies he will tell tomorrow are all done consciously and intentionally.

These lies are neither misstatements of fact nor regrettable errors. They are all part of Mr Hichilema’s grand scheme to “fabricate his own reality” and run with it as if there is nothing wrong or indecent about what he is doing. In Mr Hichilema’s mind, he owes nobody an honest discourse and promise later alone an apology once caught lying.

It’s a shameless and unethical undertaking, which unfortunately, Mr Hichilema seems to have perfected and adopted as part of his persona over time but it will no longer work because Zambians are wide-awake to his deception and are resolute to put a stop to this corrupt, dishonest and manipulative regime. And Mr Hichilema and his far-right UPND government must know that we have launched a selfless struggle for the poor people of this nation and nothing will stand in our way. Pantu ubufi bwachila!

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

UPND government is highly corrupt, unstable and directionless

UPND government is highly corrupt, unstable and directionless Featured

Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s government is highly corrupt, unstable and directionless and our people must manage their expectations because nothing epic will arise out of this double-dealing far- right UPND regime.

We can say it without any hesitation that Mr Hichilema is leading the most corrupt, divisive and neo-colonialist puppet regime in the history of our nation. Simply put, Mr Hichilema and his league are agents of mining transnational corporations and the Brenthurst Foundation with the primary focus of keeping the indigenous suffering majority of our people to the extreme margins of economic structures and activities as they regain control of our mineral resources and national wealth.

Without a doubt, these are people who are unpatriotic to the nation and with no empathy whatsoever for the poor people on whose behalf they claim to govern. No wonder they can decide without reluctance to apply colonial administration methods of keeping the suffering indigenous people at the peripheries of the Central Business District of Lusaka without offering proper alternatives. They have no heart for the poor because Mr Hichilema and his league view the poor people of this nation as a nuisance.

Let us not forget that Mr Hichilema told our people so many lies and typical of his kind, instead of apologising for his deceit and manipulation, he has elected to pass the blame on the poor people, whose trust and confidence he has abused unsympathetically.

Going forward, our honest counsel to the Zambian people is to understand Mr Hichilema in the context that he is a brutally stubborn liar and manipulator with no clue on how to govern the country fairly, efficiently, effectively and in an orderly manner yet reluctant to follow advice. Zambians must know that the lies Mr Hichilema told before being elected into office; the lies he is telling today and the lies he will tell tomorrow are all done consciously and intentionally.

These lies are neither misstatements of fact nor regrettable errors. They are all part of Mr Hichilema’s grand scheme to “fabricate his own reality” and run with it as if there is nothing wrong or indecent about what he is doing. In Mr Hichilema’s mind, he owes nobody an honest discourse and promise later on an apology once caught lying.

It’s a shameless and unethical undertaking, which unfortunately, Mr Hichilema seems to have perfected and adopted as part of his persona over time but it will no longer work because Zambians are wide-awake to his deception and are resolute to put a stop to this corrupt, dishonest and manipulative regime. And Mr Hichilema and his far-right UPND government must know that we have launched a selfless struggle for the poor people of this nation and nothing will stand in our way. Pantu ubufi bwachila!

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Vedanta’s Agarwal to get back KCM after parting with $200m

Vedanta’s Agarwal to get back KCM after parting with $200m Featured

After parting with US $200 million Vedanta Resources Plc’s 69 year-old Indian owner, Anil Agarwal, is assured of getting back KCM which he lost control of in a Zambian government initiated liquidation order in 2020.

Agarwal acquired KCM in 2004 in a transaction which had an aggregate value of approximately US$270 million, comprised of cash consideration of US$48.2 million for the 51 per cent stake, a commitment on the part of Vedanta to fund cash flows in KCM to an aggregate limit of US$220 million, and an agreement on the part of Vedanta to contribute US$1 million towards the cost of a feasibility study of substantial deeper level resources associated with the Konkola mine (containing estimated resources of around 250 million tonnes at 3.8 per cent copper), to be undertaken by December 31, 2006.

In August 2021, whilst addressing miners in Kitwe, Mr Edgar Lungu (President of the Republic of Zambia then) then claimed that he had received a report that Mr Hakainde Hichilema was soliciting US$300,000 from Vedanta, promising to give them back KCM once elected. An accusation, which Mr Hichilema vehemently denied.

On April 25, 2022, during a media briefing at State House, Mr Hichilema dismissed media reports suggesting that government planned to give back KCM to Vedanta as falsehoods.

But on May 9, 2022, Mr Hichilema U-turned stating that “Vedanta and ourselves have agreed that we suspend litigation.”

Going by the sequence of events and inconsistencies in the statements, especially on the part of Mr Hichilema, we demand that he comes out clean on the Vedanta issue. What is going on? The Zambian people deserve to know the truth and how decisions have been arrived at in this matter.

Fred M’membe

Finally, Hichilema is going to China

Finally, Hichilema is going to China Featured

After a lot of illusions and arrogance accompanied by ignorance, finally, Mr Hakainde Hichilema has conceded to guidance on the need to respect and uphold the traditional friendship between Zambia and China, and will embark on a state visit to the country next month (August).

We are glad that eventually, commonsense has prevailed over Mr Hichilema’s big-headedness and diplomatic ignorance on this matter of major interest to our country and its people.

Sino-Zambia relations are a traditional friendship established by the founding leaders of a senior generation of the two countries, Chairman Mao Zedong and Dr Kenneth Kaunda. And these relations have withstood the test of time because they have always been anchored in mutual trust, respect, and cooperation.

And so, as Mr Hichilema heads to China next month, he should take into account a few critical issues to enable him to represent our people and country well and prevent possible embarrassments to the country and himself as a leader:

• Let Mr Hichilema firmly and uncompromisingly stick to and reaffirm our country’s support for the one-China policy and unequivocally state that the government of the People’s Republic of China, under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, is the sole legal representative of the Chinese people, and denounce US interference in the internal affairs of China over Taiwan.

• Mr Hichilema must appreciate that strengthening Sino-Zambia ties and China-Africa friendship and cooperation in general has always been a vital cornerstone of China’s foreign policy. And the Chinese have always been willing to work with Africa with mutual respect and equality in order to open up and advance new prospects of cooperation with practicality on a win-win basis.

• Mr Hichilema should realise that prostitution is for brothels and not for foreign relations. There is a need to stick to our traditional non-aligned policy and not allow our country to become an agent of US imperialism and its hegemonic agenda, and not allow AFRICOM to establish itself in our country.

• Mr Hichilema must exchange in-depth, genuine and unswerving views on Sino-Zambia ties with President Xi Jinping in order to deepen mutual trust, confidence, and cooperation between our two countries. There is no need for Mr Hichilema to start prostituting around clear matters of foreign policy, because the Chinese have always been consistent, sincere, and have helped Zambia in the cause of national development since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1964. The Tanzania-Zambia Railway (TAZARA) line is one of the many historical testimonies to their genuineness and dedication.

• Mr Hichilema must realise that in order for Zambia to carry forward and sustain this inherited, traditional friendship between the two countries, frequent visits and exchanges are the surest way of cementing friendships closer and tighter. There was no need to wait this long to take this important trip, particularly when one considers the longstanding relationship Zambia shares with China.

• Mr Hichilema must value the relevant cooperation plans from China and seek to expand them in areas such as technology, agriculture, commerce and trade, infrastructure, and so on, to enable Zambia to realise economic stability and self-development.

• Mr Hichilema must also guarantee the legal rights of Chinese enterprises operating in Zambia and not harass them at the instigation of his friends – the US – and other imperialist governments he is fraternising with.

As we have always said, this particular state visit is crucial to resolving Zambia’s current economic glitches, and Mr Hichilema must attach importance and honesty to this engagement. Let him not go to China with the usual diplomatic illiteracy he parades – egocentricity and his habitual lies – because the people he is going to meet are not fools. They are well ahead of him and very refined. They have already studied his personality, inclinations, intellect, emotions, behaviours, and so on.

They will give him the full honours, ceremonies and pomp, which he seems to be enjoying so much lately, but if he proves to them that he is not a man of his word, they will never respect him as a decent human being, and that will be a great shame in the diplomatic history of our country, because China has been “a good friend, partner and brother” to Zambia and the Chinese have always held successive leaders of this country in high esteem and trust since the establishment of Sino-Zambia relations.

The die is cast. Zambia is watching!

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

Why is the British envoy all over our affairs like a rat?

Why is the British envoy all over our affairs like a rat? Featured

We have noted with great concern the stance adopted by the British High Commissioner to Zambia, Mr Nicholas Woolley, regarding Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s government’s corrupt fight against corruption and the rising incidences of torture and brutality by the police.

High Commissioner Woolley is quoted by Radio Phoenix as having said that investigations by law enforcement agencies should not be taken as harassment but restoration of order and that Zambia’s civic space had not shrunk because citizens had continued to enjoy renewed democracy through progressive laws under Mr Hichilema’s administration.

We are not surprised with High Commissioner Woolley’s assessment of the situation in Zambia today owing to the personal relationship he has cultivated with Mr Hichilema. And it’s this close connection, which makes him a blind and biased assessor and renders his opinions unreasonable and useless.

We have no problem with his close relationship with Mr Hichilema but he should not try to project that relationship on our national affairs because if he continues, we will treat him as an extension of Mr Hichilema’s government and go for him. What doesn’t concern him, he should leave it alone.

High Commissioner Woolley is increasingly playing as if he is an active player in Zambian politics. He is not a Zambian politician. He is a British diplomat. If he continues playing as if he was a Zambian politician, that diplomatic respect we have for him will be lifted. He is all over Zambian political affairs like a rat!

Let him know that he is not the Governor of Northern Rhodesia but a British diplomat in Zambia. The last Governor of Northern Rhodesia, Sir Evelyn Hone, left in 1964 and we will not allow a new one to emerge – we are nolonger a British colony or possession.

We are faced with an excessively brutal and corrupt regime, which is abducting and torturing citizens for merely voicing dissert and he has the nerve to play down such atrocities as restoration of order. Can such happen in the UK and it’s accepted? Can the UK Prime Minister refuse to declare his assets and business interests, and its accepted? The British removed prime ministers even for the smallest of things – having a small party, some little entertainment – during the COVID-19 lock down – yet he wants to approach the very serious matters facing the Zambian people today with a superior and contemptuous attitude. We demand respect and that High Commissioner Woolley begins to consider our national affairs with befitting gravitas.

We know that Woolley was a clone trooper who served in the Grand Army of the Republic during the Clone Wars with the 212th Attack Battalion, but this is a very different place and time. He is dealing with a very different people, in very different place and very different time in a very wrong way.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

A response to Hichilema’s corrupt corruption fight response

A response to Hichilema’s corrupt corruption fight response Featured

Mr Hakainde Hichilema appears agitated by our insistence that his UPND government is a looting machine and is rotten with corruption to the core.

Yesterday, Minister of Information and Media and Chief Government Spokesperson, Ms Chushi Kasanda accused us of making false narratives and unsubstantiated claims about Mr Hichilema’s fight against corruption, which we still insist is driven by hypocrisy and vengeance.

Ms Kasanda further said our observations were without merit and lacked any substantive evidence claiming that this government’s commitment to fighting corruption was not mere rhetoric.

We have taken note of Mr Hichilema’s response through Ms Kasanda and we would want to make it clear to him that we are neither concocting any intrigues nor maliciously attacking anyone but merely stating facts as they are. It requires little intelligence – if a little is all one has – to figure out what is going on. That is why we are fully aware of what is happening in this government and can confidently state that under Mr.Hichilema’s leadership, corruption in Zambia has not gone away, it has simply migrated to new players.

In fact, we can categorically state that this is a government full of shifty and money- grabbing individuals whose primary aim is plundering or immoral accumulation of wealth. These are shameless liars who are busy misleading our people that they are restructuring the economy yet all they are doing is to reconfigure business and our politics to suit their crude thieving methods.

The truth is there is no genuine fight against corruption under Mr Hichilema and all that is happening is just deception. But what they don’t know is that to fight corruption or indeed any other vices in government, it requires a great sense of values, integrity and a genuine desire and patriotism for a more humane, fair, just and stable nation. And Mr Hichilema’s government does not represent any of this.

For Mr Hichilema, the purported fight against corruption is but another drop of incense on the altar of political expedience. It seems to be a fight that is more structured to puncture holes in the political fortunes of those he doesn’t like. It is an idea driven by blatant hypocrisy and excessive vengeance. Zambians must know that if this crusade was genuine, it would have been pursued with a strict adherence to the rule of law and the fundamental rights of those accused and not this poorly choreographed performance we are witnessing.

Further, a genuine crusade against corruption has nothing to do with fixing those you want to politically obliterate. It ought to be anchored on a solid abhorrence for the vice and its attendant consequences. What we see is a smoke screen! And since we have been challenged to base our criticism on facts we shall argue our case with specifics.

  1. On corruption in Zambia, the recent US Report stated as follows:
  • There were numerous reports of government corruption.
  • The law also provides for declaration of assets by members of parliament and ministers when entering and leaving public office, but there is no subsidiary legislation providing for sanctions for breach or for failure to declare assets. There is no verification system, and asset data were not available to the public.
  • Other senior public officials, including permanent secretaries, heads of state-owned enterprises, and officials involved in public procurement are not required to declare. Although some institutions have institutionalised mechanisms for asset declaration, no one has ever been sanctioned for failure to declare, TIZ reported.
  • Although the government collaborated with the international community and civil society organisations to improve capacity to investigate and prevent corruption, anticorruption NGOs observed the enforcement rate was low among senior government officials and civil service, and there was concern that the corruption fight was focused primarily on corrupt practices of the previous administration.
  • There were also reports of corruption in the sitting administration. For example, there were allegations of corruption in fertilizer procurement by the Ministry of Agriculture, the procurement of 75 motor bikes by the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services at a total cost of 9,885,010 New Kwacha ($588,000), and the issuance of mining licenses by the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development involving the sitting administration, TIZ reported.
  • In July President Hichilema fired the Ministry of Health’s Permanent Secretary George Magwende, ostensibly over a corrupt tender involving the construction of seven prefabricated COVID-19 isolation hospitals in Lusaka worth nearly $100 million, which was signed by the previous administration in 2020 but never executed. According to media, officials of the Attorney General’s Office and the Treasury had signed off on the legality and financial feasibility of the tender.
  1. The dismissal of Luapula Province minister Derricky Chilundika and his subsequent arrest is but an insignificant scapegoat because there are other key leaders of this government – big dealers- involved in the illicit mineral dealings, especially gold. They are doing it with impunity. Why is Mr Hichilema silent on illegal gold dealings in the country?
  2. We have real corruption in fertilizer procurement. A company styled as Alpha Commodities is increasingly stamping its authority as the ‘alpha and omega’ of fertilizer procurement in this country. Not so long ago, questions were raised about how this company bullied its way to a contract to supply fertilizer at highly inflated prices – single sourced and authorised by Mr Hichilema himself. This is the company under the control and ownership of the husband to Ms Kasanda, the Minister of Information and Media, who is also the Mr Hichilema’s close associate. Again nothing will happen.
  3. An audit report that discloses the grand corruption that attended the fertilizer procurement in the recent past has been frustrated and swept under the carpet. Is this how you fight corruption?
  4. Despite public demands from the chairman of the Anti Corruption Commission, Mr Hichilema has refused to publicly make declaration of his assets and liabilities. Why? What is he hiding? Is this the attitude of people who are determined to uphold the highest ethical standards as Ms Kasanda claims? Mr Hichilema’s snub to declare his assets as provided by the law and demanded by decency and transparency, justifies the concerns raised in the report by their friends in the US Department of State – on the mischief surrounding asset declaration and how some leaders in this government, including Mr Hichilema, who is the principal culprit are getting away with trying to evade the corruption radar.
  5. There is serious uncertainty and turbulence in the petroleum sector owing to what is currently obtaining at the Tazama – Ndola Fuel Terminal. Can this government tell the nation how the deal to clean the TAZAMA Pipeline was awarded to Agro Fuel Limited? Also, can this government tell the nation how Agro Fuel Limited was extended another deal to manage the TAZAMA – Ndola Fuel Terminal? Can this government tell the nation who owns Agro Fuel Limited and whom they are closely associated with in this government, if any?

There are loads and loads of suspicious and dirty deals currently taking place in Mr Hichilema’s government but for now, we shall stick to the issues raised above and wait for the government’s response before taking the corruption discourse to the next level. Like we said, we are not afraid to call out this government’s dirty and corrupt schemes because we speak from our vast experience in investigating, detecting and exposing corruption. And it’s this same experience that has sharpened our ability to articulate these issues and to collect and collate as well as corroborate evidence of complex plunder matrixes.

Again, we repeat our message to the Zambian people that they should not be under any illusion that they have a decent leadership in place. The people they elected as leaders are nothing but vengeful hypocrites who operate under a system of rule that is anchored in the ‘It’s Our Turn to Eat’ principle. Accountability, transparency and human rights does not matter to Mr Hichilema and his government. But as the Yoruba proverb goes “everyday is for the thief, one day is for the owner”. Zambians are not fools, they can see through it all and they are waiting to see where this corrupt corruption fight of Mr Hichilema is heading.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Day of Unity

Day of Unity Featured

DAY OF UNITY

Yesterday it was our HEROES DAY, today it is our day of UNITY.

Today we are seeing many things – tribalism, religion and politics – being used to try and divide our people, our country.

Abraham Lincoln gracefully said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
There are 19.6 million people within our homeland, each with uniqueness and opposing view on fundamental aspects of life. Normally, dissimilarities create division and occasional conflict. However, we tend to forget that we all have one common goal – the betterment of our country and its people. This is what brings forth unity.

Opposing views are okay, it is quite easy to agree with others but it takes real strength and courage to respectfully disagree. We truly gain more from unity among opposing views as there as twice as many opinions, three times as many skills, four times as much information, five times as many opportunities and so one.

We learn about extended experiences, values and traditions. This means that the most uniting forces are not laws, constitutions, organisations, roads or buildings but people and their willingness to unify.

One Zambia, One Nation, means that Zambia is an independent nation but we are not independent of each other. It takes unity despite opposing views to run your household, to make your businesses function, to create programmes to teach in schools so why would you expect any less from a country and its people? Successful entities hire people with different specialities, different backgrounds, different kinds and levels of education and with all that diversity, it thrives. It builds tolerance towards the different and even the difficult.

Without unity, there is no growth, integrity, freedom and definitely no patriotism.

No team has ever won a game without team spirit with a united front. We want our football teams to excel yet we don’t independently practice what it takes for a country to win.

Unity equals good guidance, proper growth and true development. It provides a constant source of positive motivation and greater accomplishment.

While many factors contribute to the overall development of a country, national unity is the most vital. “Unity is Strength” and “United we stand, divided we fall”, are common phrases and are true to their every word. Can you really love a nation without loving all its citizens?

This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.

It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.

Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.

One Love!

Fred M’membe

Hard work alone doesn’t guarantee you a good life

Hard work alone doesn’t guarantee you a good life Featured

The other day Mr Hakainde Hichilema was urging Zambians to work hard if they want to live well and be comfortable.

Listening to him I was wondering what my relatives in Eastern Province, who work seven days a week with no rest, would make of his words. The more they work the poorer they become.

They work hard every day growing cotton, tobacco, soybeans, groundnuts and maize, but their lives are not improving. The transnational corporations that deal in cotton and tobacco – and others – are the ones becoming richer and richer from their sweat and hard work.

The lives of these relatives of mine will never improve, no matter how hard they work, unless we deal with the way they are being robbed – and only a socialist revolution can truly end this exploitation.

We have politicians in the ruling party becoming richer and richer without much hard work – all from corruption, crooked fertiliser, oil, and other deals and contracts.

Clearly, when it comes to living a successful life, one of the most common thoughts that most people have is that they need to be extremely hard working. But the truth is that hard work alone is not enough.

There is no point working hard on something that gives you only small rewards. You can spend your entire life working hard on something but have nothing to show for it at the end of the day.

Now, the reason I’m writing this is NOT to tell you not to work hard, but rather, to share with you why hard work alone is insufficient if you want to be successful.

And more importantly, if you are working hard right now but not seeing much by way of results, and have been doing this for some time, you should perhaps spend some time thinking about your work.

Is the effort you have poured into it giving you the best results?

WHEN GREAT EFFORTS COMBINE WITH THE WRONG STRATEGY

While I’m not denying that hard work is important, it is only important when you are working hard at the right thing.

For instance, if you have been jogging and running for years, does that mean you are a good marathon runner and are able to compete at an Olympic level? No. But why is that?

You can work hard and run a marathon three times a week for the next ten years, but that does not make you an Olympian. Why?

The reason is that hard work alone is not enough. You need to follow a blueprint or the right strategy to get you where you want to go. If you keep running to the west, there is no way you can catch up with the sunrise, no matter how fast or how hard you run.

We were conditioned to work hard at whatever job we get and to believe that things will work out. This is false. Working hard at the wrong thing will not produce much for you.

In fact, working hard itself alone will exhaust you and shorten your life. Ronald Reagan has a famous quote: “It’s true hard work never killed anybody, but, I figure, why take the chance?”

Look at the picture above this article: a guy pushing a big boulder. As you can see, no matter how hard he tries, there is no way the guy can move the boulder unless he has a lever.

If you want to earn a million dollars a year, merely working and earning $5,000 a month will not make you reach your target. You need to do something else. You need something extra.

By saying that you need to do something extra, I’m not referring to working harder or spending more time doing it. Even if you are hard working and you work an additional five hours a day, and your boss doubles your salary to $10,000 a month, there is still no way you can reach the million-dollar mark.

Unless you leverage a system, you can never hit that goal, no matter how hard you work. This is why you need to learn how to leverage other financial vehicles, such as real estate, compound interest, business, and so on.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE HARD WORK?

The problem with working hard is that most people define “hard work” in the wrong way. They think that working long hours equals hard work which, I believe, is only partially true.

If you are working hard in the construction industry under the hot sun, then yes, you are working hard. However, if your work is all about sitting in a comfortable chair and typing and reading website after website, that is not really hard work in the same way, right?

You see, it all depends on how you define it. To me, there are two parts to the definition of hard work.

The first is what most of us already know, which is to work hard on a goal, diligently. But the second part is one that most people miss out on. It involves improving your strategy to make sure you are getting the right results.

In “hard work”, the first word “hard” is what we commonly know as working longer hours and putting in more effort. The second word, “work”, is all about something that WORKS. Yes, you need to be hard working, and work on something that works.

If you are at work right now, take a few minutes to think about the investment of time and energy you are making. Is your energy and effort well spent? Are you doing something that will pay off handsomely or will all your efforts go down the drain?

Things will become clearer if you think about working in a fixed-salary job. You will never see much economic benefit from pouring your energy into that job. Yes, you can be promoted and receive a pay raise, but you are sacrificing your life (time) with money.

Your boss may be grateful for all the hard work you have poured in, but it is impossible for him or her to give you a pay raise every month just because you work more.

Fred M’membe

State house’s silence on rising incidences of police brutality and torture shocking

State house’s silence on rising incidences of police brutality and torture shocking Featured

STATE HOUSE is silent on the rising incidences of torture and brutality by the police! Why? Is it because it is complicit?

Recently, the US State Department released a detailed report dubbed ‘USA 2022 Country Report on Human Rights Practices: Zambia’ which brought to light a number of human rights abuses committed by Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s administration.

The Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) also condemned the increased incidents of police brutality against members of the opposition and cited the recent arrests of PF presidential hopeful Mr Emmanuel Mwamba, PF member and blogger Mr Rizwan Patel as well as Mr Given Phiri, a co- accused person with former State House Special Assistant for Politics, Dr Christopher Zumani Zimba as among the incidents where police brutality was in evidence.

LAZ further condemned the Inspector General of Police, Graphael Musamba, over his stance on police brutality, stating that there is no law which gives the police service power to brutalise citizens in the name of ‘minimum force’ during arrests. It also stated that it was not the function of the police to control the ‘toning down of citizens’, who have the right to freely express their views in line with their constitutionally protected freedoms. Earlier, Mr Musamba was reported as ‘urging the opposition to tone down and cooperate with the officers or else the police will use minimum force’.

Amidst all these problems between the police and the public in general, State House has remained conveniently silent about what is going on. But we are not surprised because we have stated over and again that the gestapo style of policing that is currently taking place is under the orders and supervision of Mr Hichilema’s most trusted agent, Mr Fanwell Siandenge, the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of State House, who is working with a hit squad of well-known UPND cadres drafted into the State House security system.

It is also well known that in fact, Mr Siandenge is the de facto Inspector General of Police and all key decisions are taken by him while Mr Musamba remains a powerless Inspector General of Police. We say this with utmost sincerity and sympathy for Mr Musamba because no human being should be forced into such a situation. But we understand because that is Mr Hichilema’s style of leadership, in which he keeps some people merely to save face or for convenience while he continues to pursue increased political clout.

Furthermore, the recent justifications and empty denials on this matter from Minister of Home Affairs, Mr Jack Mwiimbu, justice minister Mr Mulambo Haimbe and acting
information minister Mr Makozo Chikote, only confirms one thing, the gross human rights violations by police are all part of the grand scheme to silence dissent hence the silence from Mr Hichilema, who should ideally be the one to address such very serious concerns.

The partisan policing and torture the country is currently witnessing is fully sanctioned by the top UPND government leadership.

It is now clear that those who don’t agree with Mr Hichilema or choose to align themselves with the opposition will be dealt with viciously. And the chilling incidents of brutality and torture by the police are calculated to intimidate the masses. This is meant to set the stage upon which the 2026 presidential and general elections will be held – unlawful use of force by police – but it won’t work because the police are not the law unto themselves.

We also want to remind Mr Hichilema and his hit squad in the police that they are not big enough to stop the revolution that is being waged against poverty, corruption and imperialist puppet leadership. The struggle for justice, equity and peace will go on and the hope for a better socialist Zambia will not die. The Zambian people are resolved and cannot be cheated anymore.

To the international community, in particular, the European Union (EU), who have chosen to pay a blind eye to these violations, we say, pretending that all is well in Zambia today is being complicit in the crimes committed. It is barbaric, inhuman and disrespectful to the Zambian people to endorse this regime, given the trend of brutality and torture against the innocent citizens we are seeing today.

The rapidly shrinking political space and decline in freedoms of expression, movement and association under Mr Hichilema’s leadership is a travesty and adds to the increasing crackdown on peaceful dissent in the country. This is not the Zambia we all want and definitely, this is not how peaceful nations are built. Mr Hichilema’s heavy handed approach must be stopped forthwith.

We demand that investigations into these gross violations be opened and the perpetrators together with their superiors issuing orders be brought to justice.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

The real fight against corruption should start with Hichilema and his league

The real fight against corruption should start with Hichilema and his league Featured

As the US Department of State 2022 Country Report on Human Rights Practices: Zambia correctly observes, there are very, very serious issues of corruption and lack of transparency in this UPND government of Mr Hakainde Hichilema.

And it will not be possible for Mr Hichilema to achieve, or aspire for, high levels of transparency in his government’s dealings because of his many undisclosed or undeclared business interests. This is a recipe for grand corruption.

We saw how Mr Hichilema failed to come out clear and clean on the obviously questionable Alpha Commodities fertiliser deal in which Zambians lost almost US$16 million in super profits due to over pricing in a single-sourced contract authorised by Mr Hichilema.

Today, there are legitimate questions being asked about who the supplier of materials is for making fertilisers to Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia, a state-owned enterprise. Again, due to a lack of transparency and disclosure or declaration of his business interests and those of his associates, fingers are pointing in his direction.

A very high degree of disclosure of business interests and transparency is required from Mr Hichilema and his associates. Combining such very high levels political power with a huge appetite to become the richest Zambian will lead to a series of very serious corruption problems for Mr Hichilema.

While Mr Hichilema’s control of Zambia’s fiscal policy is without limit, his business interests also seem to be without limit. And herein lies the conflict of interest. This conflict is a recipe for corruption.

And with Mr Hichilema so conflicted there cannot be a meaningful fight against corruption in this country under his leadership. What we are seeing is not a genuine fight against corruption but vengeance and an attempt to financially cripple his political opponents and those who in the past have tormented him.

A serious fight against corruption should start with Mr Hichilema himself and his league. What we are witnessing is nothing but a mock engagement, a deception.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Hichilima’s curtailing of freedom of expression is not the way to combat tribalism, hate speech

Hichilima’s curtailing of freedom of expression is not the way to combat tribalism, hate speech Featured

Zambia has struggled to eliminate tribal and racial discrimination throughout its post-independence history. And we are certainly not at the end of the road toward equal justice and the elimination of tribal and racial discrimination.

Today, we have a government that is more tribally inclined than we have seen or experienced before in our post-independence history. Today, whichever public institution, ministry, department, agency, commission or parastatal organisation you look at, the tribal composition of the key positions is difficult to conceal or ignore.

But those who try to question, challenge or criticise Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s tribally inclined appointments are accused of promoting tribal hatred or hate speech. They are trying to defend their tribalism by curtailing free speech and restricting freedom of expression.

In light of this, we have long made clear our concerns over resorting to restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and assembly, in order to defend what cannot be defended or tolerated.

Curtailing and punishing such speech is neither an effective approach to defending what cannot be defended nor an appropriate way for Mr Hichilema’s government to stop Zambians from questioning his appointments and other decisions and actions.

Suppressing ideas and criticism never succeeds in making them go away. In fact, to do so can be counterproductive and even raise the profile of such ideas and criticism. We believe the best antidote to all this is constructive dialogue that counters and responds to such speech by refuting it through principled arguments, causing the criticism to fall under its own weight.

Our history has taught us that curtailing freedom of expression and speech is both a misguided and dangerous enterprise. The better course is to ensure that avenues of expression remain open in order to expose, contradict, and drown out tribal and hateful speech in the marketplace of ideas.

As Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, wrote, “[W]e have nothing to fear from the demoralising reasonings of some, if others are left free to demonstrate their errors and especially when the law stands ready to punish the first criminal acts produced by the false reasonings.” False and hate speech, in other words, will wither in the face of public scrutiny.

Today, so many opposition leaders are being arrested and detained for allegedly publishing, “false, scandalous, and malicious writing” against the government of Mr Hichilema with the intent to “excite against them … the hatred” of the people. This is being used as a very potent political tool in the hands of Mr Hichilema to prosecute Zambians for speaking out against the tribalism and other misdeeds of his government.

Mr Hichilema’s actions are increasingly becoming unpopular because many Zambians are recognising that our young multiparty democracy needs dissent, not dictates, in order to survive.

Mr Hichilema is effectively making it illegal to criticise his tribalism and other misdeeds. Those who speak out against his tribalism in public or in writing are punished as criminals, often severely.

It will only be through the efforts of those who are today courageously spreading their message at the risk of being arrested, detained, and tortured, that we will end these injustices of Mr Hichilema.

In so doing, we are reaffirming our commitment to freedom of expression and the right to speak out against injustice. Clearly, competition in ideas is a more appropriate way to address these issues than is government action to restrict expression.

Moreover, liberal democrats believe that, “however pernicious an opinion may seem, we depend for its correction not on the conscience of judges and juries but on the competition of other ideas”.

We defend freedom of expression not only because it is enshrined in our Constitution as the law of the land, but also because our multiparty democracy depends on the free exchange of ideas and the ability to dissent. And we protect freedom of expression because the cost of stripping away individual rights is far greater than the cost of tolerating hateful words. We also have grave concerns about empowering governments to ban offensive speech and about how such power could easily be misused to undermine democratic principles.

We believe that robust implementation of obligations to combat these evils, while simultaneously protecting freedom of expression, is essential.

Our observations are well corroborated or supported by the recently released US Department of State – US 2022 Country Report on Human Rights Practices: Zambia.

Fred M’membe
President of Socialist Party

Hichilema and human rights

Hichilema and human rights Featured

Mr Hakainde Hichilema seems disturbed by the revelations made by his friends – the United States government – on the deplorable state of human rights practices in Zambia under his leadership.

Recently, the US State Department released a detailed report – USA 2022 Country Report on Human Rights Practices: Zambia – which brought to light the following human rights abuses committed by Mr Hichilema’s administration:

  • unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings
  • torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by the government
  • serious restrictions on freedom on freedom of expression and media, including violence and threats against journalists, censorship, or enforcement of threat to enforce criminal libel laws to limit expression
  • substantial interference with the rights of freedom of assembly and association; serious government corruption
  • impunity for excessive use of force by law enforcement agencies, particularly the police who have remained a problem and that;
  • although the government took steps to identify, prosecute, and punish officials for corruption, impunity remained widespread.

The violations listed above are just a few among the numerous abuses highlighted by the US government. However, in a typical clumsy UPND government style, Mr Hichilema through the acting Minister of Information Mr Makozo Chikote has jumped to the defence of their illegal acts with a plethora of bare denials.

Mr Hichilema should know that this report done by their friends embodies hard facts on what is obtaining in the country today and pedestrian statements will not be sufficient to save his government from this exposure. Let it sink in that the report from the US State Department mirrors the status of our governance under Mr Hichilema’s stewardship and it is worth reiterating as follows:

  1. This UPND government, through Mr Hichilema, has always projected itself as a strong adherent to the rule of law. Unless this concept means something different to them because currently there is no rule of law to talk about under this government. For instance, we have witnessed an increase in the tendency to detain suspects without charge and arraignment before the courts of law. In most cases, this is targeted at individuals that have peddled a contrary view or have been overly critical of this government. Mr Hichilema’s critics are now being abducted and assaulted.
  2. A perusal of the affidavit in support of an application for bail pending trial in the case of Dr Chris Zumani Zimba, the former political advisor to Mr Edgar Lungu discloses very disturbing things. It is revealed that some of the co-accused were taken to some locations and endured excruciating torture. Most of it was inflicted on their private parts. This represents some of the findings made in the US government’s 2022 human rights practices report on Zambia. So what is Mr Hichilema through Mr Chikote denying?
  3. While Mr Hichilema beats his chest about the progressive repeal of Section 69 of the Penal Code on defamation of the President, his government has found an alternative to that repealed law. Mr Hichilema’s government now seeks solace in the repressive law housed in the Cyber Security and Crimes Act. This has become a tool of repression in the hands of this government for purposes of curtailing free speech and expression. Just in the last few weeks the country has witnessed arrests and abductions of bloggers who are critical of Mr Hichilema. Surely, this is not what promotion and adherence to human rights looks like.
  4. The case of the Kabushi and Kwacha by-elections remains fresh in our minds. We all saw the arm-twisting of the Election Commission of Zambia (ECZ) until Mr Bowman Lusambo and Mr Joe Malanji were handed a knock-out. The deprivation of one’s political and civil rights does not resonate with the ideals of the rule of law.
  5. Mrs Josephine Mumbi Phiri endured the humiliation of a murder charge for 376 days in jail only to see the entry of a nolle prosequi on judgement day. Total irrationality! This rampant abuse of the criminal justice system for political ends has nothing to do with adherence to the rule of law.
  6. Now Rizwani Patel of Petauke says he was tortured and beaten like a dog. In a video of yesterday (Friday, June 23, 2023) Patel said: “I was beaten, put on a Kampelwa, and in the night, I was taken into a bush and threatened that I will be shot dead if I didn’t confess to the charges. Bullets were fired over my head.”

What’s very sad is the hypocrisy and double standards of these people. They themselves are running Koswe, Watchdog and a horde of lawless fake accounts playing dirty with absolute impunity. They want to be the only ones playing dirty while everyone else is being forced to play clean. It won’t work. Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.

It is very clear that Mr Hichilema has not only weaponised selected laws of the land which he is shamelessly selectively applying but also decided to handle law enforcement in a gestapo style to obliterate political rivals. Mr Hichilema, together with his hitmen, led by Deputy Inspector General of Police in-Charge of State House, Mr Fanwell Siandenge, who is working in cohorts with known UPND cadres drafted into State House security are determined to violate the law by handling law enforcement matters arbitrarily and without regard for human rights and dignity.

My advice to Zambians as we head towards 2026 is that, be prepared for the worst repression ever seen in the political history of this country because it is more than clear that we are dealing with a petty, highly vindictive, cruel and desperate regime.

Fred M’membe
President of Socialist Party

Hichilema and human rights Featured

Mr Hakainde Hichilema seems disturbed by the revelations made by his friends – the United States government – on the deplorable state of human rights practices in Zambia under his leadership.

Recently, the US State Department released a detailed report – USA 2022 Country Report on Human Rights Practices: Zambia – which brought to light the following human rights abuses committed by Mr Hichilema’s administration:

  • unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings
  • torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by the government
  • serious restrictions on freedom on freedom of expression and media, including violence and threats against journalists, censorship, or enforcement of threat to enforce criminal libel laws to limit expression
  • substantial interference with the rights of freedom of assembly and association; serious government corruption
  • impunity for excessive use of force by law enforcement agencies, particularly the police who have remained a problem and that;
  • although the government took steps to identify, prosecute, and punish officials for corruption, impunity remained widespread.

The violations listed above are just a few among the numerous abuses highlighted by the US government. However, in a typical clumsy UPND government style, Mr Hichilema through the acting Minister of Information Mr Makozo Chikote has jumped to the defence of their illegal acts with a plethora of bare denials.

Mr Hichilema should know that this report done by their friends embodies hard facts on what is obtaining in the country today and pedestrian statements will not be sufficient to save his government from this exposure. Let it sink in that the report from the US State Department mirrors the status of our governance under Mr Hichilema’s stewardship and it is worth reiterating as follows:

  1. This UPND government, through Mr Hichilema, has always projected itself as a strong adherent to the rule of law. Unless this concept means something different to them because currently there is no rule of law to talk about under this government. For instance, we have witnessed an increase in the tendency to detain suspects without charge and arraignment before the courts of law. In most cases, this is targeted at individuals that have peddled a contrary view or have been overly critical of this government. Mr Hichilema’s critics are now being abducted and assaulted.
  2. A perusal of the affidavit in support of an application for bail pending trial in the case of Dr Chris Zumani Zimba, the former political advisor to Mr Edgar Lungu discloses very disturbing things. It is revealed that some of the co-accused were taken to some locations and endured excruciating torture. Most of it was inflicted on their private parts. This represents some of the findings made in the US government’s 2022 human rights practices report on Zambia. So what is Mr Hichilema through Mr Chikote denying?
  3. While Mr Hichilema beats his chest about the progressive repeal of Section 69 of the Penal Code on defamation of the President, his government has found an alternative to that repealed law. Mr Hichilema’s government now seeks solace in the repressive law housed in the Cyber Security and Crimes Act. This has become a tool of repression in the hands of this government for purposes of curtailing free speech and expression. Just in the last few weeks the country has witnessed arrests and abductions of bloggers who are critical of Mr Hichilema. Surely, this is not what promotion and adherence to human rights looks like.
  4. The case of the Kabushi and Kwacha by-elections remains fresh in our minds. We all saw the arm-twisting of the Election Commission of Zambia (ECZ) until Mr Bowman Lusambo and Mr Joe Malanji were handed a knock-out. The deprivation of one’s political and civil rights does not resonate with the ideals of the rule of law.
  5. Mrs Josephine Mumbi Phiri endured the humiliation of a murder charge for 376 days in jail only to see the entry of a nolle prosequi on judgement day. Total irrationality! This rampant abuse of the criminal justice system for political ends has nothing to do with adherence to the rule of law.
  6. Now Rizwani Patel of Petauke says he was tortured and beaten like a dog. In a video of yesterday (Friday, June 23, 2023) Patel said: “I was beaten, put on a Kampelwa, and in the night, I was taken into a bush and threatened that I will be shot dead if I didn’t confess to the charges. Bullets were fired over my head.”

What’s very sad is the hypocrisy and double standards of these people. They themselves are running Koswe, Watchdog and a horde of lawless fake accounts playing dirty with absolute impunity. They want to be the only ones playing dirty while everyone else is being forced to play clean. It won’t work. Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you.

It is very clear that Mr Hichilema has not only weaponised selected laws of the land which he is shamelessly selectively applying but also decided to handle law enforcement in a gestapo style to obliterate political rivals. Mr Hichilema, together with his hitmen, led by Deputy Inspector General of Police in-Charge of State House, Mr Fanwell Siandenge, who is working in cohorts with known UPND cadres drafted into State House security are determined to violate the law by handling law enforcement matters arbitrarily and without regard for human rights and dignity.

My advice to Zambians as we head towards 2026 is that, be prepared for the worst repression ever seen in the political history of this country because it is more than clear that we are dealing with a petty, highly vindictive, cruel and desperate regime.

Fred M’membe
President of Socialist Party

Zambia’s debt restructuring deal.

Zambia’s debt restructuring deal. Featured

It is very good that finally we have a debt restructuring deal.

With a debt restructuring deal in hand, now we will see things for what they are – the real economy – without hiding behind delayed debt restructuring.

But the excitement coming with this announcement may be misplaced. It’s been celebrated like Zambia is receiving $6 billion.

The details of the restructuring may not offer us paradise. And we shouldn’t confuse debt restructuring with debt write off.

If you’re drowning in a sea of debt, you need debt restructuring to get your head back above water. Under debt restructuring, creditors change the terms of your loan agreements so that you can better manage the payments. This may include a longer loan term, a lower interest rate or even a reduction in the amount owed.

In a word, debt restructuring is the process of reworking an existing debt agreement to better fit your current financial situation.

From the way we are reading it, the creditors have agreed to restructure Zambia’s debt and now the creditors and the country have to agree on the details after which agreements will be signed.

In summary, from the Ministry of Finance press release what we are picking up is the 3 year’s moratorium on principal repayment and extension of debt repayment tenure to over 20 years. There’s no mention of reduction in interest rate nor partial write off or haircut. The $6.8 billion private debt negotiations are yet to be concluded and this is the difficult part.

At this point the agreement is non binding so we maybe celebrating too soon but we hope for favourable terms.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party 

See less

Reality on Zambia’s total debt

Reality on Zambia’s total debt Featured

As at December 2022, Zambia’s public debt stood at $31.5 billion, excluding interest arrears on external debt and $32.8 billion including interest arrears of $1.3 billion since we have not been servicing the debt for close to 2 years.

Of the $32.8 billion total public debt, $14.23 billion represents local currency domestic debt broken down as follows:

  • Treasury Bills $2.21 billion
  • Government Bonds $9.40 billion
  • Domestic Arrears $2.45 billion
  • Others $0.8 billion
    (Source Ministry of Finance)

Government funds its day to day operations mostly from Treasury Bills and Government Bonds auctions which are now unfortunately failing as demonstrated in the last two Government Bond auctions.

It’s very important also to note that domestic arrears mostly relate to local contractors who have not been paid. This partly answers the issue of lack of liquidity in the market as local contractors are not being paid.

Our concern is that no one seems to be paying any attention to the the domestic debt issue. The risk on domestic debt default which will be catastrophic should it happen is not being addressed.

How would such an event arise?
If government fails to pay Treasury Bills and Government Bonds upon maturity a default can arise. Government uses part of the Treasury Bills and Government Bond auction proceeds to service the maturities. In the event that auction proceeds are not sufficient the treasury has to source funds elsewhere to service the maturities. Given the recent bond auction failures, treasury must be under stress to service these obligations and if the trend continues, then a domestic debt default could materialise.

We should mention that on the unsecured $2.45 billion Domestic Arrears, a default has already happened as contractors are not being paid.

We request the Ministry of Finance to provide us with a future outlook on how domestic debt is being managed. We need domestic debt reduction as much as we need external debt reduction, but this is being overlooked.

Least be reminded that when debt restructuring is concluded the interest arrears of $1.3 billion will need to be paid. Even if a haircut is achieved, a substantial sum still needs to be paid together with principal arrears.

The only way out of this dilemma is to increase domestic revenue mobilisation by abolishing mining tax exemptions, growing the domestic tax base, new industries coming on board, job creation, value addition and so on and so forth.

Again, the call for a comprehensive economic plan which addresses issues raised above is urgently needed to address these serious concerns. Instead we are embroiled in a not so helpful graphs and Catholics debate and overlooking real issues.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

The Napsa dilemma

The Napsa dilemma Featured

Recent reports indicate that NAPSA, which traditionally has been a key participant in Government Bonds, has not participated in the last 2 or 3 Bank of Zambia Government Bond auctions. And NAPSA’s has greatly contributed to the recently heavily under subscribed auction.

How long is a piece of string? NAPSA, according to recent reports, has paid out K5.8 billion as part of Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s policy of partial pension withdrawals – of approximately $300 million using daily average exchange rates since this programme started.

We are also told that NAPSA expected a total partial pension payout totaling K11 billion to cover all potential partial pension draw downs. In effect, another K5.2 billion remains to be paid which is approximately $290 million. This translates to a cumulative payout of $590 million.

We are also told that NAPSA will provide debt financing to the tune of $300 million for the Lusaka/Ndola dual carriage.

In summary, NAPSA cash outflow on these two events in 2023 alone will be $890 million. This is a very huge amount! And we hope it will not create future funding constraints for NAPSA’s future operations.

As well meaning citizens, we strongly urge the Pensions and Insurance Authority to take keen interest in NAPSA’s future cash flow profiles for any potential risk of failure. We are not saying there will be a failure but just prudently ensuring that NAPSA can sustain these huge commitments.

Zambia defaulted on its Eurobond payments whose investors are mostly pensioners. And in our debt restructuring quest we are appealing for a haircut on the Eurobond. Meaning the pensioners, whose hard earned money was invested in these Eurobonds will lose out. The same can happen to our pensioners who are contributing to NAPSA on a monthly basis should things go wrong. So NAPSA needs to be extremely cautious on its investment profiling to safeguard the interest of our workers at a point of retiring.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Worrying ethnic and regional composition of  ACC

Worrying ethnic and regional composition of ACC Featured

The ethnic or regional composition of the officers of the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) would’t make one under its investigation and prosecution comfortable if they hail from the so-called non Zambezi ethnicities or regions.

Currently the officers of the ACC are:

  • Board Chairperson – Musa Mwenye SC (Soli)
  • Director General – Tom Trevor Shamakamba (Lenje)
  • Deputy Director General – Vacant
  • Secretary to the Commission (Controlling Officer) Ivor Mukwanka (Ila and cousin to Tom Trevor Shamakamba through the mother)

And the officers heading the four core departments of ACC are:

  1. Director for Community Education – Mutinta Cheelo (Tonga)
  2. Director for Corruption Prevention – Glenda Mungalaba (Tonga)
  3. Director for Investigations – Raymond Chiboola (Tonga)

And under Investigations there’s the Special Intelligence Unit headed by
Desmond Chiboola, the young brother to Raymond Chiboola (Tonga)

  1. Director for Legal and Prosecutions – Stella Mulenga (Married to Mr. Mulenga who is Bemba).
  2. Finance – headed by Josphat Maiba (Tonga)
  3. HR headed by Rachel Chisanga Mtengo in acting capacity (Bisa)

Again, we turn to the more often quoted aphorism – the dictum laid down by Lord Hewart, the then Lord Chief Justice of England in the case of Rex v. Sussex Justices, [1924] 1 KB 256: “Justice must not only be done, but must also be seen to be done.”

This is certainly not a recipe for governing well or for justice and fairness. It undermines the very important work of the ACC and unnecessarily brings into question the fairness of its decisions and actions.

Fred M’membe

There’s need for a permanent solution to our debt crisis

There’s need for a permanent solution to our debt crisis Featured

The fifty-four sovereign African states are vastly different from each other, with distinct languages, histories, social and economic challenges, and possibilities. However, they are united by a political project that has been institutionalised through the African Union and its legal and organisational frameworks and by a neocolonial sovereign debt crisis.

Many countries across the Global South, particularly those in Africa, are currently in the throes of fiscal crises – largely the result of a perfect storm of global events. The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a global economic recession, which in turn impacted national economies. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has disrupted vital global supply chains for food, fertilisers, and energy, thereby increasing many countries’ import bills and straining their budgets. The fiscal crisis is fundamentally a result of an unsustainable build-up of sovereign debt in the last decade, fuelled by cheap credit from Western economies and encouraged by international financial institutions, including the IMF. The COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine made what was already a tenuous situation worse.

Many poor countries are turning to the IMF as a credible source for finance in the present moment, largely egged on by claims that the IMF has reformed from its bad old ways and no longer demands crashing austerity as a conditionality. (‘Factsheet: IMF Conditionality’, International Monetary Fund, 22 February 2021, https://www.imf.org/en/About/Factsheets/Sheets/2016/08/02/21/28/IMF-Conditionality.)
Back in 2016, IMF economists published a mea culpa in which they (sort of) confessed the sins of the past and promised that they had turned over a new leaf. (Ostry, Loungani, and Furceri, ‘Neoliberalism: Oversold?’; Grieve Chelwa, ‘Is it Too Late Now to Say Sorry?’ Africa Is a Country, 29 May 2016, https://africasacountry.com/2016/05/is-it-too-late-to-say-sorry-imf-edition.). The evidence, however, suggests anything but a reformed IMF. A study from the International Labour Organisation that carefully tracked IMF conditionality in 2020, when many countries were grappling with health and financial burdens related to the COVID-19 pandemic, found that in most of the 148 countries examined, the IMF still required austerity as a condition for granting assistance. (Shahra Razavi et al., ‘Social Policy Advice to Countries from the International Monetary Fund during the COVID-19 Crisis: Continuity and Change’ (ILO Working Paper 42, International Labour Organisation, Geneva, 10 December 2021), https://www.ilo.org/global/publications/working-papers/WCMS_831490/lang–en/index.htm.).

The government of Zambia, the first country to default on its debt as a result of the pandemic, recently concluded a financing deal with the IMF with the signature condition of ‘a large, front-loaded, and sustained fiscal consolidation’, as the IMF put it –
in other words, austerity in black and white. (International Monetary Fund, ‘Zambia: Request for an Arrangement Under the Extended Credit Facility-Press Release; Staff Report; Staff Supplement; Staff Statement; and Statement by the Executive Director for Zambia’, IMF Country Report, no. 22/292 (September 2022), https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/CR/Issues/2022/09/06/Zambia-Request-for-an-Arrangement-Under-the-Extended-Credit-Facility-Press-Release-Staff-523196, 10.). The IMF wants the Zambian government to reduce its expenditure by billions of dollars over the next three years, which will be most acutely felt by the poor majority.(Grieve Chelwa, ‘IMF Deal: Cry, My Beloved Zambia’, Grieve Chelwa (blog), 7 September 2022). The government of
Sri Lanka, a country whose debt-fuelled boom came to a spectacular halt earlier this year, is also seeking IMF assistance, with early indications showing that the conditions attached to the deal will be as indefensible as the Zambian deal. (Peter Doyle, ‘The IMF’s Zambian and Sri Lankan Programs are Indefensible’, Peter Doyle (blog), 14 September 2022). The Ghanaian government too is desperately seeking another IMF deal, this after the last one was celebrated as the deal that would ‘restore the lustre to a rising star in Africa’. (‘Ghana to Conclude IMF Deal in March – Akufo-Addo Hopes’, Africanews, 7 February 2023, https://www.africanews.com/2023/02/07/ghana-to-conclude-imf-deal-in-march-akufo-addo-hopes/; ‘Ghana: IMF Program Helps Restore Luster to a Rising Star in Africa’, International Monetary Fund, May 2019, https://www.imf.org/en/Countries/GHA/ghana-lending-case-study.).

All this goes to show that the IMF cannot be the answer to the poorer nations’ economic challenges. Alongside its sister institutions, the IMF has provided ‘assistance’ to poor countries ever since its establishment in 1944, and yet many of these countries have remained poor in spite of this. The reason is that IMF assistance has never confronted the structural factors that have continued to consign many countries to the ranks of the poor. As diagnosed many years ago by scholars such as Walter Rodney and Andre Gunder Frank, development in the North is sustained by underdevelopment in the South. (Andre Gunder Frank, ‘The Development of Underdevelopment’, Monthly Review, 18 April 1966, https://monthlyreviewarchives.org/index.php/mr/article/view/MR-018-04-1966-08_3; Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa (New York: Verso Books, 2018).). Seen this way, the IMF, as the archetypical Northern institution, is duty bound to maintain and entrench this status quo. How else does one explain the IMF’s solution to Zambia’s financial woes, for example? The IMF prescription ignores the fact that the country’s foreign-owned copper mines continue to generate billions for their overseas shareholders yet pay so little in taxes in a country where the estimated annual income taxes for one mining project alone could have amounted to nearly half the 2020 national water supply and sanitary budget.(Daniel Mulé and Mukupa Nsenduluka, ‘Potential Corporate Tax Avoidance in Zambia’s Mining Sector? Estimating Tax Revenue Gains from Addressing Profit Shifting or Revising Profit Allocation Rules. A Case Study of Glencore Mopani Copper Mines’, Oxfam Research Backgrounder Series, December 2021, https://www.oxfamamerica.org/explore/research-publications/potential-corporate-tax-avoidance-in-zambias-mining-sector/.).

A new kind of institutional apparatus that fosters cooperation, rather than competition, is required for Africa’s economic liberation and that of the Third World more generally. This would mean, for example, establishing currency arrangements that bypass the US dollar, which is a strong lever of IMF conditionality and a weapon of US foreign policy. These kinds of long overdue proposals are already underway in parts of the world, such as in Latin America, where Brazil’s President Luíz Inácio Lula da Silva (known as Lula) and Argentina’s President Alberto Fernández have proposed the establishment of a regional currency, the sur, that could be used to settle cross-border claims and store reserves.(Alberto Fernández and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, ‘Escriben Lula y Alberto Fernandez: Relanzamiento de la alianza estratégica entre Argentina y Brasil’ [Lula and Alberto Fernandez Write: Relaunching the Strategic Alliance Between Argentina and Brazil], Perfil, 21 January 2023, https://www.perfil.com/noticias/opinion/relanzamiento-de-la-alianza-estrategica-entre-argentina-y-brasil-por-alberto-fernandez-y-luiz-inacio-lula-da-silva.phtml.).

The hard work of figuring out the technical details related to the implementation of such regional currencies must begin in earnest.(Zinya Salfiti,
‘Nobel Economist Paul Krugman Slams Brazil and Argentina’s Joint Currency Plan, Saying “It’s a Terrible Idea”’,
Markets Insider, 30 January 2023,
https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/currencies/paul-krugman-brazil-argentina-south-american-euro-terrible-idea-2023-1.).
Africa, for example, needs a continental bank that is wholly owned by the people and will serve as a genuine tool to bolster sovereign industrial policies. The highly influential African Development Bank, with its significant Western shareholding, is not fit for purpose. (‘United States of America’, African Development Bank, accessed 13 February 2023, https://www.afdb.org/en/countries/non-regional-member-countries/united-states-of-america.).

Furthermore, there is an urgent need to restore and reinvigorate the capacity and autonomy of the African state to deliver on its development agenda. State capacity and state autonomy depend on the ability to adequately mobilise tax revenues, an area in which the African state has continued to underperform. The tax-to-GDP ratio, a measure of resource mobilisation, has remained incredibly low in Africa largely as a result of illicit financial flows that continue to spirit away billions of dollars from the continent every year.(African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), African Union Commission (AUC), and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Revenue Statistics in Africa 2022 (Paris: OECD Publishing, Npvember 2022), https://www.oecd.org/tax/tax-policy/brochure-revenue-statistics-africa.pdf, 3; United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Economic Development in Africa Report 2020. Tackling Illicit Financial Flows for Sustainable Development in Africa (Geneva: United Nations, 2022)).

As a consequence, the adequate delivery of the kind of social services that underpin people’s dignity (social security, health, education, etc.) continue to be hamstrung. (Isabel Ortiz et al., Fiscal Space for Social Protection. A Handbook for Assessing Financing Options (Geneva: International Labour Organisation, November 2019), https://www.ilo.org/secsoc/information-resources/publications-and-tools/books-and-reports/WCMS_727261/lang–en/index.htm.).

Further, the low tax-take in the poorer nations forces many governments to seek the easy way out by borrowing on the international capital markets, setting into motion dangerous debt dynamics that ultimately lead governments back into the unloving arms of the IMF. Notably, IMF conditionality rarely confronts the fact that state capacity and autonomy have been eroded in Africa largely as a result of the tax dodging practices of transnational corporations.

Just as problematic is the leading role that the IMF and its allied institutions have taken in the fight to save the planet from climate change. The IMF’s answer to climate change, which is influential given its inordinate role in the world, points to the private capitalist sector as the solution to the planet’s problems.( ‘COP27: IMF Calls for Climate-Smart Investment in Africa’, Africanews, 8 November 2022, https://www.africanews.com/2022/11/08/cop27-imf-calls-for-climate-smart-investment-in-africa/.).

All this is ironic given that the private capitalist sector’s insatiable appetite for profits at all costs has been responsible for the climate crisis.

The Third World must re-imagine a path out of our current crisis that doesn’t depend on the IMF, its allied institutions, and Western capital. The last seventy years or so have demonstrated that a reliance on these institutions only serves to trap the Third World in a perpetual state of underdevelopment. We need an emancipatory set of institutions and frameworks that will lead to the total independence of the Third World.

This is a task that our political leaders have to take on in a serious way with a very strong commitment to the economic, and thus total, emancipation of the African continent and the Third World more broadly.

We need to rebuild a present, and future, that centres the needs and aspirations of the majority.

Over the course of the past two decades, the stranglehold of Western-based bondholders and Western-controlled IFIs has weakened as other countries – mainly China – have emerged as the largest trading partners with African states and as the largest lenders to these states. Importantly, China’s public and private debt forgiveness during the pandemic has put pressure on IFIs to rethink the harshness of their debt repayment-austerity governance model.

The opening provided by Chinese funding is not an opportunity merely to borrow more: it is an opportunity for African states to construct genuine, and sovereign, development projects in this climate. These projects must seize multiple opportunities to raise funds, and the fragility of IMF power must also be utilised to advance fiscal and monetary policies that are built on an agenda committed to solving the problems of the African people, not facilitating the demands of wealthy bondholders and the Western states that back them. A number of mechanisms must be put on the table to avoid the IMF-driven debt-austerity trap.
There’s need to invalidate historical debts and rescue stolen assets:

Renegotiate all odious external debts of the poorer nations. An ‘odious debt’ is a debt incurred by a country without the assent of its people, such as during the phase of a military dictatorship.
Seize assets held in illicit tax havens, which as of 2010 total at least $32 trillion.(United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Economic Development in Africa Report 2020. Tackling Illicit Financial Flows for Sustainable Development in Africa, 88.).

Build progressive tax codes:
Build the capacity of tax departments in each country, including digital tax infrastructure.
Implement taxes on wealth and inheritance.
Implement higher rates of taxation on income, such as capital gains, that is made through financial speculation by all non-bank corporate entities.
Discourage the base erosion and profit-shifting activities of multinational corporations and adopt a unitary approach to tax the share of global profits generated by subsidiaries of multinational corporations.
Reform domestic banking infrastructure:

Democratise the banking system by expanding the role and size of public banking and by implementing more regulations of and transparency for private banking.
Enforce ceilings as a percentage of liabilities on speculative banking activity by commercial banks.
Regulate the interest rates that banks charge for specific goods, such as housing loans.
Implement tight regulations for pension funds so that the savings of the people are not used recklessly for financial speculation and encourage the creation of public sector pension funds.
Build alternative funding sources to the IMF’s debt-austerity traps:

Set capital controls to prevent both foreign and domestic capital flight, policies that even the IMF argues are important.(International Monetary Fund, ‘Review of The Institutional View on The Liberalization and Management of Capital Flows’, IMF Policy Paper, 30 March 2022).
As highlighted earlier, capital flight is not only deleterious for local financial markets: it also robs the continent of the resources needed to drive an autonomous developmental agenda. With capital controls, governments will be able to devise effective monetary policies in an environment that would not be buffeted by shocks and unexpected fragilities. Capital controls must be implemented alongside a robust wealth tax collection system, pro-labour distribution policies, and the prevention of dollarisation.
Attract investment from institutions that do not enforce structural adjustment conditions, such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the BRICS’s New Development Bank. The absence of SAPs-like conditions on these emerging and alternative sources of capital explains their growing popularity in the South and Africa in particular.
Take advantage of local currency central bank swap arrangements (such as those offered by the People’s Bank of China).
Adopt ceilings on the interest rates that commercial and multilateral lenders charge developing countries.
Enhance regionalism:
Encourage the creation of regional trade and reconciliation mechanisms.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Our sovereign debt crisis

Our sovereign debt crisis Featured

In 2009, the Zambian-born economist Dambisa Moyo published the instant bestseller Dead Aid. (Dambisa Moyo, Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2009)). Moyo’s main argument in the book was that there was little to show for the hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign aid that had been given ĺto the African continent since 1970. Rather than spurring development, she said, aid had financed grand-scale corruption and civil wars, which in turn thwarted economic growth on the continent. Moyo’s case against aid was not a new one. Her book’s arguments were inspired by the Hungarian-born British conservative economist Peter Bauer, in whose memory Moyo dedicated her book. Bauer made a career singling out foreign aid – not colonialism or neocolonialism – as the chief architect of Africa’s underdevelopment.(Peter Bauer, ‘The Case Against Foreign Aid, Intereconomics’, Verlag Weltarchiv 8, no. 5 (1973) 154–157).

What was new about Dead Aid was Moyo’s prescription? In a chapter titled ‘A Capital Solution’, Moyo called for the substitution of aid with private market debt. That is, she called on Western countries to significantly reduce their aid to Africa and at the same time called on African governments to make up for the shortfall by borrowing from private creditors and bondholders such as hedge funds, banks, and so on. For Moyo, this was an elegant solution to the problem of corruption, which had historically bedevilled the foreign aid industrial complex. Money sourced from private debt markets was unlikely to fuel corruption in Africa because, Moyo argued, private creditors were sophisticated enough to not invest in countries likely to engage in corruption. After all, corruption acted as a drag on economic growth, which in turn threatened the prospects of debt repayment. On the other hand, to access much-needed private credit, African governments would need to demonstrate to private creditors that they were committed to fighting corruption and to investing the proceeds in growth-enhancing activities. Moyo’s policy solution was, therefore, a supposed win-win for all concerned.

Moyo’s ‘capital solution’ provided the intellectual cover for the financialisation of capital flows to Africa through the issuance of so-called Eurobonds (i.e., the issuance of bonds in US dollars and Euros), whose meteoric rise would engulf the continent in a new debt crisis by 2020. Ghana’s first issuance of a Eurobond in 2007 was a turning point for the continent. The country’s debut bond of $750 million was issued to much fanfare and was highly sought after by financial investors in New York and London. (Reuters, ‘Huge Demand for Ghana’s Debut Eurobond’, Ghana Web, 27 September 2007, https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/business/artikel.php?ID=131428.). In a quest to satisfy investors’ appetites, Ghana followed up by issuing two additional Eurobonds totalling $2 billion in 2013 and 2014. Other countries in Africa soon followed suit. (Vivian Kai Mensah, ‘Ghana Issues Third Eurobond’, 11 September 2014, Citi 97.3 FM, https://citifmonline.com/2014/09/ghana-issues-third-eurobond/#sthash.Ry1XkD86.dpbs.).

In 2011, Zambia obtained its first sovereign credit rating (a credit score of sorts) from the ratings agency Fitch. Shortly thereafter, the country issued two Eurobonds in quick succession in 2012 and 2014, a scenario that increased Zambia’s external debt by an incredible 300% in three years. (Grieve Chelwa, ‘It’s Time to Treat Commodity-Backed Loans to African Countries the Same Way We Treat Equity’, Quartz, 2 June, 2015, https://qz.com/africa/417167/its-time-to-treat-commodity-backed-loans-to-african-countries-the-same-way-we-treat-equity; Grieve Chelwa, ‘The “Truth” about Zambia’s Debt’, Grieve Chelwa (blog), 15 October 2020, http://gchelwa.blogspot.com/2020/10/the-truth-about-zambias-debt.html.). Kenya likewise jumped on the bandwagon, issuing three Eurobonds between 2014 and 2019 that totalled around $5.5 billion.(Paul Wafula, ‘Kenya: Eurobond Dossier Reveals Kenya’s Deep Economic Ties to China, IMF’, AllAfrica, 17 June 2021, https://allafrica.com/stories/202106170380.html.).

Eurobond issuance on the continent grew at an incredible pace in the second decade of the twenty-first century: by 2020, twenty-one African countries had issued Eurobonds (several, in many cases). According to the World Bank’s International Debt Statistics handbook, the stock of Eurobond debt for sub-Saharan Africa grew from about $32 billon in 2010 to $135 billon in 2020, a 322% rate of increase. (World Bank, International Debt Statistics 2022 (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022), https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/36289/9781464818004.pdf?sequence=4&isAllowed=y)

In other words, the stock of Eurobond debt had more than tripled in just ten years.

The rate of increase in the stock of Eurobond debt between 2010 and 2020 far outstripped other sources of foreign currency debt in Africa. For example, multilateral debt from the World Bank, IMF, African Development Bank, and other institutions increased by about 144% over the same period, a rate that is less than half that of the increase in Eurobond debt. Similarly, bilateral debt from governments in countries such as China, France, the US, and the UK to governments in Africa also increased at a rate of 145%, which was also less than half the rate of increase in Eurobond debt. (World Bank, International Debt Statistics 2022 (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022), https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/36289/9781464818004.pdf?sequence=4isAllowed=y.).

This last point on bilateral debt is worth highlighting given the argument on ‘debt trap diplomacy’ that has become commonplace with respect to debt from China. The argument alleges that China is using debt to trap Africa in a perpetual cycle of indebtedness and servitude. However, the facts present a different picture. Though World Bank’s International Debt Statistics handbook does not provide a country-by-country breakdown of bilateral debt to Africa that would allow us to isolate the Chinese component, it shows that by 2020 Africa’s total external debt owed to bilateral creditors (i.e., countries) stood at $115 billion, compared Eurobond debt of $135 billion. Further, the figure for bilateral debt provided by the World Bank is for all bilateral creditors, implying that Eurobond debt outstripped all debt from bilateral creditors, which includes China. A careful analysis from Debt Justice shows that African debt to China was $83 billion in 2020, a number smaller than the $135 billon owed to private bondholders. (The Growing Debt Crisis in Lower Income Countries and Cuts in Public Spending’, Debt Justice, July 2022, https://debtjustice.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Who-African-governments-debt-is-owed-to_Media-Briefing_07.22.pdf, 2.). Figures on Chinese loans and Africa’s debt produced by researchers working at the China Africa Research Initiative (CARI) at Johns Hopkins University in the United States are often cited in support of the debt trap diplomacy argument (despite their own researchers having published articles debunking the Chinese debt trap narrative). (Deborah Brautigam and Meg Rithmire, ‘The Chinese “Debt Trap” Is a Myth’, The Atlantic, 6 February 2021, https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2021/02/china-debt-trap-diplomacy/617953/.). However, they are not very useful in this particular case because, according to CARI itself, its database ‘does not track [debt] disbursements and repayments’.(‘Loan Data’, China Africa Research Initiative, Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, accessed 13 February 2023, http://www.sais-cari.org/data.). I36 Edwin Mutai, ‘Ouko Says Eurobond Billions Still a Mystery’, Business Daily Africa, 23 January 2018, https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/bd/economy/ouko-says-eurobond-billions-still-a-mystery–2186608; Steven Mvula and Frank Ching’ambu, ‘Where Did the Eurobond Given to ZR Go?’, Frontlines Zambia, 4 August 2022, https://frontlineszambia.com/archives/26311).
In other words, CARI only reports on newspaper announcements of loan contraction but does not track to see if the contracted loan left China and, if it did, if the recipient government in Africa subsequently paid it off or paid off portions of it. Therefore, CARI figures can be misrepresented in ways that vastly exaggerate the true stock of Chinese debt to Africa.

This goes to show that the current sovereign debt crisis currently engulfing the African continent is largely the creation of private creditors via the Eurobond craze that possessed and took hold of the continent in the second decade of the twenty-first century, helped along by the intellectual justifications of Dambisa Moyo and others. Eurobonds did not fix the problem of corruption that was said to be endemic with foreign aid, as Moyo argued they would. For example, hundreds of millions of dollars of Kenya’s first Eurobond issuance are said to have gone ‘missing’. In Zambia, questions have been raised about where the Eurobond money went.(Edwin Mutai, ‘Ouko Says Eurobond Billions Still a Mystery’, Business Daily Africa, 23 January 2018, https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/bd/economy/ouko-says-eurobond-billions-still-a-mystery–2186608; Steven Mvula and Frank Ching’ambu, ‘Where Did the Eurobond Given to ZR Go?’, Frontlines Zambia, 4 August 2022, https://frontlineszambia.com/archives/26311.).
In Mozambique, loans and bonds were illegally withdrawn and misused by state-owned enterprises (known as the Tuna Bond Scandal). As these cases illustrate, Western private bankers and creditors have facilitated this type of theft (‘Mozambique and the “Tuna Bond” Scandal’, Spotlight on Corruption, 9 February 2021, ; Lily Kuo, ‘Kenya’s Ex-PM Accuses US Banks of Helping the Government Steal $1 Billion from the Country’s First Eurobond’, Quartz, 4 January 2016, https://qz.com/africa/594324/kenyas-ex-pm-accuses-us-banks-of-helping-the-government-steal-1-billion-from-the-countrys-first-eurobond.).

Finally, analysing the sources of debt in Africa casts doubts on current multilateral initiatives aimed at resolving Africa’s sovereign debt crisis. One example is the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), launched by the G20 in May 2020, soon after the COVID-19 pandemic began to send shockwaves across the globe, to encourage bilateral and multilateral creditors to suspend interest payments on debt owed by poorer nations, including those in Africa, for a year. The DSSI was hardly successful, as many creditors – with the exception of a few, such as China – refused to suspend interest payments.(Alicia García-Herrero, Suman Bery, and Pauline Weil, ‘How Is the G20 Tackling Debt Problems of the Poorest Countries?’, Bruegel (blog), 25 February 2021,https://www.bruegel.org/blog-post/how-g20-tackling-debt-problems-poorest-countries; ‘China Says Has Given $2.1 Billion of Debt Relief to Poor Countries’, Reuters, 20 November 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-debt-g20-idUSKBN28009A.).
In addition, many analysts remarked that the DSSI was not fit for purpose, since it only applied to official debt (multilateral and bilateral), while the sovereign debt crisis was largely fuelled by a private bond crisis as shown above.

As the DSSI expired in June 2021 and the sovereign debt crisis got worse, the G20 launched the Common Framework for Debt Treatments, which would become the guiding mechanism for debt restructuring after the initial years of the pandemic. (‘The Common Framework for Debt Treatment beyond the DSSI’, Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Italian Government, accessed 13 February 2023, https://www.mef.gov.it/en/G20-Italy/common-framework.html). Unfortunately, it is bedevilled by many of the same problems that afflicted the DSSI. First, the Common Framework only has mechanisms for resolving official credit. But, as the above analysis shows, a substantial portion (and by far the largest single source) of Africa’s sovereign debt is owed to private bondholders and creditors. Their absence largely confines debt restructuring discussions to the theoretical sphere, with little practical value. Second, the Common Framework lays the ground for an official creditor committee, which in the case of Zambia is co-chaired by France and China. France is seen to represent the old Paris Club of creditor countries, which together make up a sizeable portion of the official credit given to Zambia. China is a co-chair given its emergence as an important source of credit to Africa, and Zambia in particular. However, the structure and governance of Zambia’s creditor committee with the two co-chairs has opened the country to geopolitical manoeuvrings and, in the process, largely paralysed the prospects for genuine debt restructuring anytime soon.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

IMF and our debt crisis

IMF and our debt crisis Featured

In 1919, John Maynard Keynes of the United Kingdom’s Treasury Department published a book that became a sensation. In the book, entitled The Economic Consequences of the Peace, Keynes observed that the Great War had ‘so shaken the system as to endanger the life of Europe itself’. (John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace (London: Palgrave Macmillan, [1919] 2019), 58.). The Treaty of Versailles, which ended the war, did not grasp the underlying problems that had led to the war and only cemented the victory of some countries against others. The treaty left structural problems intact, such as the ‘disordered finances’, in Keynes’ words, of many countries (not only Germany, which faced an enormous and unpayable reparations bill). The Wall Street Crash of 1929, the Sterling Crisis of 1931, and the Banking Panics of 1931–1933 revealed the underlying vulnerabilities of capitalism, with the ‘disordered finances’ being the spur towards the potential general collapse of the system. In 1936, Keynes published The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, a manual to save capitalism by a theoretical plea for governments to use state resources to recycle profits and balance an unbalanceable system. Keynes, who dabbled in eugenics theory, did not extend his views on state intervention to protect the system in the British colonies and prevent the decline of their population’s living standards.

When the United States invited its allies to Bretton Woods (New Hampshire) in July 1944 to discuss how to manage the structural crises that contributed to the Second World War, Keynes – who was one of the main figures at this meeting – said that it would be ‘the most monstrous monkey house assembled for many years’, suggesting that ‘twenty one countries [that] have been invited’ – presenting a list of primarily colonised countries, from Guatemala and Liberia to Iraq and the Philippines – ‘clearly have nothing to contribute and will merely encumber the ground’. (John Maynard Keynes, The Collected Writings of John Maynard Keynes: Volume XXVI, Activities
1941–1946. Shaping the Post-War World: Bretton Woods and Reparations, ed. D. E. Moggridge (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 42.)

Instead, Keynes preferred that the two founder states of the Bretton Woods Conference, the United Kingdom and the United States, ‘settle the charter and the main details of the new body without being subjected to the delays and confused counsels of an international conference’, as he explained a few years earlier. (International Monetary Fund, IMF History Volume 3 (1945–1965): Twenty Years of International Monetary Cooperation Volume III: Documents (Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund, [1969] 1996), 15.) In fact, Keynes (on behalf of the United Kingdom) and Harry Dexter White (on behalf of the United States) arrived at the meeting with two plans already drafted, which they put on the table and upon which the final Articles of Agreement for the International Monetary Fund as well as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (or the World Bank) were built. The other participants were largely onlookers.

Despite the limited input of most of the world, which was still under colonial rule, the purpose of the IMF as laid out in the Articles of Agreement was straightforward, none of it built to extend the power of the British imperial system. The main thrust of the articles was to assist the ‘expansion and balanced growth of international trade’ and to ‘contribute thereby to the promotion and maintenance of high levels of employment and real income and to the development of the productive resources of all members as primary objectives of economic policy’. (International Monetary Fund, Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund (Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund, 2020), https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/aa/pdf/aa.pdf). To establish these ‘primary objectives’, the IMF was tasked with preventing any short-term problems from becoming long-term crises, such as by maintaining exchange rate stability and facilitating loans to prevent balance-of-payments spirals ‘without resorting to measures destructive to national or international prosperity’. When the former colonial countries won their freedom, most of them became members of the IMF based on the Articles of Agreement, and in 1961, the IMF created its Africa Department. Until the Third World Debt Crisis that began to spiral with Mexico’s default in 1982, the IMF had primarily operated by providing short-term financing in a relatively modest fashion through the Compensatory Financing Facility (1963) and the Buffer Stock Financing Facility (1969). (International Monetary Fund Policy Development and Review Department, ‘Review of the Compensatory and Contingency Financing Facility (CCFF) and Buffer Stock Financing Facility (BSFF) – Preliminary Considerations’, International Monetary Fund, 9 December 1999, https://www.imf.org/external/np/ccffbsff/review/index.htm.).

In the aftermath of Mexico’s default, the IMF conducted what its managing director, Michel Camdessus, called the ‘silent revolution’. (James M. Boughton, The IMF and the Silent Revolution Global Finance and Development in the 1980s (International Monetary Fund, 11 September 2000), https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/silent/index.htm#3.).

Against its manifest purpose, the IMF began to respond to requests for short-term bridge financing by demanding that countries radically change their domestic economic policies as a condition for approval. Through their new programmes, the Structural Adjustment Facility (1986), and then the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (1987), the IMF put a singular recipe on the table: privatise the economy, including the state sector; commodify areas of human life that had up to that point been in the public domain; terminate any government deficit financing; and dissolve any barriers on foreign capital investment and trade (such as subsidies and tariffs). The IMF had experimented with these measures in Bolivia, Chile, and Peru in the 1950s with limited success before turning them into the basis for their policy not towards all countries, but specifically to be used against states in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, which struggled with an international economic system shaped by colonialism and capitalism. These were the countries that had championed the formation of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in 1964 to advance their own proposals to exit the neocolonial world order, proposals that were passed by the UN General Assembly in 1974 as the New International Economic Order (NIEO). The new IMF policy emerged in contest against the possibility of an NIEO, since rather than allow for a better deal for raw material prices or for tariff-subsidy arrangements, it demanded the withdrawal of all these anti-colonial schemes. Even Raghuram Rajan, the IMF’s own chief economist from 2003 to 2007, wrote in his book Fault Lines (2010) that the IMF’s policies appeared as a ‘new form of financial colonialism’. (Raghuram Rajan, Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2010), 93.).

The IMF’s ‘silent revolution’ intensified the crisis faced by the poorer nations, driving them into a spiral of indebtedness and poverty. The general formula for this spiral is as follows:

Countries go into short-term balance-of-payments debt because of their lack of capital – much of it stolen during the colonial period – and their reliance upon borrowing to conduct (often expensive) capital improvements in their countries (some of which are in the raw material extraction sector, thereby operating as a subsidy for foreign mining companies).
The IMF arrives and informs the finance ministries that government spending for education, healthcare, and other social development projects must be cut in order to prioritise payments to wealthy bondholders (in the London Club) and to governments – mostly the old colonial states – (in the Paris Club) who have lent them money.
To pay the debt servicing on these loans, the poorer nations cut their government spending, thereby impoverishing their people further, and export more of their cheapened raw materials (rather than more profitable finished products). When countries start to export more and more primary commodities, this produces a price war that leads to a steep decline in the revenues gained from the volume of exports.
With weakened revenues from imports, the poorer nations must continue to cut their social spending, ramp up their sales of raw materials and public assets, and borrow more money from external private and governmental sources… just to pay off the interest on their ballooning debt.
The imperative of ‘exchange rate stability’ prevents governments in the poorer nations from exercising any effective monetary policy – including implementing capital controls – while their fiscal policy is already eviscerated by balanced budget demands from the IMF, social spending cuts, and pressure from wealthy bondholders to ‘reform’ (i.e., surrender) their tax policy.
In 2016, senior members of the IMF’s research department published an article called ‘Neoliberalism: Oversold?’, which argued that the ‘adverse feedback loop’ set in motion by austerity, followed by increased inequality and then yet more austerity, had to be broken by a less rigid, less fundamentalist approach to ‘liberalisation’ and neoliberalism. (Jonathan D. Ostry, Prakash Loungani, and Davide Furceri, ‘Neoliberalism: Oversold?’ Finance and Deveopment 53, no. 2 (June 2016), https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2016/06/ostry.htm.).

There was even a suggestion of ‘greater acceptance of [capital] controls to deal with the volatility of capital flows’. While there was a decline in the conditions that the IMF required to receive their loans over the course of the decade before this paper was published, there is no evidence of any qualitative change in IMF policy. (Alexander E. Kentikelenis, Thomas H. Stubbs, and Lawrence P. King, ‘IMF Conditionality and Development Policy Space, 1985–2014’, Review of International Political Economy 23, no. 4 (2016): 543-582.).

Guinea, for instance – a country that has at least a third of the world’s bauxite – entered the IMF rollercoaster in 2011 and immediately became trapped in the debt-austerity cycle.(Lounceny Nabé and Kerfalla Yansané, ‘Guinea: Letter of Intent, Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies, and Technical Memorandum of Understanding’, International Monetary Fund, 20 June 2011, https://www.imf.org/external/np/loi/2011/gin/063011.pdf.). In 2014, the Guinean government of Alpha Condé wrote to the IMF that the ‘tight fiscal and monetary policy’ had led to a ‘reduction in spending, including on domestic investment’, which made it impossible for Guinea ‘to respect the indicative targets for spending in priority sectors’. (Mohamed Diaré and Lounceny Nabé, ‘Guinea: Letter of Intent, Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies, and Technical Memorandum of Understanding’, International Monetary Fund, 1 February 2014, https://www.imf.org/External/NP/LOI/2014/GIN/020114.pdf). In other words, Guinea borrowed to try and exit a crisis, but the borrowing itself led to cuts in social spending and deepened its crisis. In 2019–2020, the country experienced a cycle of protests sparked both by Condé’s attempt to change the constitution as well as the worsened economic situation. A UNICEF report found that, in 2019, twenty-five very poor countries spent more on debt servicing than on education, health, and social protection combined. Sixteen of those countries are on the African continent.(UNICEF Office of Research – Innocenti, COVID-19 and the Looming Debt Crisis, Innocenti Policy Brief 2021-01, Protecting and Transforming Social Spending for Inclusive Recoveries (Florence: UNICEF, April 2021), https://www.unicef-irc.org/publications/pdf/Social-spending-series_COVID-19-and-the-looming-debt-crisis.pdf, 15.). In the early months of the pandemic in 2020, the IMF offered to open up new windows for borrowing that they said would come without conditionalities. (Kristalina Georgieva, ‘The Next Phase of the Crisis: Further Action Needed for a Resilient Recovery’, IMF (blog), 16 July 2020, https://www.imf.org/en/Blogs/Articles/2020/07/16/blog-g20-md-the-next-phase-of-the-crisis-further-action-needed-for-a-resilient-recovery.).

The G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative and other such offers to pause debt payments suggested that the poorer nations would receive assistance to prevent total economic collapse and to gain access to vaccines. However, Oxfam found that thirteen of the fifteen IMF loan programmes during the second year of the pandemic (2021) required ‘new austerity measures such as taxes on food and fuel or spending cuts that could put vital public services at risk’. (Oxfam International, ‘IMF Must Abandon Demands for Austerity as Cost-of-Living Crisis Drives up Hunger and Poverty Worldwide’, Oxfam Press Release, 19 April 2022, https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/imf-must-abandon-demands-austerity-cost-living-crisis-drives-hunger-and-poverty.) The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index reveals that fourteen out of the sixteen countries in West Africa planned to cut their budgets by a total of $26.8 billion in 2021 to contain haemorrhaging national debt crises and that these policies have been encouraged by the IMF’s COVID-19 loans. (Matthew Martin et al., The West Africa Inequality Crisis: Fighting Austerity and the Pandemic, Oxfam and Development Finance International, 14 October 2021, https://oxfamilibrary.openrepository.com/bitstream/handle/10546/621300/rr-west-africa-cri-austerity-pandemic-141021-en.pdf, 4, 19.).

The evidence is clear: the IMF not only engineers austerity-driven debt crises, but its policies are designed to ensure and manage a permanent debt crisis, not to erase debt.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

IMF offers us no viable exit from a permanent debt crisis.

IMF offers us no viable exit from a permanent debt crisis. Featured

Before the COVID-19 pandemic was announced by the World Health Organisation in March 2020, our poorer nations already struggled with seriously high – and unpayable – levels of debt. Between 2011 and 2019, the World Bank reported, “public debt in a sample of 65 developing countries increased by 18 per cent of GDP on average – and by much more in several cases. In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, debt increased by 27 per cent of GDP on average” (Marcello Estevão and Sebastian Essl, ‘When the Debt Crises Hit, Don’t Simply Blame the Pandemic’, World Bank (blog), 28 June 2022, (https://blogs.worldbank.org/…/when-debt-crises-hit-dont…).

The debt crisis did not take place because of government spending on long-term infrastructure projects, which could eventually pay for themselves by increasing growth rates and allow these countries to exit from a permanent debt crisis. Rather, these governments borrowed money upon borrowed money to pay off older debts to wealthy bondholders, as well as to pay for their current bills (such as to maintain education, health, and basic civic services). “Among the thirty-three sub-Saharan countries in our sample”, the World Bank noted, “current spending outstripped capital investment by a ratio of nearly three to one” (Estevão and Essl, ‘When the Debt Crises Hit, Don’t Simply Blame the Pandemic’).

When the pandemic struck, countries that had adopted the World Bank-International Monetary Fund policy to grow their way out of the debt crisis floundered. Growth rates shrank, which meant that debt volumes ballooned, and so these governments decided to borrow more and adopt deeper austerity policies, which dramatically increased the debt burden on their populations.

Registering, in their own way, what is universally acknowledged as an intractable debt crisis in the poorer nations, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that a serious banking crisis is likely to emerge (while ignoring the factors driving this scenario). “Our updated global bank stress test shows that, in a severely adverse scenario, up to 29 per cent of emerging market banks would breach capital requirements”, the IMF wrote in October 2022.(International Monetary Fund, Global Financial Stability Report – Navigating the High-Inflation Environment (Washington, DC: IMF, October 2022),https://www.imf.org/…/global-financial-stability-report…).

This means that the context of high debt, high inflation, and low growth rates (with lowered employment expectations) could lead to the collapse of a third of the banks in the poorer nations.

Neither the IMF nor the World Bank nor indeed any of the international financial institutions (IFIs) have any credible pathway out of this crisis. Indeed, the IMF report surrenders to reality as it tells central banks across the globe to “avoid a de-anchoring of inflation expectations” and to ensure that “the tightening of financial conditions needs to be calibrated carefully, to aim at avoiding disorderly market conditions that could put financial stability unduly at risk”. (IMF, Global Financial Stability Report, ix).

The focus here is to keep ‘the market’ happy, while there is remarkably no care for the downward spiral of living conditions for the vast majority of the people on the planet. In its October 2022 Fiscal Monitor Report, subtitled ‘Helping People Bounce Back’, the IMF noted that while governments’ top priorities must be “to ensure everyone has access to affordable food and to protect low-income households from rising inflation”, they must not attempt “to limit price increases through price controls, subsidies, or tax cuts”, which would “be costly to the budget and ultimately ineffective”. (International Monetary Fund, Fiscal Monitor: Helping People Bounce Back (Washington, DC: IMF, October 2022), https://www.imf.org/…/2022/10/09/fiscal-monitor-october-22).

In January 2023, the IMF’s World Economic Outlook predicted a slightly better, albeit ‘subpar’, growth forecast but warned of continued worries of debt distress in the poorer nations, writing that “The combination of high debt levels from the pandemic, lower growth, and higher borrowing costs exacerbates the vulnerability of these economies, especially those with significant near-term dollar financing needs”. (International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Update: Inflation Peaking amid Low Growth (IMF, January 2023), https://www.imf.org/…/world-economic-outlook-update…).

The antidote to debt distress, according to the IMF, is “fiscal consolidation and growth-enhancing supply-side reforms”, namely more of the same old austerity-debt trap. If the governments of the poorer nations are told not to use these basic tools (which are used routinely in the richer nations), their only choice – as far as the IMF is concerned – is to borrow in order to provide even low levels of relief to the very poorest people in their countries. Effectively, the IMF has surrendered to the prevailing reality and offers the poorer nations no viable exit from a permanent debt crisis.

Fred M’membe President of the Socialist Party

Job creation under the Socialist Party government

Job creation under the Socialist Party government Featured

The Socialist Party (SP) will create employment once voted into power with a job-creation strategy centred around the three pillars of its social and political programme; education, health and peasant agriculture.

Under the SP government, schools will not be run the way they currently are. We will provide free education from nursery at the age of three all the way to university, and it will be compulsory up to grade 12.

Education will be a major undertaking in this country and will be allocated not less than 25 per cent of the national budget. Under this programme, teachers will not be left to manage and run schools on their own. In order to have an effective, efficient, and orderly system, the running of schools will include other professionals and a broad spectrum of workers, such as human resources personnel, information technology experts, accountants, marketing personnel, cleaners, drivers, mechanics, gardeners, nurses, clinical officers, and catering staff, among others. Schools, colleges and universities will need to be supplied with all sorts of teaching aids and other goods and services, and these will be produced in factories by our people, meaning that education will directly and indirectly be one of the biggest employers.

The health sector will also be used to create a number of jobs. By expanding Zambia’s health services – both in terms of quantity and quality – we will need to employ more people. This will entail a need for more nurses, clinical officers, doctors, pharmacists, radiographers, and many other health and general workers. In addition, our government will prioritise the manufacture of some of the medicines we use, even under licence. We will also need to create factories producing health equipment of all sorts. This, together with many other functions that will be added to health services, will create many more jobs.

Another sector that we will prioritise to create employment is peasant agriculture. And when we say peasant agriculture, we don’t mean that everyone will be carrying a kambwili, hoe and be tillers of land. There’s an urgent need to transform the way peasant agriculture is carried out.

We cannot increase agricultural production with a hoe, that’s for planting flowers around your house and a few beds of vegetables to feed a small family. Our plans are much bigger than that and will involve many jobs being created in the agricultural sector because of the transformations we will make.

Transformative peasant agriculture under this government will need new equipment, that is; appropriate ploughs, planters, harvesters and other necessities. To produce these, we will need to set up factories all over the country employing engineers and their technicians, human resources experts, accountants, IT experts, marketing and sales staff, drivers, mechanics, nurses and clinical officers to ran staff clinics, catering people to manage the staff cafeterias, and so on. Of course, our reality, as it stands today, is that we may not have all the engineering expertise required to set up and run these factories. We may have to rely on expatriate skills while we train our people in our schools, colleges and universities.

We will also need to set up factories producing agricultural chemicals. These will require us to employ a diverse range of scientists and other staff. In addition, we will need to create factories that produce veterinary medicines for our livestock. This undertaking will employ scientists, technicians, HR people, accountants, ICT experts, marketing and sales experts and many others. The medicines produced will need to be administered by vets, working with lab technicians. In this way we will be creating more and more jobs for our people.

And, of course, peasant agriculture will need to be financed. This will require us to create a myriad of financial institutions, such as agriculture banks and insurance companies. These institutions will employ bankers, lawyers, accountants, IT experts, insurance personnel and many others, again creating more and more jobs.The agricultural output produced by our factories will need to be delivered to our peasant farmers. This will create logistics jobs for drivers, mechanics and other support staff. Furthermore, the cotton we produce in Nyimba, Petauke, Katete, Chipata, Chadiza, Lundazi, Chama and other places, will not leave Eastern Province unprocessed. Textile factories will be established in employing people from all over the country in many, various roles. These factories will be producing reels of all sorts of cloth, but the cloth produced will not be exported as it is.

Clothing factories will be created to design and produce shirts, trousers, dresses, caps, canvas shoes, belts, and many other products. These factories will require sewing machines and needles so small factories will be created to manufacture and service the machines. The clothing factories will further need buttons and zips. The buttons can be produced from the horns of cattle, hard wood and stones, creating even more jobs. And the finished products will need to be packaged. This will require us to create factories producing packaging materials. Drivers will be needed to transport the finished products from the factories to the ports of Dar-es-Salam, Walvis Bay and Durban. Furthermore, delivery trucks will need to be serviced by mechanics. In this way, more jobs will be created.

Our strategies on cotton production and its processing and export will be extended to food crops. Small and large factories will be created all over the country to process agricultural produce. For instance, factories can be built to process tomato into jam, juice, soup, puree or paste. Some of these products can be exported, and some consumed locally, resulting in more jobs. In addition, it is important to also mention that there will be new jobs created in other sectors of our economy, such as mining, construction, forestry, and the provision of the many other services needed in an organised society.

Fred M’membe

Professionalism

Professionalism Featured

When some people are pushed to limit they rebel. It’s pleasing to some professionals refusing to do wrong things and resigning from their positions. This is the professional culture we would like to emerge in our country among those appointed to public office. This will certainly make politicians aware and mindful of interfering with the running of public institutions.

Consequently, political authorities will refrain in meddling in the operations of state run institutions for fear of office bearers stepping down whenever undue political interference at whatever level is exerted on the board and management decisions of public institutions which are supposed to operate independently.

Not too long ago, we saw the high profile resignation of the Bank of Zambia Governor and most recently the resignation of ZCCM-IH Board Chairperson. Whilst reasons for these resignations may never be provided, we can only conclude that, they relate to the divergence of views between the appointing authority and the concerned persons running public institutions. In a nutshell, political interference by the appointing authorities.

One common thread of the resignations we have cited is that these are individuals who have worked both local and abroad for reputable institutions and are highly qualified individuals who are well conversant with corporate governance issues and therefore, these resignations must have been triggered by their conscience on breaching corporate governance standards.

We urge the appointing authorities to take cognisance of these developments and strongly desist from interfering with the running of state institutions. This is evident from the recently leaked audio which involved a provincial minister, the Head of State and FRA Board chair.

We also urge professionals appointed in public office to extol their professionalism and resist from taking decisions imposed upon them by the appointing authorities. In the event the heat is too much, they should exemplarily step down. This is one way of strengthening our economy, institutional governance structures and at the same time reminding politicians to stay in their lane. After all, for one to be appointed in senior public office, it means the appointing authority is thoroughly satisfied with their competence to independently discharge their duties and therefore needless to interfere. It is a delegated responsibility to act on behalf of the appointing authority and make independent decisions without external undue influence.

This is a good development for the nation and hopefully those inhibited to discharge their duties due to interference will exercise their conscience to step aside.

Fred M’membe President of the Socialist Party

Debt

Debt Featured

We think it’s mischievous to say all benchmarks have been met when the IMF statement clearly sets out conditions to progress with the disbursement of US$188 million subject to financing assurances from debt restructuring.

How can they say all benchmarks have been met when there are outstanding conditions set out in the IMF statement? How can one be confident of the outcome when there are preconditions that have still not been met?

While we support the speedy conclusion of debt restructuring, we are not confident because the Minister of Finance has made numerous statements and given timelines in which they were expected to conclude the issue – timelines that have come and gone. How can one be confident when they keep changing timelines?

Secondly, the issue of debt restructuring being a panacea for our economic challenges is being amplified.

Over the past two years we have not been servicing our debt, so where have the savings gone? Once debt restructuring is concluded we will have to start paying the currently suspended debt, meaning we will have less money than we have had in the past two years. Will this solve our economic challenges? The answer is a categorical NO.

The real solution lies in formulating an internal system; an economic recovery plan focusing on industrialisation, expanding our existing manufacturing capacities – and introducing new ones – sound agriculture policy, reviewing tax waivers provided to the mining and other sectors, and energy sector reforms, among other things.

What is needed is to adopt a non-favourite child policy; to treat all creditors the same and engage with each credit category on a bilateral basis, in addition to the G20 Common Framework.

Fred M’membePresident of Socialist Party Zambia

Inflation

Inflation Featured

Inflation is a source of concern whenever it rises.

One of the key contributors to inflation rising is the depreciation of the Kwacha, as our country is import dependent. This is a structural issue with the state of our economy.

To address this issue we need to focus on industrialization, import substitution, and local content policy for goods manufactured locally to ensure we don’t import broken down parts just to be assembled in Zambia.

As an example, if you go to Builders’ Warehouse, work suits are imported from South Africa. Why can’t we incentivize our textile industry? We should be able to do this because we grow enough cotton. Military uniforms are imported. Why can’t we manufacture them locally? So increasing local production and promoting new manufacturing plants to lessen dependence on imports is a key policy measure for us.

Secondly, we have serious reservations about how inflation is measured currently and we will revisit the calibration of goods and services included in the inflation basket.

We would like Zamstats to avail the list of goods and services included in the inflation basket publicly so we can assess the relevance and weightings assigned, to ensure their practicality.

As an example, is it a fair representation to have hairpieces in the inflation basket but exclude fuel on account of the fact that the fuel impact is represented through the prices of goods affected by fuel?

The whole measurement methodology for both GDP and Inflation needs to be revisited.

Fred M’membe

That drama was not necessary

That drama was not necessary Featured

The drama at former president Edgar Lungu’s residence was totally unnecessary and is unjustifiable. Whatever crimes he or some members of his household were suspected to have committed, the police could have handled issues in a less dramatic and traumatising way.

We saw such practices under Mr Lungu’s reign and we strongly condemned them. Mr Hakainde Hichilema was a victim of such practices. Zambians of good will certainly don’t want such practices to continue even under feelings or reasons of vengeance.

It is a well-known fact that throughout history, those who administer or control the criminal justice system hold the power with the potential for abuse and tyranny. Let’s not go that way. We can do things better and in the right way.

Let’s pursue justice with compassion even when dealing with those who brutalised us. That’s the only way we will be able to build a more just, fair and humane society in our homeland.

These are really hard, difficult and challenging times. But they are not supposed to mean a situation in which things get worse and worse. It means a crossroads, a time for decisions and actions – in this case, about which way we want our society, politics and economy to go.

Fred M’membe
President of Socialist Party [Zambia]

NAPSA partial withdrawal

NAPSA partial withdrawal Featured

I again return to NAPSA partial withdrawal. There are fundamental issues on the NAPSA partial withdrawal:

  1. The policy has been implemented without sufficient sensitization of the beneficiaries on the implications of partial withdrawal and more importantly what they should do with the money. Moving funds from an investment account to a consumption account is not a wise decision. No training has been provided or mentorship workshops administered to school the beneficiaries on how to re-invest the funds in higher return investments. Zambia is well known for lacking a savings and entrepreneurship culture, coupled with the existing harsh economic conditions prevailing, it is likely that the benefits will be used for consumption without creating future wealth. Consequently, we risk creating destitutes at retirement.
  2. The NAPSA partial withdraw leaves us confused at a policy level as to what government is trying to achieve. In February this year, the Bank of Zambia increased the statutory reserve ratio to remove liquidity from the market in order to manage the rapid depreciation of the Kwacha and reduce the rate of inflation. We are told that NAPSA will payout K11 billion which means pumping liquidity into the market. The K11 billion liquidity being pushed into the market will more than offset the liquidity taken out by the Bank of Zambia decision. In a nutshell, one policy measure by the Bank of Zambia is being offset by NAPSA pumping additional liquidity in the market. The two policy measures undertaken contradict and cancel each other out.
  3. We are also concerned that NAPSA is being used as a cash cow by government, to participate in government securities subscription, provide loans to foreign entities to construct the Ndola-Lusaka dual carriage way and now partial pension withdrawals. How much milk can you squeeze out of this cow before it collapses?

Fred M’membe
President of Socialist Party [Zambia]

Labour Day

Labour Day Featured

These are very hard times! The cost of living is skyrocketing, jobs are being lost and becoming fewer and fewer, the few remaining jobs are being degraded and increasingly unsecure.

But in the midst of all these difficulties, challenges and sufferings let’s not forget that the workers have given us whatever we have, made us what we are, and will make us what we hope to be; and we thank them for all, and above all for giving us eyes to see, hearts to feel and voices to speak for the workers.

Labour Day is a good day to rest the hands and give the brain a chance – to think about what has been, and is, and is yet to be.

The way has been long and weary and full of pain, and many have fallen by the wayside, but the Unconquerable Army of Labour is still on the march and as it rests on its arms today and casts a look ahead, it beholds upon the horizon the first glowing rays of the Social Sunrise.

The Socialist Party Zambia and the Trade Union Movement must be one today in celebration of Labour Day and pledge each other their mutual fidelity and support in every battle, economic and political, until the field is won and the Workers are strong and in control. Forget not the past on Labour Day!

Comrades, this is the day for Workers to think of the Class Struggle and the Ballot—the day for Labour to clasp the hand of Labour and girdle the globe with the International Revolutionary Solidarity of the Working Class.

We are all one—all workers of all lands and climes. We know not colour, tribe, nor creed, nor sex in the Labour Movement. We know only that our hearts throb with the same proletarian stroke, that we are keeping step with our class in the march to the goal and that the solidarity of Labour will vanquish exploitation and Humanize the World.

It gets dark sometimes but the morning comes. Don’t lose hope, don’t give up!

Fred M’membe
President of Socialist Party [Zambia]

Are these shortages of mealie meal a produce of Socialism?

Are these shortages of mealie meal a produce of Socialism? Featured

Mr Hakainde Hichilema once attributed the shortages of essential commodities like cooking oil, and luxury items like Coca-Cola under the Kaunda era to socialist policies. He linked the shortages of basic commodities to socialism. He said, “communism and socialism failed, It did not just fail here it failed even in the heart of communism, so when I see advancement of those issues, sometimes I say, ‘do we want to go back to shortages. We heard of the cooking oil, queuing for cooking oil’… The Coca-Cola you take for granted today, was not there…”

Today, we have very serious mealie meal shortages that the country has not witnessed in a while in a very capitalist Zambia of Mr Hichilema! How does he explain this ideologically, and these shortages?

Our response to Mr Hichilema’s claims at that time was as follows:

IN DEFENCE OF OUR SOVEREIGNTY, DIGNITY AND SOCIALISM

By Dr Fred M’membe

It’s very sad that some key political leaders of our country don’t know or understand what caused shortages of cooking oil and other essential commodities during the last part of Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s reign.

These leaders are out of ignorance attributing the shortages of many consumer goods under the Kaunda era to socialism.

Firstly, the Kaunda government was not a socialist government. At most, Dr Kaunda can be said to have been a social democrat. And these were extremely honest leaders who cared more about their people than self enrichment. They had opportunities to enrich themselves like their colleagues did in Kenya and other African countries who robbed their people of land.

The period of shortages was at the height of the liberation struggle in southern Africa when the country was totally blockaded – with no dealings with South Africa, Namibia, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Angola, Mozambique, and Botswana was not the prosperous Botswana of today.

Tanzania was also not the Tanzania of today. And oil prices had shot up worldwide. They had to start companies to produce their own cooking oil and other essential commodities. And these were the companies some of these leaders denigrating them today came to privatise at very exorbitant fees or commissions and enriched themselves.

Thanks to the very high sacrifices our leaders and our people had make that made it possible for our leaders today to go to liberated South Africa and do deals with representatives of corporations that colonised, exploited and humiliated us for centuries.

People who claim to be economists should have a better understanding of things than this. This is really an exhibition of crass ignorance and dishonesty.

Socialism is not about, or synonymous with, shortages of mealie meal, cooking oil and other essential commodities.

How can someone in this era and age think having or drinking Coca-Cola is a big achievement, an indicator of economic and social prosperity? What is Coca-Cola anyway? A mixture of carbon dioxide, water, sugar and caffeine! Of what nutrition value is Coca-Cola anyway? It is actually dangerous and harmful to the human body.

And what is wrong with our people coming up with their drinks?

Is this how empty and pro imperialist they are? What will remain of this country at the end of their rule? Coca-Cola will be everything! They will own everything. What will remain under the ownership of our people?

Socialism is about a better and dignified life for all our people anchored on equity, solidarity, humility and honesty and sovereignty of their homeland.

And socialism has shown how poor nations can get out of poverty in the shortest historical times. Look at the achievements of Cuba – a country fought and blockaded for over 63 years. Without the minerals Zambia has, Cuba in 2020 had a GDP of around 107.35 billion U.S. dollars. GDP is an important indicator of a country’s economic power.

GDP in Zambia was expected to reach 24.00 USD Billion by the end of 2021. In the long-term, the Zambia GDP which has been pursuing unbridled neoliberal capitalist policies for more than 30 years is projected to trend around 27.00 USD Billion in 2023, according to some econometric models.
India’s socialist state of Kerale is leading in many economic and social indicators and scientific achievements.

Whatever their attempts to credit China’s achievements to capitalism, that is a great socialist state pursuing socialism with Chinese characteristics. And this what its leaders say. They attribute their economic successes to socialism.
We also have the successes of Vietnam.

The ignorant attempt to smear socialism and socialists to hide their greed and corruption quest to become billionaires won’t do. No matter what they say or do socialism will one day triumph in our homeland.

Capitalism has for centuries failed our people. Let them show us where capitalism has succeeded in Africa?

And more interesting is the fact that the most achievements scored in Zambia can be attributed to certain socialist inspired principles that were implemented in the country. The creation of free education, infrastructure development, creation of state owned enterprises that employed many and some which still stand today are as a result of having a human face towards national economic development which in itself is socialism.

Most leaders today who are a product of free education and other socially oriented programmes want to ridicule a system that moved them from poverty and then support imperialist policies that only benefit a few foreign interests.

Zambia definitely needs a citizen led economic development agenda which under a socialist government will be attained.

We want a Zambia where Zambians can have genuine businesses and not these crooked dealers, tenderpreneurs calling themselves businessmen.

Like China, Zambia will manage to free its people from poverty through socialism with Zambian characteristics.

It’s socialism and only socialism that can guarantee our sovereignty, dignity and prosperity.

Fred M’membe

Jumping from the frying pan into the fire and back again

Jumping from the frying pan into the fire and back again Featured

When a government targets for destruction the pillars that hold society together it is actually destroying itself.

There’s no doubt that this government of Mr Hakainde Hichilema has, from as early as late 2021, targeted the Catholic Church leadership, relatively influential politicians and civil society activists for neutralisation or destruction.

Among the highly targeted are Catholic bishops as well as PF and Socialist Party leaders.

But such methods have seldom produced the desired results. The only sure way of getting the best or positive results is by doing the right things; delivering the essential services needed by our people and giving them a better and happier life .

One can eliminate individuals and send opponents to jail or early graves but that doesn’t improve the living conditions of our people.

I see very dangerous signs that this government is turning tyrannical, into a killing machine.

But the ending of tyrants is always the same. They say those who live or rule by the sword perish by it.

It seems we have jumped from the frying pan into the fire and back again.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party [Zambia]

Hichilema’s very worrying comments, insinuations

Hichilema’s very worrying comments, insinuations Featured

The excitement of Mr Hakainde Hichilema over my carrying a firearm is very worrying.

He is passing judgement on a matter I am being prosecuted over by law enforcement agencies under his control and command. In more fair and just societies his comments and insinuations would constitute a very serious breach, prejudicing my case.

The fact that Mr Hichilema has never carried a firearm even when his life was in constant danger as an opposition leader doesn’t make my carrying a firearm illegal or unjustifiable.

It’s lawful for any Zambian to own and carry a licensed firearm and use it within legally permissible conditions and circumstances.

I have carried a firearm for most of my life. The life I have lived required me to carry a firearm, and I have been properly and adequately trained in the use of firearms.

The life Mr Hichilema has lived is very different from mine. His path in life is very different from mine. Each path in life is different.

It’s not fair and just for Mr Hichilema to prejudice my case. From his comments and insinuations it’s very clear that he is very excited about this case and he would like to see me fixed. And he seems to have serious problems concealing his excitement. But for now, let him keep his excitement and desires to himself and allow me a fair and unprejudiced trial.

The exercise of power must be a constant practice of self-limitation and modesty.

Fred M’membe
President of Socialist Party [Zambia]

Desperate mealie meal measures

Desperate mealie meal measures Featured

The desperate measures to address the mealie meal shortages won’t do.

The issuing of a Statutory Instrument by the Minister of Finance removing duties on the importation of mealie meal is a really desperate measure.

The real issue that needs to be addressed is maize parity pricing in the region. Our maize is too cheap in comparison to other countries in the region so the pressure of our maize leaving the country will always be there.

If, for instance, we allow regional market prices to prevail in Zambia then the issue of smuggling will be mitigated. However, the consequence of that is that mealie prices will sky rocket to K400/500 per 25kg bag, which the government knows can cause civil strife.

Despite duties being waived, the imported product will almost definitely land at a higher price than local product. A 25 kg bag of mealie meal in South Africa is presently retailing at R240, so add transportation and insurance costs and also financing costs from the banks, and the landed costs will be around K300.

Even under this duty waiver, the export pressure given highly lucrative prices in neighbouring countries will still incentivise the smuggling of the imported mealie meal.

Sadly, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) stocks have been depleted due to careless release of the maize reserve and, as alluded in my previous articles, we do not have a fallback position.

The challenge the government is faced with here in summary is twofold: trying to control or influence price and secondly, maintain steady supply. Now the laws of supply and demand dictate a price jump should supply lag. So we are caught between a rock and a hard place. Stabilise supply by increasing prices and people will react, increase supply at depressed prices and smuggling will continue with shortages persisting as a result.

Conclusion: it is unlikely that the Minister of Finance’s Statutory Instrument will help solve this problem until parity price in the region normalises.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

What has become of the UPND strategy to fix the economy?

What has become of the UPND strategy to fix the economy? Featured

What has happened to the strategies that Mr Hakainde Hichilema had on maize meal, on our staple food? Did they really know what they were saying?

We are truly in a crisis. And the desperate measures to address the mealie meal shortages won’t do.

The issuing of a Statutory Instrument by the Minister of Finance removing duties on the importation of mealie meal is a really desperate measure.

The real issue that needs to be addressed is maize parity pricing in the region. Our maize is too cheap in comparison to other countries in the region so the pressure of our maize leaving the country will always be there.

If, for instance, we allow regional market prices to prevail in Zambia then the issue of smuggling will be mitigated. However, the consequence of that is that mealie prices will sky rocket to K400/500 per 25kg bag, which the government knows can cause civil strife.

Despite duties being waived, the imported product will almost definitely land at a higher price than local product. A 25 kg bag of mealie meal in South Africa is presently retailing at R240, so add transportation and insurance costs and also financing costs from the banks, and the landed costs will be around K300.

Even under this duty waiver, the export pressure given highly lucrative prices in neighbouring countries will still incentivise the smuggling of the imported mealie meal.

Sadly, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) stocks have been depleted due to careless release of the maize reserve and, as alluded in my previous articles, we do not have a fallback position.

The challenge the government is faced with here in summary is twofold: trying to control or influence price and secondly, maintain steady supply. Now the laws of supply and demand dictate a price jump should supply lag. So we are caught between a rock and a hard place. Stabilise supply by increasing prices and people will react, increase supply at depressed prices and smuggling will continue with shortages persisting as a result.

Conclusion: it is unlikely that the Minister of Finance’s Statutory Instrument will help solve this problem until parity price in the region normalises.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

How credible are statements from govt?

How credible are statements from govt? Featured

Not too long ago, great concerns were being expressed by many citizens about the continuous depreciation of the Kwacha which was impacting the high cost of living.

The Minister of Finance, Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, explained that this was largely due the delayed debt restructuring programme.

We are delighted that the Kwacha has significantly appreciated in the last two days and we pray that this trend helps to lower the high cost of living. We also hope that it will have a consequential effect of maintaining inflation within the target range of 6-8 per cent. As SP, we are delighted because such positive developments will cushion the citizens from the high costs of living and improve their livelihoods.

However, in order to give confidence to the citizens on the sustainability of this positive move, can government clearly state what measures it has put in place for this positive change? We are aware that the debt restructuring programme has not been concluded, so what has changed and is this change sustainable?

You will recall that I did point out that the exchange rate was being impacted by multiple factors, but government insisted that the depreciation was largely driven by stalled debt restructuring talks. How credible are statements being issued by government? And based on this example can we as citizens believe what government is telling the nation?

Credibility is critical for citizens to buy into government pronouncements, failure to which the citizenry loses faith in government. Can the Minister of Finance explain circumstances leading to this new development seeing as debt restructuring is still stalled so as to enable citizens to better plan going forward.

Our take is that in addition to first quarter tax receipts, they have released huge amounts from international reserves under panic.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

NAPSA partial withdrawals

NAPSA partial withdrawals Featured

I have not so far commented on the NAPSA partial withdrawals. What was published under my name was Fake News.

Since it seems I am expected to say something let me do so.

An immediate impact on the government is that NAPSA is an anchor investor in government bonds. Therefore, releasing a projected 20 per cent partial payment of K11 billion will deprive NAPSA of the liquidity required to participate in government securities. Consequently, the government will be starved of the much-needed operational funding required to function. Note that in the April 27, 2023 bond auction of K2.6 billion, the government only raised K636 million, which was a massive under subscription. This can be partially attributed to NAPSA’s absence or its minimal participation in government bonds. Also, the uncertainty regarding debt restructuring has most likely resulted in non-resident bond players pulling out their investments upon maturity. This will certainly negatively impact the exchange rate further.

Added to this, inflation is now hitting double digits despite assurances by the Minister of Finance that it was unlikely to do so. Alas, the Statistician General announced on April 27 that the April inflation rate had reached 10.2 per cent.

All this points to a lack of comprehensive economic recovery policy/strategy by Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s UPND government. Instead of coming up with a master plan for the country’s economic recovery, it seems to be in “fire fighting mode”. Principally, it is focusing on day-to-day operational matters instead of formulating a strategic economic recovery master plan on how it will incentivise domestic value addition, bring Mopani and KCM on board, and come up with a clear policy on agriculture, among other things.

As long as the government remains operationally focused and not strategic, our economy is headed for doom.

The lack of consistent policies includes NAPSA partial withdrawals. On one hand, the Bank of Zambia raises the statutory reserve ratio in the market to stifle liquidity in the hope that the Kwacha depreciation can be tamed, as explained by the Minister of Finance; but at the same time there is a need to pump K11 billion back into the same market through partial NAPSA withdrawals, increasing liquidity in the market. So which is it to be? Decrease liquidity to tame Kwacha depreciation or increase liquidity to gain political mileage and appease the masses? What exactly is the policy direction?

Effectively, the fiscal side is cancelling out or neutralising the monetary policy measure. The right hand does not seem to know what the left hand is doing. Providing liquidity in an already starved market is a good measure to stir economic growth. Admittedly, inflation may be negatively affected, but we can live with that in the short term, but contracting the economy by reducing liquidity in the market is like removing blood from a patient. Achieving a single digit inflation number is meaningless if the patient dies. This is a very narrow perspective on how to solve the economic malaise of the country’s economy and grow it. A balance needs to be struck between creating an environment for economic growth while also managing inflation, and this may mean inflation trends outside the 6-8 percent target range for a while. However, once the economy starts to grow, inflation will drop as a consequence.

Fred M’membe

It’s time to do our own thing

It’s time to do our own thing Featured

It’s time to move away from Western economic hegemony and dictatorship and see things for ourselves, analyse things for ourselves and come to our conclusions.

We have been swallowing their recipes without chewing and blindly following their prescriptions. It’s time to take our own paths – and every path is different.

For example, take inflation targeting used blindly by the Bank of Zambia through interest rate hikes, it does not work for our country because very few Zambian companies/SMEs and individuals have access to credit which is used as a transmission mechanism for interest rate hikes in the hope that it subdues expenditure consequently bringing down inflation. But this cannot work in Zambia because very few people have credit and therefore not directly impacted by rate hikes.

By contrast in the Western world and a few African countries like South Africa literally everyone there has a credit facility – be it contract phone, domestic equipment/furniture hire purchase, credit card, home and motor vehicle finance and so on and so forth.

Those who disagree with what we are saying let them explain to us how this works in Zambia!

We know this is what the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund recommend. But is it working, is it the right way to go?

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

What democracy can the United States promote?

What democracy can the United States promote? Featured

On March 29-30, 2023, the United States will co-host the second Summit for Democracy with the governments of Costa Rica, the Netherlands, Republic of Korea, and Republic of Zambia. But what democracy can the United States government really promote or advance for an African country?

How many of our elected leaders and governments have the United States toppled and killed? …

(https://socialistpartyzambia.com/2022/12/01/the-united-states-will-co-host-the-second-summit-for-democracy-with-the-governments-of-costa-rica/)

What democracy can the United States really teach us or advance in our poor countries?

This is the country the Zambian government of Mr Hakainde Hichilema has hired itself to as a puppet. What a shame! What an embarrassment!

What democracy are they advancing or promoting with the United States? The AFRICOM type of democracy!

We urge them to retreat from this embarrassing neocolonial mentality and imperialist puppet, lackey behaviour.

They are stripping our country and our people of the anti-imperialist badge of honour they have worn since independence. For what? We have become the continent’s laughing stock.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Reflections on the economy

Reflections on the economy Featured

The Bank of Zambia has failed to meet the required K2.6 billion per bond auction as only K854 million was raised during the latest auction results published on February 17 this year.

The subscription rates are an economic barometer of the economy, as an over subscription is generally seen as mark of economic confidence by investors, while an under subscription is seen as a score for low investor confidence.

The Bank of Zambia, trying to raise funds on behalf of the government by issuing government bonds, only managed to raise K854 million out of the targeted K2.6 billion, an under subscription or low uptake of 32 per cent. Investors are on the fence due to uncertainty with regards to national debt restructuring.

We will not be surprised if the bankers of economic evils eventually start printing money.

These are the effects of removing liquidity from the markets. We strongly suspect financial institution participation in government securities has dwindled resulting in low subscriptions, meaning the funding of government operations will be negatively impacted.

And we don’t think this is caused by debt restructuring uncertainty as is being suggested. This should be seen as a direct consequence of low liquidity levels primarily, and the possible pull out of non-resident investors upon maturity of their securities. The rise in interest rates in the United States and Europe is also incentivising non-resident investors to pull out of emerging markets bond investments and redirecting back to the United States and Europe which carry less country risk than emerging markets, in other words in more secure economic environments.

The maturity risk is now materialising whereby offshore investors in government securities are now cashing out on maturity of their investments instead of rolling over. So we will now end in a net payout position for government securities with the following consequences:

(i) Depletion of international reserves as investors externalise their investment. The question is: what are the international reserves cover for offshore investment holding in government securities?

(ii) Pressure on the Kwacha with a medium-term outlook of continued depreciation, which will result in higher, imported inflation impact.
The question is: how will the increase in statutory reserve ratio, which has reduced liquidity in the market, mitigate this? Ultimately it appears this policy measure is impotent – for lack of a better word. Worse still, it slows down economic growth.

(iii) Under subscription in government securities, which is one of the main sources of funds for government operations, will significantly affect funding of government operations, including civil servants’ payroll.

Based on February 17 under subscription of only K845 million out of a total offer of K2.6 billion means the government has to look elsewhere to raise funds for the shortfall. The question is: given the already underperforming economy, what alternatives does government have? External loans. But who will be ready to give us loans? The commercial loans window is closed given the debt default and limited bilateral funding.

Where to as a country?

• Reverse the generous tax holidays given to the mining sector.
• Engage China on a bilateral basis to give us a three-year moratorium on its debt while we grapple with the never-ending IMF-G20 common framework.
• Introduce austerity measures, including government-wide international travels at all levels, including for the Head of State.

Lastly, reverse wrong monetary policy decisions taken by the Bank of Zambia to increase the statutory reserve ratio. The under subscription in government securities, stated above, is partially due to reduced participation of the banks in subscribing to government securities. It is also clear that this policy direction will not impact the exchange rate depreciation as it is now evident that the forex demand side is significantly driven by non-resident/offshore investors cashing out and not rolling over their government securities. This is a highly misdirected policy decision. As if this is not enough, the MPC was further increased by 0.25 per cent, making it unbearable for those with commercial loans and those intending to borrow. We hope your new 4×4, which was funded using vehicle and asset finance, will not be taken away if you default due to the high cost of credit.

Austerity measures should also include Mr Hakainde Hichilema moving to Nkwazi House to defray his daily transportation costs to and from his not so Community House and route lining costs. The country is bleeding and we can’t keep up with the same excuse of Nkwazi House being uninhabitable when ordinary citizens are going without food.

A leader should lead by example from the front and demonstrate that he, too, is sacrificing.

Fred M’membe

Tribalism in Zambia Police

Tribalism in Zambia Police Featured

There is a need for Mr Hakainde Hichilema to explain why Zambia Police key command positions at all levels and in all departments or units are predominantly occupied by people from one ethnicity and related ethnicities almost to the exclusion of all others.

Is it by pure merit or coincidence that:

  1. Inspector General of Police Lemmy Kajoba is KAONDE?
  2. Deputy Inspector General of Police (State House) Fanwell Siandenge is TONGA?
  3. Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations) Milner Libusa Muyambango is LOZI?
  4. Deputy Inspector General of Police (Administration) Doris Nayame is MAMBWE?
  5. Director Administration Byemba Musole is LOZI?
  6. Director CID Yuyi Mwala is LOZI?
  7. Deputy Director CID Maxwell Timba is TONGA?
  8. SPIO (Intelligence) Mweemba Robertson is TONGA?
  9. PRO Rae Hamoonga is TONGA?
  10. Commissioner Administration Auxensio Daka (who is said to have been recommended by the late president Lupiya Banda) is NSENGA?
  11. Quarter Master Mubita Munenbo is LOZI?

STATE HOUSE POLICE:

  1. DIG Fanwell Siandenge is TONGA?
  2. Aide de Camp Shapa Wakung’uma is LOZI?
  3. Commissioner of Police Justin Moolo is TONGA?
  4. In Charge Administration Malambo is TONGA?
  5. In Charge Intelligence Chiwala is TONGA?
  6. In Charge Operations Lumanyendo (a relative of Siandenge and coming from the same village) is TONGA?
  7. Senior Driver Mubiana is LOZI (but they often opt to use his junior Mbaimba who is TONGA)?
  8. In Charge Bodyguard Siandiza is TONGA?
  9. Callabashi-Mrs Serah Mwenya (BEMBA)?
  10. Armoury in Charge Mumeka is KAONDE?
  11. Food Analyst Mazaza is LUNDA?
  12. In Charge Garage Kakeja is KAONDE?
  13. Quarter Master Mukolo is LOZI?

COMMISSIONERS OF POLICE:

  1. Lusaka Province – Kreto Nkaanza is TONGA?
  2. Copperbelt Province – Peacewell Mweemba is TONGA?
  3. Central Province – Mukuka Davies Chileshe (who is a close associate of Deputy Inspector General Muyambango) is BEMBA?
  4. Eastern Province – Limpo Liwali is LOZI?
  5. Northern Province – Gloria Mulele (a very close associate of DIG operations Milner Muyambango) is TONGA?
  6. Muchinga Province – Mubaanga Kaunda is LUNDA?
  7. Luapula – Fwambo Siame is MAMBWE?
  8. Southern – Paul Achiume is TUMBUKA?
  9. North Western Province – Dennis Moola is TONGA?
  10. Western Province – Roy Kashimba is LUNDA?

UNIT COMMANDERS:

  1. Paramilitary – Yobe Luhana (who is step brother to Deputy Inspector General Siandenge) is TUMBUKA?
  2. Protective Unit – Fred Hamamba is TONGA?
  3. Airport – Robison Moonga is TONGA?
  4. Lilayi College – Desmond Mwaanza is TONGA?
  5. TAZARA – Simon Mbaulu is LUVALE?
  6. Mobile Unit – Pethias Siandenge (who is younger brother of Deputy Inspector Siandenge) is TONGA?

PROVINCIAL POLICE
INTELLINGENCE:

  1. Lusaka Province – Malambo Muchinda is TONGA?
  2. Northern Province – James Chiti is BEMBA?
  3. Luapula Province – Chimuli Kapenda is LUVALE?
  4. Muchinga Province – Munankopa Nesbert is TONGA?
  5. North Western Province – Abel Chifumpa is LENJE?
  6. Southern Province – Clement Matomola is LOZI?
  7. Central Province – Limwanya Kapupa is LOZI?
  8. Copperbelt Province – Chris Chipepo Chiyabi is TONGA?
  9. Eastern Province – Edify Milambo is TONGA?
  10. Western Province – Joe Malumo is LOZI?

UNIT INTEL OFFICERS:

  1. College – Mponyela Ireen is LOZI?
  2. Mobile Unit – Kanondo Royd is LUNDA?
  3. TAZARA – Fwankila is TONGA?
  4. Airport – Mbwainga Harry is TONGA?
  5. Protective Unit – Kaumbi Lilian is LOZI?
  6. Paramilitary – Neverson Mpundu is BEMBA?

These are the key positions in Zambia Police.
Like Deputy Inspector General Siandenge, some of these officers were part of the UPND security team. Two of Deputy Inspector General Siandenge’s brothers are in charge of the two striking police units – paramilitary and mobile units.

Where does this staffing of the police leave the opposition when it comes to policing politics and elections? Would Mr Hichilema keep quiet and accept this if he was in opposition?

These are honest questions seeking honest answers.

Fred M’membe
President of Socialist Party Zambia

More money problems!

More money problems! Featured

The Bank of Zambia has issued an instruction to commercial banks in Zambia to reduce money circulation further by increasing the statutory reserve ratio it holds.

The statutory reserve ratios, “will be increased by 2.5 percentage points to 11.5 per cent from the current 9.0 per cent. The revised statutory ratio of 11.5 per cent will be based on the weekly return of selected assets and liabilities from next Wednesday, February 8 2023.

The decision by the Bank of Zambia to increase the bank reserve ratio means more money problems for Zambians.

In a word, the Bank of Zambia move has effectively squeezed money out of circulation which will force commercial banks to only deal or lend money to pristine clients like mines or big business.

The ordinary already poor Zambian shall suffer even more as money is squeezed out of the market and suppliers are not paid, its going to be tough for many poor Zambians.

What Zambians need is more money and not less money – more, and not less, money in circulation.

Say increases minimum balance on your savings account from K500 to K600. Which means whilst previously you could access K500 of your money if your account balance is K1,000, now you can only access K400. To put this into perspective, it means all commercial banks balances held by the Bank of Zambia, the commercial banks will have 2.5 per cent reduction on the funds they can access for onward lending to their clients. Nationally it means commercial now have less funds to lend when SMEs that are crying for access to credit.

Clearly, there’s a lot of pressure on the Bank of Zambia to keep the exchange rate low in line with the promise made by Mr Hakainde Hichilema to keep athe Kwacha appreciating.

This will mean more money because increasing the (reserve requirement) ratios reduces the volume of deposits that can be supported by a given level of reserves and, in the absence of other actions, reduces the money stock and raises the cost of credit.

Reserve requirements are one of the monetary policy tools the Bank of Zambia uses to implement monetary policy. However, an over employment of changes in reserve requirements to enact monetary policy can be very detrimental. Open market operations are a much more precise tool.

A change in the reserve requirement ratio affects bank credit and the money stock. Reserve requirements are the percentage of deposits that depository institutions must hold in reserve and not lend out.

There are several reasons why reserve requirements are not frequently changed, the most important of which is that open market operations provide a much more precise tool for implementing monetary policy.

The impact of changes in reserve requirements is difficult to estimate; each change has the potential to affect depository institutions in different ways, depending on each institution’s deposit base. Changes in reserve requirements also my lead to changes in pricing schedules for some bank services, because some bank fees and credits are set based on reserve requirements.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

WHAT’S FUELLING TRIBAL POLITICS DEBATES? Featured

It seems Mr Hakainde Hichilema and the UPND are perched on the defensive over accusations of tribalism. Why? Probably it is because of the promises they made to have a tribal and regionally balanced and representative government. Critiques are asking if what they are seeing is equal to what they were promised:

  • President (Tonga)
  • Vice-President (Bemba married to a Lozi)
  • Speaker (Lozi)
  • Chief Justice (Lenje)
  • Acting President of the Constitutional Court (Lozi)
    Attorney General (Lenje)
  • Solicitor General (Tonga)
  • Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission (Lozi)
  • Chairman of the Judicial Complaints Commission (Tonga)
  • Commissioner of Lands (Tonga)
  • Chief Legal Advisor to the President (Lozi)
    Minister of Justice (Tonga).

They are saying the key state institutions and the country’s justice system are basically is the hands of Tongas and Lozis (with very little or no meaningful participation from the rest)

They are saying the same about the key government ministries (Ministries that are not easily done away with by any government):

  • Home Affairs (Tonga)
  • Local Government (Tonga)
  • Education (Tonga)
  • Tourism (Tonga)
    -Justice (Tonga)
  • Foreign Affairs (Lenje)
  • Health (Soli)
  • Defence (Luvale)
  • Infrastructure (Lozi)
  • Finance (Lozi)
  • Lands (Lunda)
  • Governor of Bank of Zambia (Tonga).

The rest are, in the main, pushed to ministries that can easily be done away and receive very limited budgetary allocations.

They say the picture is the same for key defence and security agencies:

  • Zambia Army Commander (Lozi)
  • Zambia Air Force Commander (Kaonde)
  • ZNS Commandant (Luvale)
  • Inspector General of Police (Kaonde)
    Director General of Intelligence (Lozi)
  • Commissioner General of Correctional Services (Tonga)
  • Chief Immigration officer (Lozi)

They are saying in all these key command defence and security positions there’s no one from the East or the North as the political leadership to keep the tribal and regional balance the political leadership had promised.

They are also pointing to the Electoral Commission of Zambia:

  • chairperson (Lozi)
  • vice-person (Mambwe)
  • the other three commissioners are Tonga, Lozi and Lunda

There’s no one from the East or the North proper.

These concerns are raised about lower positions in these and other state, government and quasi government institutions and agencies.

These are the concerns they are raising and the response is to label them tribalists, divisive elements and prosecute or persecute them on charges of tribal hatred.

With these concerns and the debates they are generating our multiparty political dispensation is back on the spot. The concern is no longer the lack of political pluralism or diversity, but the hijacking of the political processes by tribal politics.

The challenge to our multiparty political dispensation is not the prevalence of ethnic diversity, but the use of identity politics to promote narrow tribal interests. It is tribalism.

But the African experience over the last six decades has
shown us the dangers of ethnic competition and underscore the importance of building nations around ideas rather than clan identities.

In the absence of efforts to build genuine political parties with clear ideologies that compete on the basis of ideas, we have reverted to tribal identities as foundations for political competition.

Leaders are often exploiting tribal loyalty to advance personal gain, parochial interests, patronage, and cronyism. How else can one explain the tribal or regional voting that was confirmed by a Commission of Inquiry following the 2016 elections?

We shouldn’t forget the fact that tribes are not built on multiparty democratic ideas but thrive on zero-sum competition. As a result, they are inimical to multiparty democratic advancement.

In essence, tribal practices are occupying a vacuum created by lack of strong multiparty democratic institutions. The political parties are unable to find common ground through coherent party manifestos and ideological positions.

Many members of our political parties often don’t even know that their parties have manifestos.

The manifestos are generally issued just before the elections because much of the effort goes into regional manoeuvring and building tribal alliances.

Tribal politicians are clever and calculating.
They are quick to dress in the latest fashion and co-opt emerging trends to preserve their identities. They buy influence and create convenient alliances.

Their sole mission is self-preservation, with the side effect of subverting multiparty democratic evolution.
For them tribal politics is a zero-sum game.

The way forward for our multiparty democracy lies in concerted efforts to build modern political parties founded on strong ideological foundations, clear development ideas and not tribal bonds.

Such political parties must base their competition for power on ideological and development platforms.

Defining party platforms will need to be supported by the search for ideas – not the appeal to tribal coalitions.

Political parties that create genuine ideological and development platforms will launch initiatives that reflect popular needs.

Those that rely on manipulating ethnic alliances will bring sectarian animosity into government business by appointing to key government positions people from their tribes and allied ethnicities.

Party manifestos should fundamentally be documents in which parties outline their principles and goals in a manner that goes beyond popular rhetoric and cheap promises. They should arise from careful discussion, compromise, and efforts to express the core values and commitments of the party.

But building clear party platforms requires effective intellectual input, usually provided through think-tanks and other research institutions. Most of our political parties lack such support and generally their manifestos are cobbled together with little consultation.

Tribal groupings see themselves as infallible but parties have to be accountable to the people.

By stating a vision for the future, political parties provide voters with ways to measure their performance on all fronts.

Forging platforms fosters debate within parties that transcend tribal differences. Such debates are a central pillar of multiparty democracy. Building modern political parties and associated think-tanks is, therefore, the most urgent way to counter tribal politics. Policy debate is a key element of multiparty democracy.

Specific manifestos would foster healthy political competition that would force parties to distinguish themselves from each other. Conversely, such debates would also help to illustrate areas of common interest.

Indeed, it is becoming clear that issues such as poverty, infrastructure – energy, transportation, agriculture and food, and telecommunication – and youth employment are emerging as common themes in our politics irrespective of ideological differences.

So long as multiparty democracy offers the best chance for sustained growth and prosperity, tribal politics must be replaced by genuine party platforms and modern democratic institutions like think-tanks.

Otherwise our road to doom will continue to be paved by tribal intentions.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

What’s  fueling tribal politics debates?

What’s fueling tribal politics debates? Featured

It seems Mr Hakainde Hichilema and the UPND are perched on the defensive over accusations of tribalism. Why? Probably it is because of the promises they made to have a tribal and regionally balanced and representative government. Critiques are asking if what they are seeing is equal to what they were promised:

  • President (Tonga)
  • Vice-President (Bemba married to a Lozi)
  • Speaker (Lozi)
  • Chief Justice (Lenje)
  • Acting President of the Constitutional Court (Lozi)
    Attorney General (Lenje)
  • Solicitor General (Tonga)
  • Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission (Lozi)
  • Chairman of the Judicial Complaints Commission (Tonga)
  • Commissioner of Lands (Tonga)
  • Chief Legal Advisor to the President (Lozi)
    Minister of Justice (Tonga).

They are saying the key state institutions and the country’s justice system are basically is the hands of Tongas and Lozis (with very little or no meaningful participation from the rest)

They are saying the same about the key government ministries (Ministries that are not easily done away with by any government):

  • Home Affairs (Tonga)
  • Local Government (Tonga)
  • Education (Tonga)
  • Tourism (Tonga)
    -Justice (Tonga)
  • Foreign Affairs (Lenje)
  • Health (Soli)
  • Defence (Luvale)
  • Infrastructure (Lozi)
  • Finance (Lozi)
  • Lands (Lunda)
  • Governor of Bank of Zambia (Tonga).

The rest are, in the main, pushed to ministries that can easily be done away and receive very limited budgetary allocations.

They say the picture is the same for key defence and security agencies:

  • Zambia Army Commander (Lozi)
  • Zambia Air Force Commander (Kaonde)
  • ZNS Commandant (Luvale)
  • Inspector General of Police (Kaonde)
    Director General of Intelligence (Lozi)
  • Commissioner General of Correctional Services (Tonga)
  • Chief Immigration officer (Lozi)

They are saying in all these key command defence and security positions there’s no one from the East or the North as the political leadership to keep the tribal and regional balance the political leadership had promised.

They are also pointing to the Electoral Commission of Zambia:

  • chairperson (Lozi)
  • vice-person (Mambwe)
  • the other three commissioners are Tonga, Lozi and Lunda

There’s no one from the East or the North proper.

These concerns are raised about lower positions in these and other state, government and quasi government institutions and agencies.

These are the concerns they are raising and the response is to label them tribalists, divisive elements and prosecute or persecute them on charges of tribal hatred.

With these concerns and the debates they are generating our multiparty political dispensation is back on the spot. The concern is no longer the lack of political pluralism or diversity, but the hijacking of the political processes by tribal politics.

The challenge to our multiparty political dispensation is not the prevalence of ethnic diversity, but the use of identity politics to promote narrow tribal interests. It is tribalism.

But the African experience over the last six decades has
shown us the dangers of ethnic competition and underscore the importance of building nations around ideas rather than clan identities.

In the absence of efforts to build genuine political parties with clear ideologies that compete on the basis of ideas, we have reverted to tribal identities as foundations for political competition.

Leaders are often exploiting tribal loyalty to advance personal gain, parochial interests, patronage, and cronyism. How else can one explain the tribal or regional voting that was confirmed by a Commission of Inquiry following the 2016 elections?

We shouldn’t forget the fact that tribes are not built on multiparty democratic ideas but thrive on zero-sum competition. As a result, they are inimical to multiparty democratic advancement.

In essence, tribal practices are occupying a vacuum created by lack of strong multiparty democratic institutions. The political parties are unable to find common ground through coherent party manifestos and ideological positions.

Many members of our political parties often don’t even know that their parties have manifestos.

The manifestos are generally issued just before the elections because much of the effort goes into regional manoeuvring and building tribal alliances.

Tribal politicians are clever and calculating.
They are quick to dress in the latest fashion and co-opt emerging trends to preserve their identities. They buy influence and create convenient alliances.

Their sole mission is self-preservation, with the side effect of subverting multiparty democratic evolution.
For them tribal politics is a zero-sum game.

The way forward for our multiparty democracy lies in concerted efforts to build modern political parties founded on strong ideological foundations, clear development ideas and not tribal bonds.

Such political parties must base their competition for power on ideological and development platforms.

Defining party platforms will need to be supported by the search for ideas – not the appeal to tribal coalitions.

Political parties that create genuine ideological and development platforms will launch initiatives that reflect popular needs.

Those that rely on manipulating ethnic alliances will bring sectarian animosity into government business by appointing to key government positions people from their tribes and allied ethnicities.

Party manifestos should fundamentally be documents in which parties outline their principles and goals in a manner that goes beyond popular rhetoric and cheap promises. They should arise from careful discussion, compromise, and efforts to express the core values and commitments of the party.

But building clear party platforms requires effective intellectual input, usually provided through think-tanks and other research institutions. Most of our political parties lack such support and generally their manifestos are cobbled together with little consultation.

Tribal groupings see themselves as infallible but parties have to be accountable to the people.

By stating a vision for the future, political parties provide voters with ways to measure their performance on all fronts.

Forging platforms fosters debate within parties that transcend tribal differences. Such debates are a central pillar of multiparty democracy. Building modern political parties and associated think-tanks is, therefore, the most urgent way to counter tribal politics. Policy debate is a key element of multiparty democracy.

Specific manifestos would foster healthy political competition that would force parties to distinguish themselves from each other. Conversely, such debates would also help to illustrate areas of common interest.

Indeed, it is becoming clear that issues such as poverty, infrastructure – energy, transportation, agriculture and food, and telecommunication – and youth employment are emerging as common themes in our politics irrespective of ideological differences.

So long as multiparty democracy offers the best chance for sustained growth and prosperity, tribal politics must be replaced by genuine party platforms and modern democratic institutions like think-tanks.

Otherwise our road to doom will continue to be paved by tribal intentions.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

What was Yellen’s  visit to Zambia for?

What was Yellen’s visit to Zambia for? Featured

What was the purpose of US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s trip to Zambia and other African countries? To address Zambia’s debt with China, to undermine China’s position in Zambia and Africa, and for what? Critical minerals!

And it coincided with International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Kristalina Georgieva’s visit to Zambia. What was Georgieva’s mission to Zambia? The answer was transparent in all her meetings in Zambia, including one with President Hakainde Hichilema – the media was present. From what we observed this was nothing but a PR stunt by the IMF to claim that the institution had become better and more humane.

Zambia has requested a 38-month arrangement from the IMF under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement (ECF) in the amount of SDR 978.2 million (Special Drawing Rights) – 100 percent of Zambia’s quota. The proposed ECF-supported programme aims to restore macroeconomic stability and foster higher, more resilient, and more inclusive growth.

To support this, the IMF is seeking extensions of maturity dates and reduction of interest payments. But there are serious challenges. Unlike the debt relief efforts of the 1990s and early 2000s, where lenders were mainly bilateral and multilateral – and all belonged to the Paris Club – today, lenders include private bond market holders.

Presently, the lenders have different characteristics and motives. And today there’s also China, which was not one of the lenders of the 1990s and 2000s. The Chinese debt is a mixed basket of private, quasi-government and government creditors. This makes it very difficult to reach a common framework.

Even when the characteristics of the lenders were similar under the Paris Club it took more than ten years to agree on the debt relief we received in the early 2000s. And how long has it taken the IMF and the Zambian government to reach a deal? They started negotiating in 2017. This complex mixture of lenders may take a long time to reach a deal or some consensus. It will certainly not be fair and just to blame China for this.

The truth is that following the “China debt-trap” narrative being thoroughly exposed as a fraud internationally, there is a new two-pronged game in town: China must bail out Western bondholders controlling the debt of many nations in distress; at the same time, the International Monetary Fund, the US, and the EU are pressuring those nations to abandon infrastructure projects financed by China in return for debt relief. In the case of Zambia, the IMF made this very clear.

This seems to be the goal of the visit by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to Zambia, i.e. making Zambia an example or a template for this new push to block the Belt and Road Initiative and China-Africa cooperation, which is soundly based on building infrastructure (transport, power, water management, modern telecommunications, healthcare and education) and modern agriculture and industry. This is the way, as China proved at home, for these nations to escape the double traps of poverty and chronic debt distress. At the same time, the looting of the raw materials of African nations by the same nations’ transnational corporations continues with great vigour and malice under the guise of reforms, privatisation, and investment incentives. In the case of Zambia, the situation is probably as bad as it was in the colonial period.

The debt distress experienced by these countries predates China’s involvement through the Belt and Road Initiative in Africa and Asia and, was made worse with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. It continued as inflation in global energy and commodity prices maintained pressure throughout 2021, and finally dramatically worsened with the outbreak of the Ukraine crisis in February last year.

The nations that rely heavily on imports of fuel, food, and fertilisers are the worst hit. Zambia is a case in point. Zambia already defaulted in November 2020 on Eurobonds (not Chinese debt service) and has been negotiating a financial assistance package with the IMF and international creditors. Zambia had resorted to borrowing heavily from international private bond markets even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the commodity prices plunge took place in 2014, Zambia entered a major financial crisis, pushing it to resort to borrowing from international private bond markets. In 2014, Zambia issued Eurobonds worth US$1bn, in a deal supported by the IMF and managed by Deutsche Bank and Barclays. In 2015, another US$1.3 billion Eurobond was issued. The interest rate was an incredible 9.3 per cent. Maturity time for these bonds varied between seven and 11 years. The Eurobond issuances were intended to fill a gap in the budget deficit of US$ 2 billion, and not to invest in any productive processes.

In November 2020, the country defaulted on a US$42.5 million payment on one of the Eurobonds. This was not because the Zambia government couldn’t raise this amount of money. Its advisors on debt told them not to pay it because it would make other lenders less eager to cooperate on its debt relief efforts.

For the IMF it is a matter of the same recipe being repackaged with better public relations in light of its dented image in the Global South.

The exact same mistake is being made in the new “debt relief” arrangements of the IMF, which focus on filling fiscal gaps in government finances rather than developing the economy. New loans ease emergency needs and will be consumed without any impact on improving the productivity of society. The new loans will mature sooner or later and the vicious cycle will be repeated.

The demands being made by the West on China and the type of conditions being imposed by the IMF on Zambia in return for assistance reveal several objectives that could be problematic for China and the Belt and Road Initiative:

The call on China to provide more assistance in the IMF-driven debt restructuring of Zambia implies that China contributes to bailing out Western private sovereign bond holders, who themselves are pressed by the global financial crisis.

The IMF is demanding that Zambia stop borrowing (from China without naming it by name) for important infrastructure projects.

Zambia is being pressured by the IMF to resort to “public-private partnership” in financing and building infrastructure. This means that many projects will not be achieved, as their financial yield would be deemed as too small or non-existent by private investors. Or, otherwise, certain vital strategic facilities will be privatised and owned by foreign interests.

There is a risk of asset grabbing by the same Western interests and their allies focused on strategic raw materials.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s counsellor Brent Neiman said in a speech on September 20 last year that China’s lack of cooperation with the G-20 and the IMF on debt relief could burden dozens of low- and middle-income countries with years of debt-servicing problems, lower growth and underinvestment.

“China’s enormous scale as a lender means its participation is essential,” Neiman said in the speech citing estimates that China has US$500 billion to US$1 trillion in outstanding official loans, mainly to low- and middle-income countries. However, these numbers are difficult to ascertain and it is not clear to what projects and what countries these loans were extended.

China’s share of Zambia’s foreign debt is a mere 30 percent. The real culprits that Yellen should be focusing on are the Western private bondholders. It became obvious that the IMF’s main conditionality to help Zambia was to cut a deal first on repayment of the debt of Western bondholders.

The statements by Yellen and other American officials are being used in Western media to show that China’s unwillingness to help the IMF programmes is undermining the efforts to help poor nation with debt restructuring. But China is doing the right thing by avoiding the IMF methods and focusing instead on its own solutions.

Zambia is Africa’s second largest exporter of copper and other industrial minerals like cobalt and gold. But while the mining sector constitutes 70 to 80 percent of the country’s exports, it does not contribute more than four to five percent of government revenues, because foreign Western companies largely own the mining sector. The absolute largest of these are: Glencore PLC (Glencore Xstrata PLC), Konkola Copper Mines PLC (Subsidiary of Vedanta Resources), Barrick Gold Corp, First Quantum Minerals Ltd, Axmin Inc., Caledonia Mining Corp, Lubambe Copper Mine Limited, Trek Metals Limited (Zambezi Resources Pty Ltd).

Only one major company is Chinese, China Nonferrous Metals Corporation (CNMC).

Most of the profit from mining does not return to the country. In 2021, Zambia estimated exports were US$8.1 billion. Copper accounted for US$6.1 billion of that (76 percent of total exports). But those companies repatriated only less than US$1 billion to Zambia. These companies do not use local suppliers for the mining operations and all machinery and services are supplied from abroad. The privatisation of the mining sector was part of the liberalisation process in the 1990s agreed upon with the IMF and World Bank. These policies also made foreign mining companies largely exempt from taxation under the pretext of encouraging more foreign direct investments into the country.

Zambia external debt reached US$8,472 billion in late 2021. Eurobond holders held $3 billion of Zambian debt plus US$336 million of interest arrears at the end of 2021. British Abrdn (Aberdeen) is one of the largest bondholders, and it leads a committee of bondholders estimated to hold around 45 per cent of Zambia’s international market debt. Aberdeen and its partners were opposed to any “haircut” to the bondholders in any settlement. American giant investment fund BlackRock holds around US$215 million worth of these bonds. BlackRock has reportedly made big profits from these holdings through the years. By comparison, Zambia’s nominal GDP was reported at US$17.1 billion in December 2019.

Chinese loans to Zambia account for 30 percent of its total external debt. However, these are long-term loans with long grace periods dedicated mostly to infrastructure projects, such as airports and hydropower projects, roads, highways, telecom and digital infrastructure, hospitals, and clean drinking water management systems.

The most important results of the agreement between the IMF and Zambia’s government to be granted a zero-interest loan of US$1.3 billion with a grace period of five-and-a-half years and a final maturity of 10 years, was indicated in the reports of the IMF staff. To receive the financial support, Zambia had to accept specific conditionalities to reduce government spending, but most emphatically to stop borrowing for infrastructure projects.

The IMF staff report in September 2022 stated clearly, “Zambia is dealing with large fiscal and external imbalances resulting from years of economic mismanagement, especially an overly ambitious public investment drive that did not yield any significant boost to growth or revenues”, it asserts also that, “rapid debt accumulation on the backdrop of deteriorating economic fundamentals has led to unsustainable debt levels and subsequent accumulation of arrears. Debt contracted has mainly been for infrastructure projects in sectors such as roads, education, health and defence”. This is outright sophistry, since the most poisonous part of the debt was accumulated through borrowing in the global bond markets from mainly British and American sources. China’s credits were long term and focused on improving the physical economy and productivity of Zambia.

This has been the demand of the IMF since the previous government started its negotiations in 2017. It led the government to cancel a large number of projects mostly agreed with China, but whose loan disbursements were not yet made. Some of the Chinese projects cancelled are:

• A major highway – the US$1.2 billion Lusaka-Ndola dual carriageway funded by China Jiangxi Corporation. Zambia has engaged China Jiangxi to cancel US$157 million in undisbursed loans.

• Digital projects, such as Smart Zambia phase II (US$333.2 million), which was being implemented by Huawei Technologies and funded by China Exim Bank. Digital terrestrial television broadcasting systems in Zambia phases II and III.

• Zambia asked China Exim Bank to cancel US$159 million of funding for the building of Chalala army barracks in Lusaka.

• FJT University under the Ministry of Education.

• Rehabilitation of Urban Roads phase III under the Ministry of Infrastructure and Urban Development.

Given the conditionalities imposed by the IMF and Western partners on Zambia and other countries to cancel vital infrastructure projects, mostly with China under the BRI, it is not reasonable for China to participate in these programmes.

When 77 percent of Zambia’s population do not have access to clean drinking water, 60 percent do not have access to electricity, 46 percent do not have access to the internet, and the roads are in a bad shape, it is unfathomable how cancelling all these infrastructure projects will lead to any improvement in the country’s economy. There is no evidence supporting the IMF staff assertion that these infrastructure projects “do not yield any significant boost to growth or revenues”. It is a basic fact of economics that improvements in infrastructure lead to direct and indirect increase in the productivity of the economy by creating efficient transport networks, lowering the cost of production through abundant electricity and transport facilities, and increasing access to markets.

The other risk resulting from this policy is that the government will be allowed to continue non-productive public spending, such as payment of public employees and disbursements to mitigate the globally induced inflation. This will increase the non-productive financial burden. At the same time, the IMF conditionality of lifting government subsidies on fuel will lead to an increase in the cost of production of most commodities.

China will be pushed back as a partner and the Western-controlled multilateral partners, like the World Bank, will assume the major role through assistance measures that are directed as social programmes to deal with effects of poverty rather than dealing with the causes. This will keep the country, where over 60 per cent of the population is under the poverty line, in a permanent state of poverty and reliance on aid programmes from the West.

If this push in Zambia succeeds in achieving the goals set by the United States and its partners, it will be used as a template elsewhere, where it will become the precedent and standard.

The attempt to pressure China to make concessions to the IMF and other financial institutions is intended to help bailout the private interests in the US and Britain, which are themselves facing huge risks due to the current Trans-Atlantic financial and banking crisis. The other goal is to block BRI projects, especially in the least-developed countries with large mineral reserves.

China is recommended to make public its position on “no bailout” of private interests, with loans to those countries not made to benefit the people but to make profit in times of crisis. China must make it clear that its loans to those countries, especially for the building of vital infrastructure, are “qualitatively” different to the Western loans, because China’s projects lead to an increase in the productivity of the countries and their ability to refinance their debt. Western loans in times of crisis are intended to pay old debt (especially to private interests as argued by the IMF itself). This kind of credit policy puts developing countries in a real debt-trap and vicious spiral, as they are not given the opportunity or permission to invest in productive projects.

China should, otherwise, continue its well-known and documented debt-forgiveness and rescheduling in a case-by-case manner. China’s loans for vital infrastructure projects must continue because China has become the creditor of final resort for such important investments to pull nations out of poverty. In the worst case, China may shift to “investments” in infrastructure rather than financing and constructing through loans, and secure the mineral resources it needs for its industrial development through win-win cooperation with mineral-rich countries.

African nations have to take control of their natural resources in a fair and organised manner. The neocolonial methods have to be exposed and ended.

African nations need to abandon the primitive economic process of exporting raw materials. These raw materials, if processed and manufactured into products inside the countries will add value in many orders of magnitude to the raw materials extracted. The recent case of Zimbabwe banning the export of raw lithium and entering a joint venture with a Chinese company to build a lithium-ion battery plant in the country is a revolutionary move. It has the potential to reconstruct the relationship of the whole African continent with the rest of the world.

The age of exploitation of nations through colonialism and neocolonialism has to end and be replaced by the win-win concept manifested in the Belt and Road Initiative.

Fred M’membe,
President of the Socialist Party

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, 2022 Movie

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, 2022 Movie Featured

Since the release of Wakanda Forever, many people in Zambia and across the globe have made their way to cinemas to watch it.

I have also taken time to watch the film. It is insightful, thought provoking, evokes a mix of emotions, and captures the spirit of fighting and struggling for one’s nation. It equally sends a wave of sadness, especially with the mourning of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman (T’Challa), who was initially supposed to be a member of the cast but died from colon cancer in 2020. However, all the characters play unique and fantastic roles.

While the movie has many catchy moments and storylines, what stood out for me was how the leaders in the world of Wakanda – a fictional African country – fight hard to protect their nation’s strategic mineral, vibranium, in the wake of King T’Challa’s death.

In the film, Wakanda’s economy is based on the production and uses of the fictitious metal, portrayed as strategic for 21st century technologies, an aspect that scientists may find fascinating. The movie also reveals women running the military and production sector of the economy, with roles played by Queen Ramonda, Shuri, Nakia and Okoye, the general of Dora Milaje.

We are taken on an intriguing journey in which Wakanda is under immense pressure from big powers that want to access its strategic mineral. There is a scene in what resembles the United Nations General Assembly, in which Queen Ramonda, mother of T’Chella and Shuri, exposes the West’s schemes, particularly those of France and the USA’s CIA, to attack Wakanda. The CIA and US Navy SEALs invade using a vibranium-detecting machine to locate potential deposits under water in Wakanda. Their mission is unsuccessful, though, because an expedition of water-breathing superhumans led by Namor – the mutant son of a human sea captain and a princess of the mythical undersea kingdom of Atlantis – attacks them. While Wakanda was not involved in the attacks, the CIA believes it was responsible.

For Wakanda, the emergence of Namor’s superhumans, who help the country expose the West’s ploy to detect and access vibranium, is seen as a cause for concern, realising that its national and military security has been compromised. So, not only is it presented with the West as a threat, but also from Namor, who confronts Wakanda’s leaders, presenting a serious challenge that results in a war leading to many deaths, including that of Queen Ramonda. Shuri fights to avenge the death of the queen – her mother – through her new leadership role as female Black Panther. In the end, Wakanda defeats Namor’s fighters, and the two parties decide for the sake of peace to form a strategic alliance to defend their interests against the West.

While the story of Wakanda is fictitious, it resonates well with aspects of our own country’s history and present-day dynamics. We also have strategic minerals, such as copper and cobalt, needed for development in the 21st century. Unlike in the Wakanda story, though, where its leaders are forming strategic partnerships and fighting to preserve the vibranium needed to develop Wakanda, what we have in Zambia are puppets, sell-outs.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

(Image credit: IGN)

FIFA, QATAR WORLD CUP AND HUMAN RIGHTS

FIFA, QATAR WORLD CUP AND HUMAN RIGHTS Featured

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has accused Western critics of Qatar’s human rights record of hypocrisy.
“What we Europeans have been doing for the last 3,000 years, we should be apologizing for the next 3,000 years before starting to give moral lessons,” said Infantino. “Reform and change takes time. It took hundreds of years in our countries in Europe. It takes time everywhere, the only way to get results is by engaging … not by shouting.”
Admitting things weren’t perfect, Infantino said some criticism was “profoundly unjust” and accused the West of double standards.

In our daily lives few things are as important to us as being treated with respect, justly, fairly and humanely.
Last month Pope Francis slammed Europe’s treatment of migrants as “disgusting, sinful and criminal.” He noted that people from outside the continent are often left to die during perilous sea crossings or pushed back to Libya, where they wind up in camps he referred to as “lager,” the German word.
“Indeed, the situation of migrants is criminal. They are left to die in front of us, making the Mediterranean the largest cemetery in the world. The situation of migrants is disgusting, sinful, criminal. Not to open the doors to those who are in need. No, we exclude them, we send them away to lager, where they are exploited and sold as slaves.”

One of the great gifts of Western civilisation is the philosophical wisdom bequeathed by its great thinkers. At a time when torture and Guantanamo still exist, the West should revive its commitment to using reason to understand and improve the world.
One of the greatest joys of my life was studying Western philosophy, absorbing the wisdom of great Western thinkers from Socrates to Wittgenstein. The dedication of all those great thinkers, over thousands of years, to the power of logical reasoning, was truly inspiring.

Hence, for me, the power of the West was always associated with this commitment to using reason to understand and improve the world.
Western logic was always irrefutable. Plain logic would create irrefutable statements. Hence if the premise was “all dogs are animals”, the consequence of the claim “Fido is a dog” was the irrefutable statement that “Fido is an animal”. A similar rigor applied to moral reasoning. Hence, if a human being called X said “Human beings should not torture other human beings”, the irrefutable conclusion was that X was obliged to also say “I should not torture human beings”. The rigor of this logic is absolute. No exceptions are possible. Anyone who made the first claim and denied the second claim would be justifiably accused of hypocrisy.

In theory, the West condemns hypocrisy. In practice, sadly, it indulges in hypocrisy massively. A few major contemporary examples will illustrate this. For several decades, after the US Congress passed legislation instructing the US State Department to publish annual reports on the human rights performance of all states in the world except the US, the US State Department would painstakingly record the cases of torture practiced in other countries. For example, the State Department condemned “near drowning” and “submersion of the head in water” as torture in reports on Sri Lanka and Tunisia. By the logic of moral reasoning, the US was declaring that it did not practice torture.

In 2001, after 9/11 happened, the US went on a global campaign against the radical Islamist terrorists that had attacked it. However, after the US captured some terrorist suspects, it took them to Guantanamo and tortured them. By so doing, the US was clearly declaring that it had shifted its moral stance from “Thou shalt not torture human beings” to “Thou shalt torture human beings”. The US never said this verbally, but by the logic of moral reasoning, it had made this statement even more loudly with its actual behaviour.

One of the greatest modern works of moral philosophy is the book “The Language of Morals” by the English philosopher, R.M. Hare. Hare wrote parts of this book on toilet paper when he was a prisoner of war of the Japanese in Singapore in World War II. The opening line of this volume is very powerful. It says “If we were to ask of a person ‘What are his moral principles?’ the way in which we could be most sure of a true answer would be studying what he did.”

In short, since Western moral reasoning is brutally ironclad and allows no exceptions, when the US began torturing human beings, it was declaring “Thou shalt torture human beings”. Since this was undoubtedly the moral position taken by the US, the logical consequence should have been for the US State Department to stop issuing annual reports “condemning” torture in other countries. Clearly, this would be hypocritical. Quite amazingly, the US State Department did not stop. Even more amazingly, the largest and most powerful “moral industry” in the world is in the US: no country can match the output of moral judgments that spew out from the editorial pages of US newspapers and from the reports of the greatest think tanks and universities in the world. This massive “moral industry” should have exploded in outrage at this blatant hypocrisy of the State Department Reports. None of this happened. The annual State Department reports continued to be published and reported and cited in the media.
If Socrates were alive today, he would have made the next logically irrefutable statement: the US media was abetting the hypocrisy of these reports.
The second largest “moral industry” in the world, outside the US, can be found in Europe. Most European governments and nongovernmental organisations have not hesitated to condemn countries like Russia and Iran when they received reports of “torture” in these countries. By the logic of moral reasoning that flows from the statement “thou shalt not torture”, the same European governments and organisations should have immediately condemned the US for practicing torture. Amazingly, to this day, not one European government has done so. Neither have they been called to account by their “moral industry” over their failure to be logically consistent and condemn the US. Here too, we saw a massive dose of hypocrisy.

Even more importantly, all moral philosophers have emphasised that the best way to demonstrate one’s fidelity to moral principle is not when it is convenient to do so, without any sacrifice involved.

Hence, when European governments and nongovernmental organisations condemned, for example, human rights violations in, say, China, Zimbabwe or Venezuela, they could do so happily as they would not pay any political and economic price for taking these correct moral stances. Since no costs are involved, there is no real demonstration of moral commitment. This is why the non-condemnation of the US practice of torture is very significant. By failing to condemn when the costs of doing so were high, as there could have been retribution from the US, the European governments and nongovernmental organisations were showing their real moral stand by, as R.M. Hare says, what they did. Hence, when they did not condemn, they were essentially saying that their true moral position was “thou shalt torture human beings”.

One of the heinous acts one could carry out on a human being is to practice torture.The world would be a better place if all Western governments and nongovernmental organisations would once again demonstrate, in words and deeds, their total adherence to the strong moral statement “Thou shalt not torture”.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Hearty congratulations!!!

Hearty congratulations!!! Featured

As President of the Socialist Party (Zambia), I send our congratulations on the successful completion of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), on the election of the new leadership of the Party and the re-election of Comrade Xi Jinping as General Secretary of the CPC.

History is full of twists and turns, and the world struggle for socialism has its highs and lows. The role of leaders is crucial at critical periods and key moments in history. In the history of world socialism, leaders such as Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, and Deng Xiaoping, made crucial decisions at critical moments and had a significant impact on history. Without these important leaders, socialism would have experienced many more setbacks.

Over the past decade, the CPC, under the leadership of General Secretary Xi Jinping, has led China to achieve world-renowned success and promoted socialism with Chinese characteristics. His theoretical ideas have boosted the development of scientific socialism and innovative Marxism. The China model for socialist-based modernization and the statement on the Party’s self-reform being a journey on which there is no end are of great interest here in Africa.

China’s dramatic success, since 1949, means it has now advanced further than any society in history. The burden and responsibility of leadership and the necessity for innovation has fallen on to the CPC and to General Secretary Xi Jinping. His ideological innovations have expanded the frontiers of scientific socialism and answered the question of where socialism should go in the new era.

Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a New Era adheres to people-centred development, focuses on solving the imbalances and inadequacies of economic development, advances common prosperity and comprehensive development for all people, insists on safeguarding and improving people’s livelihood through development, and maintains the harmonious coexistence of humanity and nature.

The world today is facing serious challenges. We agree fully with the observation by General Secretary Xi Jinping that we have entered a new period, one not seen in 100 years. In this dark period before the dawn, Comrade Xi Jinping’s re-election as General Secretary of the CPC and his continued leadership of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era is a blessing for the CPC, as well as for the Socialist Party (Zambia), and for many progressive political parties and people’s movements from Third World countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. We believe that Comrade Xi Jinping is not only an excellent leader of the CPC, but also a very important leader of world socialist and communist movements.

We look forward to strengthening ties and cooperation with the CPC under the leadership of General Secretary Xi Jinping, and to nurturing the next generation of progressive leaders. Socialism has saved China in the past; today, only China can save socialism, and only socialism can counter the barbarism of Western imperialism and fascism.

Fred M’membe Lusaka, Zambia

(Image credit: China Daily).
First pass selection of quotes. Some quotes from the Opening report to 20th  Congress, Oct 16 2022

First pass selection of quotes. Some quotes from the Opening report to 20th Congress, Oct 16 2022 Featured

*Ten years ago, the situation we faced was that the reform and opening up and the socialist modernization drive had made great achievements, and the new great project of party building had achieved remarkable results, which laid a solid foundation, created favorable conditions, and provided important opportunities for us to move forward. At the same time, a series of long-term accumulation and emerging prominent contradictions and problems need to be solved urgently. In the face of these prominent contradictions and problems that affect the long-term governance of the party, the long-term stability of the country, and the happiness and well-being of the people, the CPC Central Committee reviewed the situation, made bold decisions, forged ahead, overcame difficulties, and united and led the entire party, the entire army, and the people of all ethnic groups in the country to roll up their sleeves and work hard. We will move forward regardless of the weather, and we will carry out the great struggle with many new historical characteristics without hesitation.

*——We have comprehensively strengthened the leadership of the Party, ensured the authority and centralized and unified leadership of the Party Central Committee, and ensured that the Party plays the core role of leading the overall situation and coordinating all parties. Our Marxist political party with more than 96 million Party members is more united and unified. *The proportion of my country’s total economic output in the world economy has reached 18.5%, an increase of 7.2%, and it ranks first in the world. Second place; GDP per capita increased from 39,800 yuan to 81,000 yuan. The total output of cereals ranks first in the world, and the scale of manufacturing and foreign exchange reserves ranks first in the world. Breakthroughs have been made in some key core technologies, strategic emerging industries have grown and developed, and major achievements have been made in manned spaceflight, lunar and fire exploration, deep-sea and deep exploration, supercomputers, satellite navigation, quantum information, nuclear power technology, large aircraft manufacturing, and biomedicine. , entered the ranks of innovative countries.

*——We implement a more proactive opening-up strategy, and the joint construction of the “Belt and Road” has become a popular international public product and international cooperation platform.*We rectified the “four winds” with the spirit of nailing the nails, opposed the idea of privilege and the phenomenon of privilege, stopped some crooked winds that had not been stopped for a long time, and rectified some stubborn diseases that had not been eliminated for many years. We have launched an unprecedented fight against corruption. With the mission of “offending thousands of people and not losing 1.4 billion”, we have taken on the task of eradicating turmoil and controlling chaos. The fight against corruption has won an overwhelming victory and has been consolidated in an all-round way, eliminating serious hidden dangers within the party, the state, and the military. Through unremitting efforts, the party has found self-revolution, the second answer that jumps out of the historical cyclical rate of the rise and fall of chaos, ensuring that the party will never change, change color, and taste.

*While fully affirming the achievements of the Party and the country that have attracted worldwide attention, we must be soberly aware that our work still has some shortcomings and faces many difficulties and problems. We have taken a series of measures to solve these problems, and we must intensify our efforts in the future.

*Scientific socialism has radiated new vitality in China in the 21st century. Chinese-style modernization has provided new options for mankind to realize modernization. The Communist Party of China and the Chinese people have provided more and better Chinese wisdom to solve common problems faced by mankind. China’s plan, China’s strength, to make new and greater contributions to the noble cause of human peace and development!

*Marxism is the fundamental guiding ideology for us to establish the Party and the country, and to rejuvenate the Party and the country. Practice tells us why the Communist Party of China can do it and why socialism with Chinese characteristics is good. In the final analysis, it is a Marxist practice, and it is a Marxist practice that is sinicized and modernized. Having the guidance of Marxist scientific theory is the foundation of our party’s firm belief and grasp of historical initiative.

*From now on, the central task of the Communist Party of China is to unite and lead the people of all ethnic groups in the country to build a powerful modern socialist country in an all-round way, achieve the goal of the second century of struggle, and comprehensively promote the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation with Chinese-style modernization.

*To build a powerful modern socialist country in an all-round way, the overall strategic arrangement is to take two steps: from 2020 to 2035 to basically realize socialist modernization; from 2035 to the middle of this century to build our country into a prosperous, strong and democratic country A powerful modern socialist country with civilization, harmony and beauty. The next five years will be a critical period for the start of building a modern socialist country in an all-round way.

*My country is a socialist country under the people’s democratic dictatorship led by the working class and based on the alliance of workers and peasants. All power in the country belongs to the people.

*Wholeheartedly rely on the working class to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of employees.

*We must adhere to the fundamental system of Marxism’s guiding position in the ideological field, adhere to serving the people and socialism, adhere to letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend, adhere to creative transformation and innovative development, and develop advanced socialism under the guidance of socialist core values.

*We must build a socialist ideology with strong cohesion and leadership, firmly grasp the party’s leadership over ideological work, fully implement the responsibility system for ideological work, consolidate and strengthen mainstream ideology and public opinion in the new era, and strengthen the construction of an all-media communication system , to promote the formation of a good network ecology. Extensively practice the core socialist values, carry forward the spiritual pedigree of the Chinese Communists with the great spirit of building the party as the source, carry out in-depth publicity and education on the core socialist values, deepen the education of patriotism, collectivism and socialism, and focus on cultivating an era of national rejuvenation newcomer. Improve the civilization of the whole society, implement the project of civic moral construction, carry forward the traditional Chinese virtues, strengthen the construction of family education and family style, promote the morality of the whole society, abide by the public morality, and be strict with the private morality, improve the people’s moral standard and civilization quality, and promote the spirit of labor in the whole society. , The spirit of struggle, dedication, creativity, diligence and thrift.

*We need to improve the distribution system. Adhere to the principle of distribution according to work and the coexistence of multiple distribution methods, adhere to the principle of more work and more rewards, encourage hard work to become rich, promote fair opportunities, increase the income of low-income people, expand middle-income groups, standardize the order of income distribution, and standardize wealth accumulation mechanisms.

*Adhere to the basic state policy of equality between men and women, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of women and children. Promote the all-round development of the cause of the disabled.

*Nature is the basic condition for human survival and development. Respecting nature, conforming to nature, and protecting nature are the inherent requirements of building a modern socialist country in an all-round way. We must firmly establish and practice the concept that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets, and plan development from the height of harmonious coexistence between man and nature.

*We will further advance the prevention and control of environmental pollution, continue to fight for the defense of blue sky, clear water and pure land, basically eliminate heavily polluted water, basically eliminate urban black and odorous water bodies, strengthen the prevention and control of soil pollution sources, improve the level of environmental infrastructure construction, and promote the urban and rural living environment remediation.

*… implement major projects for biodiversity conservation, promote grasslands, forests, rivers, lakes and wetlands for recuperation, implement a ten-year ban on fishing in the Yangtze River, and improve farmland fallow Crop rotation system to prevent the invasion of alien species.

*…adhere to the principle of first establishing and then breaking, plan and step by step implementation of the carbon peaking action, further promote the energy revolution, strengthen the clean and efficient use of coal, and accelerate the planning and construction of a new energy system, Actively participate in the global governance of climate change.

*.. implement the military strategic policy for the new era, uphold the Party’s absolute leadership over the people’s army, and insist on building the army politically, reforming the army, strengthening the army with science and technology, strengthening the army with talents, and governing the army according to law, and speed up military theory.

*Comprehensively strengthen the party building of the people’s army, and ensure that the barrel of the gun always obeys the party’s command.

*We insist on the prospect of peaceful reunification with the greatest sincerity and our best efforts, but we will never promise to give up the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary measures. This is aimed at the interference of external forces and the very few “Taiwan independence” separatists and their separatist activities. , is by no means aimed at the majority of Taiwan compatriots. The historical wheels of national reunification and national rejuvenation are rolling forward, and the complete reunification of the motherland must be realized and can be realized!

*At present, the changes in the world, the times, and the history are unfolding in an unprecedented way, and human society is facing unprecedented challenges. The world is once again standing at the crossroads of history, and where to go depends on the choices of people of all countries.

*China always adheres to the foreign policy purpose of maintaining world peace and promoting common development, and is committed to promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

BA HH, UPND MULETUTWALA KWISA? …why destroy the credibility of ECZ just to fix Lusambo and Malanji?

BA HH, UPND MULETUTWALA KWISA? …why destroy the credibility of ECZ just to fix Lusambo and Malanji? Featured

The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has announced that the Kabushi and Kwacha parliamentary by-elections will be held on 21 October 2022. The Commission has further stated that the campaign period in both constituencies will run from 11 to October. We find this move by the ECZ problematic for a number of reasons. And we ask the Commission to reconsider their decision.

First, following the earlier resignations of the two candidates in both Kabushi and Kwacha constituencies, which decisions were formally communicated to and acknowledged by the ECZ, it would be unconstitutional for the Commission to conduct elections in both constituencies without calling for fresh nominations. Article 52 (6) of the Constitution of Zambia provides that “Where a candidate dies, resigns or becomes disqualified in accordance with Article 70, 100 or 153 or a court disqualifies a candidate for corruption or malpractice, after the close of nominations and before the election date, the Electoral Commission shall cancel the election and require the filing of fresh nominations by eligible candidates and elections shall be held within thirty days of the filing of the fresh nominations”.

This is the only provision that deals with the resignations of successfully nominated candidates. In both Kabushi and Kwacha, we had a candidate who resigned and the ECZ acknowledged receipt of their resignations. Once a candidate has resigned, the law requires the Commission to cancel the existing nominations, call for fresh nominations by eligible candidates and hold a new election within 30 days of the date of the new nominations. Indeed, this is what the ECZ has previously done. When a candidate belonging to the opposition UPP who had successfully filed nomination papers for the Kabwata by-election resigned, ECZ immediately cancelled the election and called for fresh nominations. When Ms Charity Lumpa who had successfully filed nomination papers for Lusaka Central resigned as an independent candidate prior to the 12 August 2021 election, the ECZ cancelled the earlier nominations and called for fresh ones.

Why is the ECZ abrogating the law and changing the precedent it has set when it comes to Mr Bowman Lusambo and Mr Joseph Malanji? And can the ECZ cite any law that empowers the Commission to proceed to conduct elections if a candidate who had resigned changes their mind after the Commission has even acknowledged receipt of their resignation? What the ECZ has done this time is lawless. The law requires the Commission to cancel the nominations and call for fresh ones only. There is no law that provides for a nominated candidate who has resigned to rescind their decision after resigning. After receiving the resignations of the two candidates, what the ECZ should have done is to call for fresh nominations from all eligible candidates. Anyone interested, including those who had resigned, would be free to file their nominations, if they are eligible to stand for the election.

What those who had resigned cannot do is to pull back their resignations and crawl back into the race. Nix! It does not work that way. This is not a game. It is not chidunyu where one can do whatever they like without any regard to the laws of the land. The decisions of the ECZ should always be based on the or backed by law. The ECZ should stop this lawlessness and do the correct, legal thing. We know they are under extreme pressure from the UPND, but if the three commissioners who made the decision – Mr Ali Simwiinga, Ms Ndiyoyi Mutiti and Maj Gen Vincent Mukanda Rtd – cannot follow what the law provides for, let them resign before they set the country ablaze.

Second, it is blatant lawlessness and contempt of court for the ECZ to proceed to conduct elections in both Kabushi and Kwacha when there are active processes relating to the same issue that remain before our courts of law. When a matter is in court, parties to the case cannot do some self-help measures outside the court process to correct the premise of the original dispute. That is lawless. As things stand, the ECZ’s hands are tied. Proceeding to hold elections in Kabushi and Kwacha before the matters that are in court are disposed of would amount to interfering in the court processes or in the matters that are before court. It actually amounts to contempt of court.

In the High Court, there is a case between Mr Lusambo and Mr Malanji and the ECZ that is yet to be determined. The judgment for this case was ready but moments before it could be delivered, the UPND rushed to the Court of Appeal to stop the Lusaka High Court from delivering the judgement. Why? It is possibly because the UPND may have learnt that the verdict was likely going to be in the favour of Mr Lusambo and Mr Malanji. Rather than facing the humiliation of losing to PF lawyers including Tutwa Ngulube, the Attorney General and his team appear to have decided that they would rather have no elections in both Kabushi and kwacha and deprive the people in these constituencies of representation in Parliament than allow the courts to pass any verdict that would clear Mr Lusambo and Mr Malanji to stand in the by- elections. But should the institutional credibility of both ECZ and the Judiciary be destroyed this way just to punish two individuals?

There is also an active case involving Mr Peter Sinkamba and Mr Isaac Mwanza versus the ECZ in the Constitutional Court. In the wake of the resignations of those two candidates from Kabushi and Kwacha, Mr Sinkamba and Mr Mwanza asked the Constitutional Court to order the ECZ to cancel the earlier nominations for both constituencies, call for fresh ones and organize a fresh election within the stipulated timeframe, as per the earlier cited provision of the Constitution. The matter was heard and the Concourt was supposed to deliver judgement on Monday this week, 10 October. But when the matter came up for judgement, the Attorney General applied to be joined to the case on the ground that it borders on public interest. Again, here, like was the case in the matter before the High Court, the UPND may have learnt that the verdict was likely going to be in favour of the petitioners and consequently moved swiftly to file an application that prevented the ConCourt from delivering judgement. Again, we ask: why this desperation?

The reason why the UPND is running from one court to another seeking to delay the delivery of any judgment that may go against them is that any cancellation of the earlier nominations in Kabushi and Kwacha would provide the opportunity for Mr Lusambo and Mr Malanji to file their nominations, since, in the wake of the earlier ConCourt judgment on their matter, nothing now stops them from doing so if fresh nominations are called. What we see here is the abuse of the court process by those in power today, one that the judiciary itself is perpetuating. The matter between Mr Sinkamba and Mr Mwanza versus the ECZ was already argued. Why did the Concourt allow the State to join the matter at the 11th hour when the court was set to deliver judgement? Where was the State all along or when the matter was filed and argued?

We urge our judges to refuse to be abused in this way. Let all the judges in the judiciary know that the best way of securing their credibility and the credibility of the judiciary itself is by dispensing justice in a timely manner and in accordance with the law. It is not by taking sides that appease one political group or another, be it those in government or those in opposition. The UPND and their supporters are quick to condemn the ConCourt when it suits them and similarly are quick to abuse the same judges again when it suits them.

It is also becoming clear that the Attorney General is not defending public interest in the matter of Mr Lusambo and Mr Malanji. He and his team appear to be defending the interests of the UPND. They seem to have decided that they would rather have no elections in both Kabushi and kwacha than allow the courts to pass any verdict that would pave the way for Mr Lusambo and Mr Malanji to stand in the by-elections. The UPND knows that they do not stand a chance of winning Kwacha and Kabushi if Mr Lusambo and Mr Malanji are on the ballot, hence this desperation to exclude the two from the ballot. But should we destroy the institutional credibility of both ECZ and the Judiciary just to punish two individuals? Why not defeat them through the ballot if the UPND is as popular, as they claim in these two constituencies? Not even Mr Edgar Lungu and the PF were so afraid of defeat that they excluded their political opponents from the ballot. Let Mr Lusambo and Mr Malanji stand. Defeat them fairly and through the ballot.

We ask the ECZ to reverse the decision they have made and wait for the active court processes to be completed. Destroying the credibility of this important institution just to disqualify Mr Lusambo and Mr Malanji is akin to shooting down an Airbus A380 plane carrying 853 passengers just to kill 2 people! We repeat: if Mr Ali Simwiinga, Madam Ndiyoyi Mutiti and Maj Gen Vincent Mukanda Rtd cannot comply with the provisions of our Constitution, we demand that they resign from their posts instead of setting the country on fire. No elections should be held in Kabushi and Kwacha without fresh nominations.

We also ask the UPND to stop abusing the ECZ and the justice system all in an attempt to block Mr Lusambo and Mr Malanji from standing. Yes, there are loopholes in our electoral laws but until the relevant law is changed, Mr Lusambo and Mr Malanji have the right to benefit from those loopholes. It is not the job of the UPND to determine who should lead our people. The job of the party in power is to deliver what they promised people when they were in opposition and hope that voters will reward them at the ballot. Mr Hakainde Hichilema and your UPND, muletutwala kwisa? Please stop destroying the credibility of our institutions. You were elected to rebuild, not worsen, the standing of ECZ and the judiciary in the eyes of the public.

Finally, we ask Mr Hichilema to appoint the substantiative leadership at ECZ so that they can in turn appoint the new CEO, as per the law. It is not healthy to our democracy and the strength of our formal institutions to leave such vital institution like ECZ being run by people on an acting basis. This leaves room for the manipulation of the ECZ that we continue to witness.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist party

An appeal of the Commission for international Cooperation & Support of Compatriots Abroad of the General Council of the All-Russia political party “UNITED RUSSIA” to partner parties on the situation around the Ukrainian crisis of 2014-2022

An appeal of the Commission for international Cooperation & Support of Compatriots Abroad of the General Council of the All-Russia political party “UNITED RUSSIA” to partner parties on the situation around the Ukrainian crisis of 2014-2022 Featured

Dear colleagues, friends, comrades! We appeal to you, our partners in the international inter-party relations, so that each of you and the peoples that you represent on all continents of the Earth can get first-hand information about what is actually happening in Ukraine and around it, about the reasons for the extreme aggravation of the protracted crisis that arose in a country neighboring Russia after the anti-constitutional coup d’etat committed there in 2014 with the participation of the United States and a number of other NATO countries.

The attempt of the organizers of this coup to turn Ukraine into an anti-Russian springboard over the past eight years not only turned into the beginning of the of the collapse of the Ukrainian state, the collapse of it’s economy ,a social crisis, rampant terrorism and neo-Nazism,but also led to thousands of civilian casualties as a result of the civil war in the region of Donbass (in the Southeast of Kyiv). Year upon year, the pro-American puppet regime had been intensifying its preparations for a war with the Minsk agreements approved by the UN Security Council for seven years in a row. As a result, through the fault of the official Kyiv, the agreements were completely thwarted and Russia had no other choice than,given Ukraine’s refusal to accept a peaceful settlement, to recognize on February 21, 2022 the independence of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic based on the referendums held there and numerous official requests for assistance sent to Moscow by the authorities of these long-suffering territories. After the recognition of republics, Treaties of friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance were concluded and ratified by the Russian parliament unanimously, with the participation of all the parliamentary parties of Russia.

At the same time, the Ukrainian regime was preparing a large-scale punitive military operation against the inhabitants of Donbass. It could lead to hundreds of thousands of victims among the civilian population, including among Russian citizens who have long and permanently lived in these territories. In accordance with article 51 of Chapter 7 of the UN Charter and based on the consent of the Federation council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, it was decided to launch a special military operation.

Among the tasks of this operation, the demilitarisation and denazification of the Ukraine were announced. It should be recalled that since the declaration of independence of Ukraine, it’s leadership has announced a firm intention to maintain the status of a neutral non-bloc state. However, after the putsch of 2014, amendments were made to the constitution, fixing the country’s desire for membership in the NATO bloc, which officially declared Russia to be its adversary. At the same time, the West categorically refused Moscow’s requests for guarantees of the non-expansion of NATO to Russian borders and started mass deliveries of weapons to the Ukrainian authorities, encouraging the actions of nationalist anti-Russian armed groups and foreign mercenaries.

It even came to the point that the President V. Zelensky explicitly expressed his intentions to make Ukraine a nuclear power and seize part of the Russian territories by force. Moreover, there was reason to believe that the extremists would try to use the Ukrainian nuclear repository at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant near the Russian and Belarusian borders for the terrorist act that would become a real threat to the inhabitants of all Eastern and Central Europe. The timely actions of the Russian military eliminated this opportunity and thus protected millions of Europeans.

It is impossible the fact that the current Ukraine over the past years has become a real hotbed of Nazi and neo-Nazi ideas, and the matter was not limited to street possessions with the symbols of the criminal organization “SS” and other fascist attributes, the voting of the present-day Kyiv against all UN resolutions,condemning the glorification of Nazism and neo-Nazism. The combat detachments of these extremists,armed with the help of foreign patrons, openly terrorize civilians in Ukraine, actually take them hostage and try to pass their war crimes off as the actions of the Russian military personnel. We will seek to bring to justice those who have committed and are committing these bloody crimes.

The same applies to the fact that for eight years the Ukrainian authorities have been pursuing a targeted policy to infringe on the rights of the Russian-speaking population living on the territory of Ukraine. At the suggestion of the nationalist elite, the Verkhovna Rada adopted draconian laws prohibiting the free use of the Russian language in all spheres of the public life, including education, the media, and consumer services. Any manifestations of dissatisfaction with ordinary citizens on this score were severely suppressed by right-wing radical groups with the complete inaction of the local law enforcement agencies.

It is important to state with all certainty that the Russian Federation has not waged, does not wage and does not intend to wage war on the Ukrainian people. Our political activity, as the President of the Russian Federation V.V Putin declared, “is based on the freedom for everyone to independently choose and determine their own future and the future of their children….. what is happening today does not come out of a desire to infringe on the interests of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. It is related to the protection of Russia itself from those who took Ukraine hostage and are trying to use it against our country and its people.” The position of the Russian leader is fully shared and supported by the UNITED RUSSIA party.

Against this background, the behaviour of the United States and its European satelites, those who helped plan and implement the criminal coup in Ukraine in 2014, armed the Ukrainian regime, purposefully contributed to the transformation of the neighboring, fraternal country into the an anti-Russian project and fueled the conflict in the Donbass for eight years, arming the Kyiv regime, encouraging its inadequate actions and belligerent rhetoric, is seen as especially cynical and irresponsible. These destructive forces-the so called collective West-they don’t want peace for the Ukrainian people, they are ready to “fight with Russia to the last Ukrainian.” The United States, the European Union, NATO show their true bloodthirsty face: they declare their intention to increase the supply of lethal weapons to Ukraine and continue to send military specialists there. Thus, they are also bringing the world to the brink of a new global war, risking the fate of all mankind for the sake of their ambitions to contain Russia. At the same time, Western-controlled means of the propaganda that for eight years did not notice the suffering of ordinary people in the Donbass, deliberately distort what is happening today in Ukraine and around it, and thereby further and thus further exacerbate the already crisis situation.

Dear colleagues,

By imposing illegitimate unilateral sanctions against the Russian Federation, the West will not force us to change its principled line aimed at ensuring national security and protecting its citizens. We hope that you and the people’s you represent will bear with Russia on its position at this complicated moment for peace and security. Together we are able to thwart the West’s policy of containment. The sad experience of the Ukrainian events clearly shows what the impudent intervention of the NATO countries in the sovereign affairs of states, disregard for the UN charter, flirting with Naziz, neo-Nazis, terrorists and other extremists leads to. Together, we are able to prevent the sanctions policy pursued by the West against anyone who is not ready to follow their imperial instructions, their desire to ensure their own security at the expense of the security of others, incitement of local wars and an arms race, and other acts dangerous for humanity.

We hope that you, like us, fully share the principles of peaceful coexistence of states with different political systems, respectful cooperation, unacceptability of the illegal policy of sanction pressure, uncompromising struggle against any manifestations of Nazism, neo-Nazism and terrorism.

The “UNITED RUSSIA” party is ready to continue mutually beneficial cooperation with its partners,is open to interaction with all responsible political parties and public organizations of the world.

AZIM YARAKHMEDOV

Ambassador of the Russian Federation

Lusaka literacy campaign graduation ceremony speech by Dr Fred M’membe

Lusaka literacy campaign graduation ceremony speech by Dr Fred M’membe Featured

Dear Comrades, friends, invited guests and members of the press in attendance greetings to you all!

And great thanks for making it to this humble graduation ceremony of our Matero and Mandevu literacy classes.

Why this literacy campaign?
Why is the Socialist Party spending so much time and resources on this literacy campaign? What is it for?

It is said that the future starts with the alphabet. And the future is not built in the future; it is built on the threshold of what we do today – the decisions and actions we take today. And with this literacy campaign, small and humble as it may seem, we are starting the process of building a future Zambia, a socialist Zambia, which will be more just, fair and humane.

Literacy, as part of education, is a fundamental human right. It’s also one of the key ingredients to ending extreme poverty.

Yet today there are 1.27 million illiterate adults (over the age of 15) in Zambia – this is 57 years after attainment of our political independence!

Zambia’s literacy rate stands at 55.3 per cent, with illiteracy much more pronounced in females than males.

Fundamental human rights are just that — fundamental.

Literacy improves health. Growing research shows positive correlations between adult literacy and lower infant and maternal mortality rates.
Literate women are more likely to seek medical help for themselves and their children when needed. They are also more likely to adopt more preventive health measures, like immunisation.

There’s a connection between increased literacy and attitude shifts around family planning. Literate patients also have an easier time following instructions from their doctors, and literacy is of key benefit during a health crisis.
During health crises being able to read can mean the difference between life and death. We continue to see this now during the COVID-19 pandemic: With so much misinformation about the novel coronavirus, one of the best — and most cost-effective — responses we have is education, including educating our people on prevention, symptoms, and what to do if they need treatment.

Posters, leaflets, and other materials about COVID-19 have been created and circulated across the width and breadth of our country, meaning that literacy is one of the key tools in keeping our people safe and healthy.

Literacy promotes lifelong learning and builds skills. As many of us realise after we have graduated, learning is a lifelong journey. The more we learn, the more we are able to adapt to a fast-changing world. The more we are able to adapt, the more we can continually improve our standard of living and lead longer, healthier, and more creative lives.

When we have the confidence to read, we have the confidence to learn.

Literacy improves the economy and creates jobs. Literacy is a powerful tool against  poverty. Illiteracy comes at a high price.
Illiteracy costs our country’s economy billions of kwacha annually. A lack of basic literacy skills means that many people are immediately disqualified from a high number of decent livelihoods.
As part of lifelong learning, literacy skills don’t just mean better job opportunities now. They also set people up with the ability to develop their skills and find better livelihoods in the future.

Literacy promotes gender equality. It is said that every literate woman marks a victory over poverty. Women are the most powerful agents of change, and that power is even greater when they can read.

Literacy promotes justice, equity and peace. Illiteracy weakens communities and undermines democratic processes through marginalisation and exclusion. These and other impacts can combine to destabilise a nation.

When citizens are literate, they are more able to follow politics and be informed of the issues that matter to them. They are also more likely to vote and find other ways of participating in the governance of their country.

Literacy builds self-esteem and overall quality of life. If nothing else, literacy builds self-esteem. Readers who struggle are more likely to have difficulty expressing themselves, even verbally. This can lead to anxiety, depression, or other issues that impact an overall quality of life.

The more able a person is to express themselves, the greater their confidence, their self-esteem, and their chance at living a happy, healthy life.

Comrades, let’s do all that we can to combat illiteracy. This is a humble and dignified task. The socialist character of our party will be enhanced through this humane effort that provides a lifetime opportunity to read and write to the masses of our people.

I am proud of the tireless efforts put in by our literacy campaign team. I am equally humbled by the enthusiasm and effort exhibited by the learners themselves. There is much to look forward to for mother Zambia.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

February 12, 2022

Nsingu day commemoration speech by Dr Fred M’membe

Nsingu day commemoration speech by Dr Fred M’membe Featured

THIS MONTH marks 124 years since Commander Nsingu was murdered, assassinated by the British force of Cecil Rhodes and his British South African company, which is today represented by the Anglo American Corporation.

February 4 is both a sorrowful and joyous day. Sorrowful in the sense of the pain suffered by Commander Nsingu, his father, the old man Mpezeni, at that time the Ngoni indunas, and 10,000 young Ngonis who Commander Nsingu had organised in an army to resist the occupation of the Chipeta area, which was Ngoni land.
The Ngoni capital fell to Cecil Rhodes’ army on February 4 and it was 124 years ago that Commander Nsingu was captured and court-martialed, with a decision made to execute him the following morning. On February 5 at dawn Commander Nsingu was executed in front of his lieutenants. Why did this happen? It happened because of minerals and land. 

In 1891, six years after the Berlin conference that divided Africa among European powers, this territory today called Zambia was colonised by Cecil John Rhodes, a businessman – what today you call a foreign investor – and his company, the BSA. 

Why did they colonise this territory?  What was Cecil Rhodes looking for here? He was looking for minerals, and for those minerals Cecil Rhodes was ready to kill whosoever stood in his way. He would send his agents, his representatives, to negotiate concessions with our chiefs, with our leaders. If they refused to give him concessions to prospect and mine minerals in their chiefdoms, he attacked them. He had an army, a very big army that he had set up in Kotakota in Northern Malawi. That army was well resourced, it was equipped with maxim guns and seven-pounder artillery.

Cecil Rhodes believed there was gold in the Chipeta area occupied by the Ngonis, because Rhodes had found it south of the Chipeta, in what is now Zimbabwe, under Lobengula.  He believed there was also gold up north in the Chipeta in the area occupied by the Ngonis and he sent his people to prospect for it in the Chipeta area.

One morning these Ngonis woke up to see white people with all sorts of gadgets moving around the Chipeta. It was scary but these were the descendants of the Zulu who had defeated the British army at the battle of Insandlwana in South Africa a few years before. These were very brave people, they confronted the white people and asked them what they were looking for, who they were.

“We are from Cecil Rhodes, we want gold,” they replied.

“Who gave you permission to look for gold here?” the Ngonis asked.

“This is Cecil Rhodes’s land, we don’t need permission,” the white men replied.

“How can this be Cecil Rhodes’s land when it’s Mpezeni’s,” the Ngonis continued.

“No, this is not Mpezeni’s land, it’s Cecil’s,” came the reply.

The Ngoni leadership realised there was a problem that might end in a war and this troubled Mpezeni, who was already an old man at that time. He pondered over it. He was even more worried because he knew Cecil Rhodes had an army in Kotakota that was well resourced and well equipped. Although at that time the some Ngonis had guns because they were trading, they were no match for the seven-pounders, and moreover, to use their guns they had to get ammunition and gun powder from the same place that they were fighting. Mpezeni realised that it was going to be a difficult war.

But while Mpezeni and the Ngoni elders were pondering over what to do, his young son Nsingu made it very clear that it was “over our dead bodies” that Cecil Rhodes and his company would take their land and minerals.

He organised 10,000 young Ngonis to resist the imperialist occupation of the Chipeta area they occupied, but could not use guns so they had no alternative but to fall back on their Asegai spears, developed by Shaka some years back. It was the only weapon the Ngonis had to defend themselves against maxim guns, seven-pounders. True to the Ngonis’ fears, the Cecil Rhodes army attacked the Chipeta area in December 1897. The Ngonis did not attack the Cecil Rhodes army there, they were attacked and had no alternative but to defend themselves with their Asegai.

It was a difficult war for the Ngonis. Cecil Rhodes’s army killed Ngonis indiscriminately, burning their crops , and overran the Ngoni capital on February 4, when Commander Nsingu was captured. His father, the old man Mpezeni, fled into the hills. Nsingu was court-martialed and sentenced to death, and was executed at dawn the following morning, murdered by Cecil Rhodes’s lieutenants. They did not want us to know where his grave was so they buried him secretly. His father was also eventually captured and imprisoned, and that was very painful for an Ngoni king, to be paraded in handcuffs in front of his people. When he was eventually released, our grandfather Mpezeni died from depression. 

We can say Cecil Rhodes and his company killed Mpezeni, Nsingu and the 10,000 young Ngonis over minerals and their land. By the time the war ended in February 1898, the Ngonis had lost 12,000 head of cattle, worth a great deal. With that wealth the Ngonis could have built themselves schools, hospitals and other infrastructure needed for development. Their economy, built over 62 years, was destroyed in two months of war, from December 1897 to February 1898.

The Ngonis landed in this territory from South Africa in 1835. They were soldiers from Shaka Zulu’s army, not ordinary people. They were about to be court-martialed for some offence they had committed and decided to flee, leaving behind their wives and children, and crossed into what is now Zambia around Feira or Luangwa in 1835. Actually, on the day they were crossing the Zambezi River there was an eclipse of the sun and the Zulu soldiers thought it was their god protecting them from their enemies as they were crossing, pursued by Shaka’s army. They were helped to cross the Zambezi River by the Chikudas who had canoes, and some of them travelled all the way up to Tanzania, while others moved all the way into Western Malawi and settled there. The rest settled in what is now called Eastern Province, in the Chipeta area, and it was those who eventually became known as the Ngonis.

These Zulu soldiers started marrying Nsenga, Chewa and Tumbuka women and the children they produced with Nsenga women started speaking Chinsenga, those with Chewa women started speaking Chichewa, and those with Tumbuka women spoke Chitumbuka. The Zulu language, the Ngoni language the soldiers spoke, eventually died. Today, his majesty Mpezeni speaks Chinsenga. We have an ethnicity called Ngoni but there is no Ngoni language because it died out. You can hear some Zulu words in songs, but that’s where it ends. 
As if this were not enough for Cecil Rhodes, in 1904 he took over the village of induna Kapatamoyo and turned it into Fort Jameson, which became the headquarters for the colonisation of north-eastern Rhodesia. He headquartered troops from Kotakota at induna Kapatamoyo village (Fort Jameson).

This bandit Cecil Rhodes and his company, the BSA, were later taken over by the Oppenheimer family and became the Anglo-American Corporation. They continued with Cecil Rhodes’s policy of colonisation, humiliation, exploitation and killings. Cecil Rhodes and his BSA company ruled us for 33 years, from 1891 until 1924 when he handed over power to the British foreign office because it was too much for him to run the government, army, police, judiciary and so on. He wanted to concentrate on his business. For some time we were governed from South Africa and later on from Livingstone and then Lusaka.

Anglo American and the Oppenheimer family continued with the same policies of Cecil Rhodes in an indirect way. Although indirect, the principles were the same and they continue today to try to expand their influence so they can control the minerals. They now sponsor political parties on the continent and in this land, where they have representatives of Cecil Rhodes today ruling us funded by a foundation.

These bandits now sponsor political parties in Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Mozambique, Uganda, and Kenya.  They have found good Africans to use. The chairman of their project (chair of the African Union) is no other than General Obasanjo, the former Nigerian President. He no longer represents the Nigerian government, he represents Anglo American. Why is Anglo American interested in the governance of Africa? Minerals. 

Comrades and friends, this humble ceremony honours our Ngoni ancestors, honours the sacrifices of Commander Nsingu, honours the life of the 10,000 young Ngonis and Mpezeni, who perished defending our land, defending our minerals. The issue is not a small one.

This history I am telling you, they don’t want us to know, it’s not taught in our schools, it’s not taught to our children, it’s not taught to us. It’s not written in our books. They don’t want this history to be known by you. Why don’t they teach us? They teach us about David Livingstone, Vasco da Gama, Marco Polo, but they don’t teach us about commander Nsingu. They don’t teach us about the old man Mpezeni, and the 10,000 young Ngonis who perished in the war. Why? Because they don’t want Nsingu to live in us. They have tried to destroy this history, but you have heard it. Our young people were singing this history. They were repeating the words of Commander Nsingu. We are here today to draw inspiration from this history, from the sacrifices, the bravery, the selflessness. 

Our people respect the brave, selfless patriots, and that is why this history of struggle, of resistance to colonialism, exploitation, humiliation, cannot be stopped, cannot be destroyed. We will continue to honour this history. Commander Nsingu is the highest hero of our homeland. 

As Comrade Cosmas Musumali says, “It doesn’t now matter whether you are Lozi, Luvale, Bemba, Mbunda or whatever, this is our national hero number one.” There is no other army in the history of this territory today called Zambia that has fought a foreign army, only the Nsingu army. There is no military commander in the history of this territory called Zambia who has commanded an army in a war against a foreign army other than Commander Nsingu. This is heroic history.

We in the Socialist Party look up to the Ngoni history, look up to the Ngoni sacrifices and bravery. Every Ngoni in this territory is a descendant of a fighter. There are no other Ngonis who came another way. The Zulus who came here were troops, they were fighters, warriors, Impis, and they have shown that time and time again. This history needs to be known, this history needs to be taught to our children.

Today, we cannot even find a picture of Nsingu. We have hunted in the archives in South Africa and Europe for the past five years but have failed to find a picture of Nsingu. We hope that one day we will find one so that our young people can see who Commander Nsingu was and what he looked like so we can erect a proper statue that reflects the image of our commander, our national hero, the apostle of the independence of this country. Comrades, without your history, without your roots you are nobody.
 

We have been on this path before

We have been on this path before Featured

Let’s not cheat ourselves or allow ourselves to be deceived. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme guarantees us nothing. We have been on this path before. Yes, the language has or is changing slightly, but the fundamentals of these programmes have remained the same. The IMF management would like recipient countries to “own” the policy conditionalities much more than they have done. But genuine ownership can only be derived if the countries themselves participate in the making of the policies; and this is generally not the case as the policies are usually imposed by the IMF, often against the wishes of the governments or people.

Still, the policies would be more acceptable if they work. But generally they have not worked. Instead of recovery, growth and getting out of debt, many recipient countries have experienced stagnation or worse, and many are still trapped in debt. Thus, more “country ownership” of IMF programmes does not simply mean improving the methods of getting countries to really accept and internalise IMF policies which, it is assumed, are good though tough. It is not a communications or public relations task.

Ownership can or should be increased only if there is genuine participation by the government and people of recipient countries; and only if the content of conditionality (i.e., the policies) are appropriate and bring about good outcomes. Thus, the key issues are the democratic (or rather non-democratic and non-participatory) process of IMF policy-making, and the appropriateness (or rather inappropriateness) of the IMF policies. Unless these issues are resolved, no amount of persuasion or arm-twisting (ultimatums such as “convince us beforehand that you are a believer or we won’t agree to giving you a loan”) will bring about genuine ownership.

The issues of non-participation and inappropriate policies are not academic but of life and death dimensions. From the mid 1980s we have lived through IMF programmes. We closely followed policy debates and policies in the different affected countries, saw the effects of the market practices and the IMF-led policies, the social and political upheavals, the traumatic economic downturn, the devastating effect on the lives of millions of people and on the viability of thousands of local firms, big and small. Due to the evidence of recent events, there is a crisis also in development thinking and the development paradigm. In the past there was a bias or blind faith in predominantly relying on the state for development. Then, there was a swing to the other extreme of having total reliance and blind faith in the private sector and on globalisation (rapid opening up to international finance and trade). Now the pendulum is swinging back.

The emerging view is that openness can have good or bad effects, depending on the specific condition and stage of development a country is in, for example, whether the local firms and banks are prepared for external competition, whether there are regulations or knowledge on managing and utilising foreign loans so that they can be repaid, whether there is reciprocal benefits from opening up, whether there are opportunities for increasing exports or if the capacity to produce and market for export has been built up, and what are the balance of payments effects of opening up given the conditions the country finds itself in. Although if conditions are right there can be many benefits from opening up, there are also great risks and costs to be borne if the conditions are not right. For many countries, the conditions are not or may not be right, at least not yet. If they nevertheless open up, they may suffer the risks and the costs.

Thus, the balance, degree, timing, sequence of liberalisation must be tailored to each country. Though it may become the new wisdom in rhetoric, this principle has not yet been translated into policy by international agencies like the IMF, nor into national policy of most developing countries. Many countries are unable to do so, even if they want to, due to conditionality or binding rules. Many, if not most, developing countries are neither growing nor developing. The situation is bleak for many. Business as usual cannot be the response, as it has generally failed. The issue of conditionality and ownership should be viewed in a broad perspective, and this includes looking critically not only at the roads taken by the IMF but also at the roads not taken.

The raison d´etre of the IMF at its creation and in the era of the Bretton Woods system is to ensure global financial stability. This arose from the recognition that left to itself the financial institutions, markets and players, can become a too-powerful force with the potential of destabilising the financial system itself as well as undermining the real economy. The IMF’s implicit mission included taming and regulating global and national finance so that finance would serve the real sector objectives of growth of output, income and employment.The original Post WW2 framework supported this function. It included a system predominated by fixed exchange rates (which could be adjusted with IMF assistance when needed by objective conditions), BOP adjustment through country-IMF discussion when needed, limited cross border financial flows, and the normality of national capital controls.

Policy was influenced by an understanding of the need for caution on the potential for instability, volatility and harm to the real economy that can be caused by unregulated finance and by speculative activity. This regulatory system and the period of relative financial stability ended with the 1972 Smithsonian Agreement. Floating replaced fixed exchange rates, financial deregulation and liberalisation took off in the OECD countries, new financial instruments developed, there has been a massive explosion in crossborder short term capital flows and in speculative financial activity.

There has also been the spread of capital liberalisation to developing countries, to which advice from developed countries and from the IMF contributed. These developments underlie the frequent occurrence of financial crises. The failure of the IMF and other international financial agencies to prevent such crises should be recognised as one of its major flaws, and this should be rectified. Indeed, the failure of the IMF in preventing the global financial system from going down the road of such rapid deregulation and liberalisation (with the consequences of currency instability, volatility of capital flows and financial speculation), and instead presiding over this road that was taken, is a major mistake. It also goes against the original role of the IMF to establish and maintain a stable financial order.

There needs to be a backtracking to the crossroads and take a new turning which is more true to the IMF’s original mission of establishing financial stability. That is the road of crisis prevention through establishment of greater stability through better understanding and regulation of capital flows and capital markets; and a more stable system of exchange rates (including among the major reserve currencies, and in the currencies of developing countries). There is need to understand capital markets and the role and methods of players like highly leveraged institutions (for example hedge funds) which are now non-transparent and unaccountable but have major impact on global and national finance and real economy. There is need especially to curb manipulative financial activity. There is need to understand the behaviour and potential and real effects of various kinds of capital flows to developing countries – including credit (to the public and private sectors), portfolio investment, foreign direct investment (and its varieties, such as mergers and acquisitions, Greenfield investment, and FDI that produces for the domestic or the foreign market).

There is need to look at inflows and outflows arising from each, including the potential for volatility of each and the effects, especially on reserves and the balance-of-payments. What are the implications for policy and what guidelines should be given? For example, when should (or should not) a government or company borrow in foreign currency? Regulations and guidelines are needed because the market lacks a mechanism that can ensure appropriate outcomes. One guideline that is most relevant could be that local companies should be allowed to borrow in foreign currency only if (and to the extent) the loan is utilised for projects that earn foreign exchange to repay the debt.

The potential for devastating effects of short-term capital flows should be recognised and acted on, to prevent developing countries from the dangers of falling into debt traps. The IMF must recognise this and have an action plan A(or at least be part of a coordinated action plan) that:

(i) regulates global capital flows, through international regulations or through currency transaction taxes; (ii) establishes surveillance mechanisms and disciplines on countries that are major sources of credit so that the authorities in these countries monitor and regulate the behaviour and flows emanating from their capital markets and institutional sources of funds;

(iii) provides warnings for developing countries of the potential hazards of accepting different types of capital inflows and provides guidelines on the judicious and careful use of the various kinds of funds ;(iv) educates members and the public on how capital markets work and establishes surveillance and accountability mechanisms to guide and regulate the workings of the markets; (v) appreciates and advises countries on the functions and selective uses of capital controls at national level, and helps them establish the capacity to introduce or maintain such controls; (vi) identifies and curbs the use and abuse of financial instruments and methods that manipulate prices, currencies and markets, and prevents the development of new manipulative or destabilising instruments and methods;(vii) stabilises exchange rates at international and national levels, which could include mechanisms to stabilise the three major currencies, and measures that can provide more stability and more accurate pricing of currencies of developing countries; (viii) provides sufficient liquidity and credit to developing countries to finance development.The prevention of crises through a more stable global financial order is more beneficial and cost effective than allowing the continuation of a fundamentally unstable and crisis-prone system which would then throw up the need of frequent bail-outs with accompanying conditionality.

IMF conditionality policies have come under severe criticism for at least three reasons: (i) that there has been “over-reach” in that the conditions widened in range through time to include “structural policies” not needed for managing the crisis; (ii) that the policies in the core economic and financial areas of IMF competence have also been inappropriate as they were contractionary and did not generate growth; and(iii) that the policies were designed in ways insensitive to social impacts, and the burden of adjustment fell heavily on the poor and at the expense of social and public services.

The scope of IMF policy conditions has been increasing through the years and has become far too broad. Many of the conditions were not relevant or critical to the causes or the management of the crisis the countries found themselves in. Some of these conditions were put into the conditionality package under the influence or pressure of major IMF shareholders for their own interest or agenda, rather than in the interests of the debtor country. On many areas where conditions are set, neither the IMF nor the World Bank has the expertise to give proper advice, and thus the potential to commit a blunder is high and the negative effects can also be high. This includes the area of political conditionality and issues relating to “governance”. In many countries, import liberalisation has led to domestic firms and industries having to close down as they were unable to compete with cheaper imports, and de-industrialisation has been the result.

There is now strong emerging evidence that trade liberalisation can successfully work only under certain conditions. Factors for success or otherwise include the ability of the country’s enterprises and farms to withstand import competition, its production and distribution capacity to export, as well as the state of commodity prices and the degree of market access for its products. In the absence of positive factors, import liberalisation may cause the country into deeper problems.

The implications for conditionality are significant. Evidence is emerging that wrongly sequenced and improperly implemented trade liberalisation is adding to developing countries’ trade deficits. The IMF should thus review its trade liberalisation conditionality to take account of the need to enable countries to tailor their trade policy to their particular conditions and their development needs. In areas of its core competence, there are also serious problems with IMF policies. The problems with conditionality do not lie only in “new areas” outside the traditional areas of the IMF’s concern. The criticism is now widespread that even in the areas of the IMF’s core competence (macroeconomic, financial, monetary and fiscal policies), there are major problems of appropriateness of policy and conditionality.

Policy objectives and assumptions and policy instruments on how to obtain them are under question, given the poor record of outcome. This questioning of the appropriateness and outcomes of policy had already been going on for several years (especially in relation to policies and results in Africa), but the doubts and criticisms grew much more intense as a result of the IMF handling of the Asian crisis.The IMF policies tend to be biased towards restrictive monetary policies (including high interest rates) and fiscal contraction, both of which tend to induce or increase recessionary pressures in the overall economy. The contraction in money supply and high interest rates decrease the inducement for investment as well as consumption (thus reducing effective demand). The high interest rates also increase the debt-servicing burden of local enterprises and cause a deterioration in the banking system in relation to non-performing loans.

The Fund has also maintained the strong condition for financial liberalisation and openness in the capital account. Thus, the country is subjected to free inflows and outflows of funds, involving foreigners and locals. The country’s exchange rate is in most cases open to the influence of these capital flows, to the level of interest rate, and to speculative activity. Often, there are large fluctuations in the exchange rate. Given the fixed assumption that the capital account must remain open, there is thus the need to maintain the confidence of the short-term foreign investor and potential speculators. A policy of high interest rate and lower government expenditure is advised (imposed) in an effort to maintain foreign investor confidence. But since this policy causes financial difficulties to local firms and banks, and increase recessionary pressures, the level of confidence in the currency may also not be maintained.

The narrow perspective on which the restrictive policies are based neglects the need to build the domestic basis and conditions for recovery and for future development, including the survival and recovery of local firms and financial institutions, the encouragement of sufficient aggregate effective demand, the retention of the confidence of local savers, consumers and investors.

Most IMF policies imposed on countries that face financial problems and economic slowdown are opposite to the policies adopted by (and encouraged for) developed countries, such as the US, which normally reduce interest rates to as low a level as needed and which boost government expenditures, so as to increase effective demand, counter recessionary pressures and spark a recovery. Thus there have been criticisms by mainstream and renowned Western economists (including Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz) that criticise the IMF for imposing policies on developing countries that are opposite to what the US does when facing a similar situation.

Since the type of policies that are linked to IMF conditionality have been increasingly criticised for not working, including because they are contractionary and recessionary in nature and effect, it is no wonder that there is a lack of credibility and confidence in the substance of IMF conditionality, even in its core areas of competence. There is thus a need for IMF to review its macroeconomic package, re-look the policy objectives and assumptions, compare the trade-offs in policy objectives with the number and effects of policy instruments, and widen the range of policy options and instruments. This review should be made in respect of government budget and expenditure, money supply, interest rate, exchange rate, and the degree of capital account openers and regulation.

The IMF has also been heavily criticised, especially by civil society, for the inappropriate design of their policies from the viewpoint of social impact, including reducing access of the public to basic services, and increasing the incidence of poverty. The adverse social impacts are caused by several policies and mechanisms. The contractionary monetary and fiscal policies induce recessionary pressures, corporate closures, lower or negative growth rates, retrenchments and higher unemployment. Cutbacks in government expenditure lead to reduced spending on education, health and other services. The switch in financing and provision of services from a grant basis to user-pay basis impacts negatively on the poorer sections of society. The removal or reduction of government subsidies jacks up the cost of living including the cost of transport, food, and fuel.

These and other policies have contributed to higher poverty, unemployment, income loss and reduced access to essential goods and services. It is not a coincidence that countries undergoing IMF conditionality have been affected by demonstrations and riots (popularly called “IMF Riots”). The social impact of IMF policies is another major cause of the crisis of credibility in IMF conditionality. It must be recognised by the IMF that the major problem with its conditionality is that the policies associated with it are seen to be inappropriate and harmful. This view is not confined to critical academics or NGOs but is now adopted by renowned mainstream scholars, by parliamentarians of many countries, and also by policymakers of the countries taking IMF loans and undergoing IMF conditionality.

The growth of the criticism is caused mainly by the poor record of the policies adopted, and not so much by the lack of implementation of the policies. Therefore, the most urgent task is not so much to “sell” the old conditionality better to the client governments or to the public, but to review the content of conditionality itself and to come up with a better and more appropriate framework and approach. For years the IMF had been advocating that developing countries open their capital account, which would open them more directly to the forces of international capital markets. Also, there were strong moves to add capital account liberalisation to the mandate of the IMF through an amendment to the articles of association.

This advocacy that developing countries open themselves to the full force of global capital markets, when the Fund itself had inadequate knowledge of the capital markets, was surely remarkable, and in hindsight a great mistake with so many adverse consequences.With the recent admission of lack of knowledge, let us hope the Fund is starting a learning process that will lead to recognition of previous errors and a more appropriate, cautious approach with a change in policy advice to developing countries.It should go without saying that appropriateness of conditionality policies in terms of being in the interests of the debtor countries is the key issue to be resolved. “Acceptance” of externally imposed conditionality by the debtor countries is secondary and dependent on it. Moreover, the right to participate in policy making, and thus genuine ownership, is a critical element in ensuring appropriate conditionality and its implementation.

The role of the major shareholder countries is even more important. The public perception is that they would like to make use of the Fund for their interests, often at the expense of recipient countries and their people. The perception is that the major shareholders (who are also the home countries of the major creditor and investor institutions) make use of their position to skew the policy conditions in a manner that is biased in favour of creditors and investors. Is there a conflict of interest in their making use of the vulnerable state that debtor countries find themselves in, as leverage for imposing policies that are in their own narrow interests, even if these are against the interests of the debtor countries?

Finally, it is difficult or even impossible to ensure that the interests of debtor countries will be adequately reflected in conditionality and Fund decisions when the voting rights in the Fund are so skewed towards the creditor countries. Thus, the issue of the relationship between ownership and conditionality has to face up to the issue of the ownership of the IMF itself.

When decision-making rights are so imbalanced as they now are, it is not a wonder that the developed countries are perceived to be controlling the Fund’s policies, and in a manner that reflects their own interests rather than the interests of the whole membership. This situation is likely to continue until there is a fairer balance in the decision-making system.There is a dire need for the modernisation and democratisation of the governance system, including a revision of the quota and voting system. This can be accompanied by genuine reform of IMF policies and priorities. The issue of “ownership and conditionality” can then be better resolved in that context.

Fred M’membe
We are in real danger of extinction

We are in real danger of extinction Featured

We are really in danger of extinction if we don’t take this issue of global warming very, very seriously. It’s no joke. An important biological species — humankind — is at risk of disappearing due to the rapid and progressive elimination of its natural habitat. We are becoming aware of this problem when it is almost too late to prevent it. It must be said that consumer societies are chiefly responsible for this appalling environmental destruction. They were spawned by the former colonial metropolis. They are the offspring of imperial policies which, in turn, brought forth the backwardness and poverty that have become the scourge for the great majority of humankind.

With only 20 per cent of the world’s population, they consume two-thirds of all metals and three-fourths of the energy produced worldwide. They have poisoned the seas and the rivers. They have polluted the air. They have weakened and perforated the ozone layer. They have saturated the atmosphere with gases, altering climatic conditions with the catastrophic effects we are already beginning to suffer. The forests are disappearing. The deserts are expanding. Billions of tons of fertile soil are washed every year into the sea. Numerous species are becoming extinct. Population pressures and poverty lead to desperate efforts to survive, even at the expense of nature. Third World countries, yesterday’s colonies and today nations exploited and plundered by an unjust international economic order, cannot be blamed for all this.

The solution cannot be to prevent the development of those who need it the most. Because today, everything that contributes to underdevelopment and poverty is a flagrant rape of the environment. As a result, tens of millions of men, women and children die every year in the Third World, more than in each of the two world wars. Unequal trade, protectionism and the foreign debt assault the ecological balance and promote the destruction of the environment. If we want to save humanity from this self-destruction, wealth and available technologies must be distributed better throughout the planet. Less luxury and less waste in a few countries would mean less poverty and hunger in much of the world.

Stop transferring to the Third World lifestyles and consumer habits that ruin the environment. Make human life more rational. Adopt a just international economic order. Use science to achieve sustainable development without pollution. Pay the ecological debt. Eradicate hunger and not humanity. Enough of selfishness. Enough of schemes of domination. Enough of insensitivity, irresponsibility and deceit. Tomorrow will be too late to do what we should have done a long time ago.

Over and over at the U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, world leaders stressed the need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The 2015 Paris Agreement commits countries to limit the global average temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to aim for 1.5°C. Scientists have warned that crossing the 1.5°C threshold risks unleashing far more severe climate change effects on people, wildlife and ecosystems.

Preventing it requires almost halving global CO2 emissions by 2030 from 2010 levels and cutting them to net-zero by 2050 — an ambitious task that scientists, financiers, negotiators and activists at COP26 are debating how to achieve and pay for. But what is the difference between 1.5°C and 2°C of warming? Already, the world has heated to around 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels. Each of the last four decades was hotter than any decade since 1850. We never had such a global warming in only a few decades. Half a degree means much more extreme weather, and it can be more often, more intense, or extended in duration.

Climate change is already affecting every inhabited region across the globe. More warming to 1.5°C and beyond will worsen such impacts. For every increment of global warming, changes in extremes become larger.For example, heatwaves would become both more frequent and more severe. An extreme heat event that occurred once per decade in a climate without human influence, would happen 4.1 times a decade at 1.5°C of warming, and 5.6 times at 2°C, according to the U.N. climate science panel (IPCC).
Let warming spiral to 4°C, and such an event could occur 9.4 times per decade.

A warmer atmosphere can also hold more moisture, resulting in more extreme rainfall that raises flood risks. It also increases evaporation, leading to more intense droughts.
The difference between 1.5°C and 2°C is critical for Earth’s oceans and frozen regions. At 1.5°C, there’s a good chance we can prevent most of the Greenland and west Antarctic ice sheet from collapsing.
That would help limit sea level rise to a few feet by the end of the century – still a big change that would erode coastlines and inundate some small island states and coastal cities. But blow past 2°C and the ice sheets could collapse with sea levels rising up to 10 metres – though how quickly that could happen is uncertain.
Warming of 1.5°C would destroy at least 70 per cent of coral reefs, but at 2°C more than 99 per cent would be lost. That would destroy fish habitats and communities that rely on reefs for their food and livelihoods. Warming of 2°C, versus 1.5°C, would also increase the impact on food production.

If you have crop failures in a couple of the breadbaskets of the world at the same time, then you could see extreme food price spikes and hunger and famine across wide swathes of the world.
A warmer world could see the mosquitoes that carry diseases such as malaria and dengue fever expand across a wider range. But 2°C would also see a bigger share of insects and animals lose most of their habitat range, compared with 1.5°C, and increase the risk of forest fires – another risk to wildlife.

As the world heats up, the risk increases that the planet will reach tipping points where Earth’s systems cross a threshold that triggers irreversible or cascading impacts. Exactly when those points would be reached is uncertain. Droughts, reduced rainfall, and continued destruction of the Amazon through deforestation, for example, could see the rainforest system collapse, releasing CO2 into the atmosphere rather than storing it. Or warming Arctic permafrost could cause long-frozen biomass to decompose, releasing vast amount of carbon emissions. That’s why it’s so risky to keep emitting from fossil fuels because we’re increasing the likelihood that we go over one of those tipping points.

So far, the climate pledges that countries have submitted to the United Nations’ registry of pledges put the world on track for 2.7°C of warming. The International Energy Agency says that new promises announced at the COP26 summit – if implemented – could hold warming to below 1.8°C, although some experts challenged that calculation. It remains to be seen whether those promises will translate into real-world action.

Warming of 2.7°C would deliver unliveable heat for parts of the year across areas of the tropics and subtropics. Biodiversity would be enormously depleted, food security would drop, and extreme weather would exceed most urban infrastructure’s capacity to cope.
If we can keep warming below 3°C we likely remain within our adaptive capacity as a civilisation, but at 2.7°C warming we would experience great hardship.

Fred M’membe

Climate change is a very serious religious issue

Climate change is a very serious religious issue Featured

Following last week’s COP26 in Glasgow the issue of climate change is still very much on my mind. And this Sunday I turn to the religious for leadership and guidance on this very serious and urgent challenge facing humanity.

There is a long history of religious thinking and attention to the role of humans as stewards of the earth and the environment. These theological underpinnings stem from the idea that God created earth and humans, therefore, God’s children have a responsibility to care for his creations. This perspective is shared across a number of faiths.

In June 2015, Pope Francis issued an encyclical urging Catholics and all people on earth to focus on a broad range of issues and problems in the environment including pollution, climate change, biodiversity and global inequality of ecological systems.In February 2006, a group of 86 evangelical leaders, under the auspices of the Evangelical Climate Initiative, challenged the Bush administration on global warming. Other religious groups and leaders in the USA, and other countries, have taken positions as well.

A robust policy strategy – regarding support in the religious community – should pay careful attention to the effects of both climate change and climate policy on the poor in both developing nations and the developed world itself. Understanding the cultural dimensions of climate change requires understanding its religious aspects. Insofar as climate change is entangled with humans, it is also entangled with all the ways in which religion attends human ways of being.

Religious leaders should continue to call for bold action in defense of God’s creation.Pope Francis, who attended the Earth Day summit, encouraged the leaders of the world’s largest economies to “take charge of the care of nature, of this gift that we have received and that we have to heal, guard, and carry forward.” These words are increasingly significant because of the challenge the world faces. As Pope Francis said, “We need to keep moving forward and we know that one doesn’t come out of a crisis the same way one entered. We come out either better or worse. Our concern is to see that the environment is cleaner, purer, and preserved. We must take care of nature so that it takes care of us.”Meeting the scale and scope of the climate crisis will require all religious leaders and activists, along with political leaders of all faiths and no faith, to unite around climate justice priorities.

The moral case to address the climate crisis is resounding in faith communities around the world. It’s up to political leaders to make the investments and changes necessary to safeguard and secure humanity’s survival and protect God’s creation.

Fred M’membe

Our initial brief reaction to the 2022 Budget

Our initial brief reaction to the 2022 Budget Featured

From their posturing, boasting and unending promises of a paradise, a heaven on earth, we
expected the UPND government to do better than this in their first budget. But it seems they are still in their unending campaign mode of making unnecessary promises of being Macgyvers who will easily fix this and that.
They have promised heaven but they seem to have serious difficulties delivering even purgatory. Their 2022 Budget is expansionary yet with tax concessions given to mining corporations, a clear demonstration that the UPND government is about to surrender our sovereignty to capital and not the people.

Suffice to say, we are known as the second largest producer of copper in Africa. By implication, the copper industry is the most important part of our economy. Be that as it may be, this sector has only been contributing an average 13 per cent to our GDP before Covid-19 hit and around 25 per cent after the pandemic hit us due to disruptions in trade and global supply chain. Ironically, it’s the retail business and PAYE that have been the major contributors to our GDP, meaning our country’s economic prospects is funded by poor people for the benefit of the rich.

You may wish to know that out of the 8 major mining corporations operating in Zambia, only two companies have been paying Company Income Tax (CIT) in the last 25 years. Meaning the rest have been declaring loses as our tax authorities have no capacity to find loopholes in their tax declarations. Base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) seems to be very easy for these corporations. To maximise value from this sector, the Zambia Revenue Authority proposed the introduction of Mineral Royalty Tax (MRT) to bring certain “loss making” companies on the tax base. Mineral Royalty Tax is not a fee, it’s a tax. Currently it’s paid as final tax by both loss making and profit declaring mining corporations as a final tax. So it is net tax income to the Zambian people.

At the time when the copper prices are historically high, the UPND government has proposed in the 2022 Budget that MRT becomes a deductible tax. Meaning whatever losses they make off CIT can be netted off MRT. This may result in a significant resource mobilisation loss. In the end, the only benefits we may get from the mining sector are only business and job opportunities and PAYE.
Consequently, the named mine they are targeting to benefit from these concessions make super profits and externalise the money. There is no law that will hold them accountable for the promise of the USD2bn a named mine has promised to invest in Zambia. Moreover, in the unlikely event that decency prevails, the named beneficiary mine will use the same extra money saved from tax concessions after exporting Zambian minerals to reinvest in Zambia.

It’s public knowledge that only a named corporation had a legitimate complaint regarding double taxation with non- deductible MRT and Company Income Tax. Why didn’t those brains in government address this specific issue instead of mutilating the revenue base from the industry? One option was to reduce Income Tax to 5 per cent from 35 per cent or even reduce to 0 per cent and compute MRT at a level that protects Zambians.

Why do mining corporations love income tax? Simple transfer pricing and exaggeration of costs to declare lower taxable income. Why do they hate MRT? It’s based on extracted minerals and easy to administer by ZRA and difficult to cheat. Remember this, countries with deductible MRT and lower taxes in this industry have higher stakes or even controlling shares in private mining corporations. So they collect lower taxes and get dividends. In Zambia some mining companies are 100 per cent privately owned. Why such concessions? If Parliament has any spine, this is the time to show it.

Moreover, government just added K4bn non-discretionary expenditure by hiring 40,000 people at one go. It looks good on paper as a percentage of GDP, but that is a lot of pressure on the Treasury given that our wages plus debt service is equal to 114 per cent of domestic revenues. So, at the very least, pretty much all non-wage expenditure is coming from borrowing, which is unsustainable. Given their promises on debt contraction, one would have expected them to match their words with action by reducing on both domestic and foreign debt. If they are going to borrow $4.2 billion in one year yet reducing on the tax base, then they are further plunging the country into a vicious debt cycle.

Like PF, the UPND are continuing on the path of funding their budgets through debt. When you starting funding education – the building of schools – from borrowings – then you know you are on a very dangerous path. For many reasons – economic, cultural and otherwise – education should be funded from your own generated resources no matter what the difficulties or challenges. They seem to have no ideas on how to reduce the budget deficits yet they have unnecessary think tanks on their payroll such as ZIPAR, PMRC and National Economic Advisory Council who get paid for doing nothing and don’t even apply for competitive consultancy works for sustainability. You have 14 grant aides institutions under the Ministry of Health that are embroidered in the duplication of efforts. You have unnecessary courts, unnecessary service commissions and other grand aided institutions that can be merged and leverage on the usage of IT, internet of things and blockchain for less cost and less time while having more impact on productivity.

There has been a significant increase in CDF with no systems in place to manage that. As a socialist party, decentralization is one of our key pillars but it has to been done in a well thought out manner beginning with the transfers of key officers from the ministries that have been merged so that Lusaka only plays an oversight role. What has been assured is the what, the how has not been clearly stated.

We expected the UPND government to give a clear policy direction on the importation of fuel, especially through some government to government arrangement or private sector participation through their own pronounced Private Public Partnership in an attempt not only to stop wastage in terms of subsidies that only benefit middlemen but also to reduce the pressure on the exchange market each time we go to buy dollars to pay for fuel. In a word, they have continued on the same PF path of lack of innovation, generation of new ideas and strictly adherence to the same modus operandi.

Their fears of China shouldn’t be ours

Their fears of China shouldn’t be ours Featured

Let’s not allow others’ fears of China to be our fears.We really should have nothing to fear about China. Everyday we are being bombarded with anti-China propaganda on their television channels and other news media outlets.
Those who have enslaved us, exploited us, humiliated and colonised us for centuries are today trying to scare us about China doing the same to us. Why? Is it because they now love us more, care about us more?

It’s not about us they are worried; it’s about themselves. They are very worried about being surpassed by China economically, technologically and consequently militarily.
They must let others develop while seeking their own advancement; they must let others live better aspiring to live better themselves; they must let others feel secure while seeking their own security.

Let’s not blindly follow them on China. Every country’s situation is different, and every path is different. Whether the shoe fits or not, only the wearer knows.

We have more to learn and benefit from cooperation with China. But this is not to say dealing with China will be without problems or challenges. There’s no relationship without problems or challenges. But these have to be understood, weighed and dealt with as they arise. But our problems and challenges with China are very different from their problems and challenges with China. And they openly state their problems and challenges with China.
For instance, in early October, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States announced that it had created a top-level working group on China. CIA Director William Burns said that the United States is facing its “toughest geopolitical test in a new era of great power rivalry,” and so the CIA stated that it would focus its attention on this test. What is the test? The test is, as US President Joe Biden put it, China’s “aggressiveness.”
What is the evidence of Chinese “aggressiveness”? The last time the armed forces of the United States and China had a serious clash was in 2001, when a US Navy intelligence aircraft, which was conducting a reconnaissance mission extremely close to South China’s Hainan Province, collided with a Chinese fighter jet. Since then, there has been no direct clash between American and Chinese forces. However, the US has continued to build up military capabilities in the Pacific Ocean, strengthening its Indo-Pacific Command, establishing two new military and strategic channels (the QUAD with Australia, India, and Japan, as well as AUKUS with Australia and the United Kingdom), in addition to ratcheting up its rhetoric versus China. China, meanwhile, has built up its defensive capabilities, including military means to defend its territory and its regional interests.

Even the US military has acknowledged in a key report that China does not seek to attack the US nor threaten its interests outside of Asia (Pentagon, Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, 2020). This same document from the US military makes it clear that China, unlike the US, has adopted a “no first use” nuclear policy. As the US military document notes, “China will never use nuclear weapons first at any time nor under any circumstances, and China unconditionally undertakes not to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against any nonnuclear-weapon state or in nuclear-weapon-free zones.”

If the US military’s own assessment is that China is not a threat, then why does the White House continue to advance the view of a “China threat”? In his first speech to the US Congress as President in April 2021, Joe Biden said that “China and other countries are closing in fast.” Biden was not referring to any specific military developments. Despite all the rhetoric, the US still boasts a vast military, much more powerful than any other military force on the planet.

So, when Biden says that China is “closing in fast,” he is not in fact referring to a military challenge but to an economic challenge. It is now widely recognized that in certain key fields, such as telecommunications, high-speed rail, etc., China’s scientific and technological achievements are already one or two generations ahead of the US. This is a serious challenge to US-based high-tech firms, which have come to believe that they have a divine right to retain their superiority. This challenge from China has been something of a surprise to them, and one that they feel can only be remedied by non-market forces, such as a US-imposed hybrid war. It is this rising economic threat that has provoked the US to adopt its increasingly war-like rhetoric and a military build-up on China’s shores.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party (Zambia)

My two cents on the growing intolerance-Dr M’membe

My two cents on the growing intolerance-Dr M’membe Featured

Intolerance – the unwillingness to put up with disagreeable ideas and groups – is increasingly becoming a staple of those who want to hear only one narrative in this country.

The topic is today no less important than it was in the days of UNIP and Dr Kenneth Kaunda. In those days people were dissuaded in all sorts of ways from uttering words against, or in opposition of, UNIP and Dr Kaunda.

The failure of truly democratizing our politics to embrace political freedom for all, even those in the opposition, is one of the most important impediments to the consolidation of our multiparty or plural politics.

Without protection of the right of all to participate in politics, the marketplace of ideas cannot function effectively. The idea of a marketplace is that anyone can put forth a product—an idea—for political consumers to consider. The success of the idea is determined by the level of support freely given in the market. The market encourages deliberation, through which superior ideas are found to be superior, and through which the flaws of bad ideas are exposed for all to see – almost as if guided by an invisible hand. Without a willingness to put up with all ideologies and ideas seeking to compete for the hearts and minds of the citizenry the market is likely to fail. Thus, a fairly simple theory is that democracies require the free and open debate of political differences, and such debate can only take place where political tolerance prevails.

Political tolerance in a democracy requires that all political ideas – and the groups holding them – get the same access to the marketplace of ideas as the access legally extended to the ideas dominating the system. This definition obviously precludes any form of violence, bullying and therefore I make no claim that political tolerance extends to the right of violent elements to engage in violence. It may, however, protect the speech rights of violent elements, or, more precisely, those who advocate violence.

Actions and behaviors related to efforts to persuade people and to compete for political power must be put up with. Obviously, illegal activity need not be countenanced, even if I acknowledge that the line between legal and illegal is often thin, given the power and propensity of our rulers to criminalize political activities by the opposition and other dissenters.

The marketplace of ideas approach anticipates two important – and interconnected – restraints on freedom. First, many fear that the government, typically under the guise of regulation, will usurp power and deny the expression of ideas threatening to the status quo – i.e. the power of the government of the day.

A second constraint on freedom is more subtle: it originates in the political culture of a polity – the beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors of ordinary citizens. Restraints on freedom can certainly emanate from public policy; but they can also be found in subtle demands for conformity within a society’s culture. To the extent that ordinary citizens are intolerant of views challenging mainstream thought, the expression of such viewpoints is likely to generate sanctions and costs. This can in turn create a spiral of silence: a dynamic process in which those holding minority viewpoints increasingly learn about how rare their views are, thereby leading to silence, which in turn makes the ideas seem to be even less widely held, and therefore more dangerous or costly to express.

This growing intolerance, if not stopped, will create a silent generation, a cohort unwilling to express views that might be considered controversial or unpopular. And, to complete the circle, mass political intolerance can be a useful form of political capital for those who would in turn enact repressive legislation. To the extent that a political culture emphasizes conformity and penalizes those with contrarian ideas, little tolerance exists, and the likelihood of political repression is high.

Farewell dear comrade, dear brother, dear friend – Fred M’membe

Farewell dear comrade, dear brother, dear friend – Fred M’membe Featured

Dear comrades;

Fellow Zambians;

Today we begin to mourn the passing of a leader, a revolutionary, a patriot, a father, a fighter, an internationalist, a theoretician and an organizer. Indeed, it is the combination of all these qualities so splendidly in one individual, which made Comrade Simon Zukas the great African revolutionary that he was.

Men and women of rare qualities are few and hard to come by. And when they depart, the sense of loss is made the more profound and the more difficult to manage. Yet we do draw comfort, Comrade Simon: – from the knowledge that you left a legacy which we shall all strive to emulate; – from the knowledge, Comrade Simon, that you continue to live in each one of us through your force of example, vitality of spirit and passion for justice, fairness and humaneness.

Today, as the nation starts to mourn your death, we are at the same time starting to celebrate a life lived to the full; the richness of which touched the hearts of millions and made an indelible mark on the history of our country.One day when our people start enjoying a rising standard of living in a more just, fair and humane Zambia, they will be right to say, Comrade Simon was a chief architect who helped lay the foundation for a better life.

Comrade Simon was one of those who taught us that individuals do not make history. Yet, in each generation there are a few individuals who are endowed with the acumen and personal bearing which enable them to direct the course of events.

Comrade Simon, the first recipient of the Socialist Party’s highest honor – the Nsingu award, belonged in that category. In that sense he was a rare species, an institution. To reflect on Simon’s contribution is, therefore, to retrace the evolution of Zambian politics in the past six or seven decades. Such is the life we have started celebrating today: a life not so much of white generosity to the black people of our country; for Comrade Simon did not see himself as a white Zambian but as a Zambian. He was a full part of our people, his people, acting together with them for a more just, fair and humane order.

Comrade Simon lived the life not merely of a theoretician, confined to the boardroom and library. He was at all stages of struggle there at the forefront, generating ideas, and there too, in their implementation.

Comrade Simon was a full human being at heart. And he possessed the passion and natural intellect to see reality for what it was. He had, at an early age joined the Communist Party of South Africa. He had decided that in his life there was only one target, and that target was to remove the racist regime in South Africa and colonialism in Africa and obtain power for the people.

Those of us who had the honor to be closely associated with Comrade Simon, know that he lived true top the dedication he knew fully well that he would walk again and again through the valley of the shadow of death to reach the mountain-tops of his desires. I was fortunate to be close to him and to be with him in many struggles. With his wife, Cynthia, we would debate many issues.His sharp intellect and incisive mind would always light the way.

Comrade Simon was a well-rounded human being. Up to his last days, he lived life to the full. It is this passion for happiness in his life and the lives of others that we saw in his contribution to the campaigns of the working people and the poor. It is precisely because of his seminal contribution to the liberation struggle that Comrade Simon was loved by those struggling for freedom.

Though the defenders of apartheid and colonialism sought to obliterate his memory, the struggling people knew that he was an effective and skillful freedom fighter.The most central factor in his approach to struggle on any front was the understanding of the political situation, the balance of forces and thus the approaches necessary to advance that struggle. Thus he was able to appreciate changes in the objective conditions and initiate discussions on changes to the tactics to be applied.He knew when to compromise. Yet he never compromised his principles.

He was a revolutionary. Yet a revolutionary who knew how to plan, assess concrete situations and emerge with rational solutions to problems.The advocates of racial superiority could not understand how Comrade Simon could be part of the liberation struggle and operate under the leadership of the hapless inferiors they despised. But Comrade Simon took part in struggle as an equal, as part of the people.

The defenders of colonial exploitation and subjugation could not understand why Comrade Simon would seek to end the dominance of his racial kith and kin. But Comrade Simon’s kin was all humanity, especially the very poor. The champions of privilege and concentration of wealth could not fathom why Comrade Simon identified with the wretched of the earth. But Comrade Simon knew that these were the creators of wealth and they deserved their fair share.

Let it be said loud and clear today, that the qualities Comrade Simon demonstrated in abundance in the past few decades were the same attributes that spurred him to struggle, the qualities that drove him to join the Communist Party of South Africa, the independence struggle in Zambia and the qualities that he helped engender in these struggles.

We in the Socialist Party know intimately what vacuum Comrade Simon’s departure has left in our midst. We shall miss not only his incisiveness, experience and verve. We are conscious that it is given to a few to so ably combine theory and practice, as Comrade Simon demonstrated in our struggles.But we know too that he has left us a legacy which will continue to guide our approach. And that is to mobilize all the role-players in any area of work for joint efforts to build a better life for all. If we have taken liberty to claim Comrade Simon as ours today, this merely underlines that there are those to whom he was more than just a revolutionary and a friend.

We know, dear dear Comrade Cynthia and your family that you feel this pain more deeply. We cannot fully grasp the magnitude of your grief. Please be comforted by the fact that the nation shares your grief; and we shall always be at your side.Like you, our sorrow is made the more intense because we have lost not just one of our leaders; we have lost a veteran whose qualities are in many respects unequaled. He is irreplaceable.

Comrade Simon, if you see tears welling in our eyes, it is because we cannot bear saying:

Farewell dear comrade, dear brother, dear friend!

Comrade Grey Zulu was a selfless, incorruptible leader – Dr M’membe

Comrade Grey Zulu was a selfless, incorruptible leader – Dr M’membe Featured

Last week was a year after the death of the great freedom fighter and nation builder Comrade Grey Alexander Zulu.

And on Sunday we gathered at Agrippa Village in Chipangali where he is buried for a memorial service.

Comrade Zulu’s very high sense of patriotism, selfishlessness, and spirit of sacrifice will continue to inspire those of us committed to building a more fair, just, and humane society – a socialist Zambia.

Comrade Grey Zulu was a sincere, selfless, humble, incorruptible, and reliable leader of our people who dedicated his whole life to the cause of the people.

Comrade Zulu was a strong, honest and wise man who always looked into the future with confidence. He embodied the high ideals of a politician, citizen and patriot who wholeheartedly believed in the cause of the people, to which he devoted his entire life.

Socialists in Zambia and beyond will always cherish his memory in their hearts. We are fully confident that this spirit will never die and that it will continue to enlighten and inspire our people, especially the youth, for continuing to peacefully struggle to finally liberate our nation from capitalist neo-colonial domination, humiliation and exploitation.

May his indomitable spirit live on in the struggles of our poor people.

Fred M’membe

A Message from the Socialist Party President to the President Elect

A Message from the Socialist Party President to the President Elect Featured

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.

Fred M’membe

Statement of the Socialist Party on the ongoing killings

Statement of the Socialist Party on the ongoing killings Featured

No political anger, no political differences, no electoral malpractices or violations can justify atrocious acts such as the physical elimination of political opponents.

No crime can be committed in the name of politics, elections or protecting the vote.

If people are caught trying to rig elections or commit any crime, it is not right to instantly kill them. This is lawlessness. It runs contrary to the rule of law. Make a citizen arrest and subject them to prosecution.

In our last virtual rally on Wednesday I said, “We go into these elections with blood on the hands of some of members of the PF and UPND. Its votes covered in blood. Theirs are not clean votes; they are blood soiled votes. They have confused electoral campaigns with a battlefield where the aim is to destroy the other.”

The killings have continued. The leaders of these two ‘siamese twins’ parties have failed to stop this violence. They are very quick to make condemnations when it is their own members at the receiving end. They are literary mute when it is their own members doing the killing. This is not leadership. To them, it would seem, the life that is valuable is only that of their members.

But all human life is sacred, holy, and precious. The sanctity of life is inherent as man cannot create life. Therefore, man has no authority to destroy life. It is the only way for humankind to exist.

We demand that the leaders of these two violent, and unfit to govern, parties take responsibility and stop these killings. These elections are competition to serve and not a ‘do or die’ contest.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

August 12, 2021

Lusaka

Life is sacred – M’membe

Life is sacred – M’membe Featured

Equality among citizens and the demands of justice call for policies, which aim to provide adequate healthcare for all. People should never be reduced to the status of objects. Every person is of equal dignity. The value of one’s life is, therefore, not measured by one’s age, possessions, or position in society. Life is sacred. One cannot claim to uphold the principle of the sanctity of life if provision has not been made for even minimal healthcare for every person.

This is a priority we cannot ignore if we wish to be a caring and compassionate nation. It must be recognised that, if this problem is to be tackled, it will demand the allocation of more state resources.

Fred M’membe

Hearty congratulations to the people of Peru – SP

Hearty congratulations to the people of Peru – SP Featured

The Politburo of the Socialist Party (Zambia) sends its greetings and congratutions to Comrades Pedro Castillo and running mate Dina Boluarte and the entire leadership of the Marxist-Leninist Free Peru party on their election victory. The election victory of Comrade Castillo, a rural school teacher, gives us a lot of encouragement and confidence, as we approach our own elections on August 12, that even the poor, if well organised, can set themselves a political agenda and defeat their rich and better financially resourced right wing opponents. We know that the challenges for the Free Peru party will be many and tough as Congress is collectively dominated by right wing parties.

Fighting Peru’s entrenched corruption under such conditions will certainly not be an easy undertaking. Of the country’s nine presidents since 1990, one, Alberto Fujimori — the father of the candidate, Keiko, the Free Peru party has defeated — is in jail, another is fighting extradition from California, a third shot himself to avoid arrest, and four others are under criminal investigation.
The Free Peru party government has to also deal with the coronavirus. Peru constitutes one of the country’s globally with the highest covid-19 death rate, and public health experts are warning of an imminent third wave.

We wish our comrades in the Free Peru party all the best.

Issued by Fred M’membe,
President of the Socialist Party,

July 20, 2021
Lusaka, Zambia

Let’s pray for KK’s soul to rest in eternal peace – M’membe

Let’s pray for KK’s soul to rest in eternal peace – M’membe Featured

I am helpless. I do not know what to say or how to say it. No one is too old to die.

For now I can only urge you my fellow citizens to take a solemn pledge to work for unity, fraternity and peace as the best tribute we can all pay to KK’s memory. KK was a man of peace and justice. The first thing for all of us to remember now is that none of us dare engage in violence for whatever reason.

We have to behave in a disciplined manner and face all the perils that surround us, determined to carry out the mandate that our great leader has given us, remembering always that if his spirit looks upon us and sees us, nothing would displease his soul so much as to see that we have indulged in any small behaviour or any violence.

We must hold together, and all our petty troubles and differences and conflicts must be ended in the face of this great disaster.

Pray for KK’s soul to rest in eternal peace. And while we pray, the greatest prayer that we can offer is to take a pledge to dedicate ourselves to peace, justice and equity, and to the cause for which this great countryman of ours lived. That is the best prayer that we can offer him and his memory. That is the best prayer we can offer to Zambia and ourselves.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Pope Francis is a great source of my daily inspiration – M’membe

Pope Francis is a great source of my daily inspiration – M’membe Featured

I love this Pope – Francis. He is a great source of daily inspiration in my revolutionary work, and especially in these election campaigns. I closely follow his teachings.

Meeting a group of French priests pursuing higher ecclesiastical studies in Rome on Monday, Pope Francis recalled a favourite imagery of a pastor, urging that priests be “shepherds with the ‘smell of the sheep’”, grounded in the situation of their flock.
“The studies you undertake in the various Roman universities prepare you for your future tasks as pastors and enable you to better appreciate the reality in which you are called to proclaim the Gospel of joy”, he told some 19 priests of the ‘national church of the French’ in the Italian capital. He said they should not go into the field to apply theories without considering the environment in which they will be working or the people entrusted to their care. “I wish you to be shepherds with ‘the smell of the sheep'”, the Pope said, repeating once again the analogy he used in his homily at the Chrism Mass on March 28, 2013, a fortnight after his election.

He said pastors should be “people capable of living, of laughing and crying with your people, in a word, of communicating with them”. He expressed concern that sometimes reflections and thoughts on priesthood are laboratory sample: this priest, that priest and so on. He said priesthood isolated from the people of God, is neither a Catholic priesthood nor a Christian one.

“Strip yourselves of your pre-constituted ideas, your dreams of greatness, your self-assertion, in order to put God and people at the center of your daily concerns,” the Pope said, stressing that a pastor is one who puts God’s holy faithful people at the centre. For those priests who would like to be an intellectual, not a pastor, the Pope said, it is better for them to be lay persons. A priest has to be a pastor in the midst of God’s people because God has chosen him for that.

Pope Francis also advised the French priests regarding their community life, saying individualism, self-assertion, and indifference are some of the challenges of living together. He warned them against “the temptation to create small closed groups, to isolate oneself, to criticize and speak ill of others, to believe oneself superior, more intelligent”.

The Pope said that gossip is a habit of closed groups, of “bachelor’ priests who talk and malign others, undermining all. “We need to let go of this habit and look at and think about God’s mercy”. The Pope wished that they always welcome one another as a gift. “In a fraternity lived in truth, in the sincerity of relationships and in a life of prayer, we can form a community in which we can breathe the air of joy and tenderness.”

The Holy Father encouraged a community life of sharing and prayer with joy. He said, “The priest is a man who, in the light of the Gospel, spreads the taste of God around him and transmits hope to restless hearts”. To those visiting their community, they can communicate the Gospel values of a “diverse and supportive fraternity”, and make them feel the fidelity of God’s love and His closeness.
In this regard, the Pope offered to them the model of St. Joseph, inviting them to “rediscover the face of this man of faith, this tender father, model of fidelity and trusting abandonment to God’s plan”. St. Joseph, he said, teaches us that faith in God includes believing that He can work even through our fears, our frailties and our weaknesses.

Our frailties is a “theological place of encounter with the Lord”, the Pope said, adding, a “fragile priest”, who knows his weaknesses and talks about them with the Lord, will do well. Instead, “superman” priests end up badly. “With Joseph,” the Pope said, “we are called to return to the experience of the simple acts of acceptance, tenderness, and the Joy and sense of humour.

The Pope also urged the young French priests to build a Church that is entirely at the service of a world that is more fraternal and in solidarity. They should not be afraid to dare, to risk and to go forward, assured that with Christ they can be apostles of joy and be grateful for serving their brothers and sisters and the Church.

This joy should be accompanied by a sense of humor, the Pope pointed out, adding, a priest who does not have a sense of humor is not liked, something is wrong. “Imitate those great priests who laugh at others, at themselves and even at their own shadow,” he said, adding, “a sense of humor is one of the characteristics of holiness”, as he pointed out in his Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete et Exultate.

Recalling their priestly ordination, he reminded them that they have been anointed with the oil of joy and are to anoint others with the oil of joy. He said only by remaining rooted in Christ can they experience a joy that moves them to win hearts. “Priestly joy is the source of your action as missionaries of your time”, he said.

Another virtue the Holy Father encouraged the young priests to cultivate is gratitude to God for what they are to one another. “With your limitations, your frailties, your tribulations”, Pope Francis reminded them, “there is always a loving gaze resting on you and giving you confidence”.

Gratitude “is always ‘a powerful weapon'”, he said, which “allows us to keep the flame of hope burning in moments of discouragement, loneliness and trials”.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

(Image, Credit Reuters)

Zambia needs a new type of politics

Zambia needs a new type of politics Featured

Over the next eleven weeks, you will hear, from my opponents or competitors, how our country is flourishing, how happy we all are, how we trusted our government, and what bright perspective are unfolding before us.

I didn’t accept to be the presidential candidate of the Socialist Party so that I, too, would lie to you. Our country is not flourishing. Zambia is 123rd in the overall Prosperity Index rankings. Since 2010, Zambia has moved down the rankings table by 12 places.

A country once proud of its educational standards now spends so little on education that it ranks so low in the world. Our country which used to rank so low on the corruption index today is among the world’s most corrupt nations.

Today we live in a highly contaminated moral environment. We have lost our values, principles, standards and common aims. We learned to ignore each other, to care only for ourselves. In Zambia today love, friendship, compassion, equity, justice, solidarity, fairness and humility have lost their depth and dimensions.

When I talk about the contaminated moral atmosphere, I am speaking about all of us. We have all become used to a corrupt and intolerant system and accepted it as an unalterable fact of life, and thus we help to perpetuate it. None of us is just its victim; we are all its co-creators.

We urgently need a new type of politics based on morality, principles, values, standards and common aims. We need to teach ourselves and others that politics should be an expression of the desire to contribute to the happiness of the community rather than of a need to cheat or rape the community. Let us teach ourselves and others that politics can be not only the art of the possible, especially if “the possible” includes the art of speculation, calculation, intrigue, secret deals, and pragmatic maneuvering, but that it can also be the art of the possible, that is, the art of improving ourselves and the country.

We have a duty to struggle for a more just, fair and humane society. We should dream of such a Republic.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

It’s time to choose between the future and the past – M’membe

It’s time to choose between the future and the past – M’membe Featured

ON AUGUST 12, Zambians will face a stark choice: a choice between the future and the past, Socialist Party president Fred M’membe has said.

“Today the case I put before the Zambian people is that if we are to secure the future for our children, for our communities and for our nation, the government of Zambia must now change in a real and revolutionary sense,” he said.

“The neoliberal, capitalist policies being pursued and advanced by our opponents belong to the past. Socialism is the future and we must build it now. After a decade in power, the PF has lost touch with the poor and working people. It no longer understands what fairness, justice, equity and peace actually mean. It simply doesn’t understand the new challenges we face, now, and in the future.”

In a statement ahead of the party’s official campaign launch, Dr M’membe spelled out some of the challenges Zambia was facing.

“One challenge is to revolutionise our hospitals and make health services free and socialised. And above all, there is the challenge to transform our education system and make it free and socialised,” he said.

“The PF has no plans for the future because it’s not going to be there to deal with the challenges of the future. It is being sent to the wire on August 12.

“The way forward for Zambia is to elect a revolutionary party and president with progressive ideas to meet the challenges of the future, a new president and government that understand and respect the values upon which our independence struggle was fought.”

Dr M’membe said those values were honesty, equity, humility and solidarity.

“We need to build a Zambia anchored on justice, equity and peace. We need a nation where there’s decency, fairness and respect,” he said. “You can’t have a plan for Zambia’s future if you have lost sight of such basic values. For us socialists, these values are in our DNA.”

Dr M’membe said Zambia needed a new leadership with fresh ideas for the future. “With barely three months to go in this election campaign, the PF government has put forward no real new ideas for the future. It has run out ideas. It has clearly run out of energy. And it has run out of time.

“The Socialist Party is offering new leadership with a plan for the future, and however many words and however much money the PF may yet throw at these longstanding challenges over the next 11 weeks, it is just not going to be real. The truth is, it’s all just too late to be believable.”

Dr M’membe said nation-building required vision. “And the cornerstone of our vision for Zambia’s future is an education revolution. We believe passionately in the power of education,” he said. “We believe education is the engine room of equity and the engine room of the economy. I would not be standing as a presidential candidate today were it not for the encouragement and instruction provided to me by the teachers who shaped my life. They made it possible for a child like me from Lubemba and Bulozi to finish school, go to university and be here today seeking to lead our nation into the future.

“I know the difference a great education can make. Our vision for Zambia is to build a very good education system so we produce an innovative, skilled and well-trained workforce.”

Dr M’membe said the economies competing against Zambia were making huge investments in education. “They know that knowledge-intensive economies will be the wealthiest economies of the future. We must take decisive action now,” he said. “We need nothing less than an education revolution now to improve radically the performance of the education system. Universities are critical to the education revolution that Zambia so urgently needs. Undoing the damage this government has done to our universities will not be easy. But this challenge begins today.

“Zambia cannot be put on the path of a knowledge economy if we do not help our universities attract and retain our best scientists, innovators and researchers into the future.”

Dr M’membe said he was approaching the election “with a passionate commitment to Zambia’s future”.

“The values I bring to leadership are the values instilled in me by my strong Bemba royal upbringing,” he said. “They are also the values that are intrinsic to this revolutionary party. I understand that life is sometimes harsh, but I believe that as a people we have a responsibility that when one of us falls down we must help to lift them back up. That’s what decency and fairness is all about.

“Another thing I have learnt is the absolute value of hard work, of not being wasteful, and the importance of planning for the future. For me, these are enduring values. And these are the values that, as president, I would bring to our nation’s challenges.

“The nation now needs new leadership for the future. The nation now wants new leadership for the future. And today, I am ready to deliver that new leadership for Zambia’s future.”

SP isn’t M’membe’s party

SP isn’t M’membe’s party Featured

The Socialist Party is not Fred M’membe’s party. It’s a poor people’s party. The poor own it. Those who tend to personify the Socialist Party in me as if the poor people who own this party don’t exist, as if only the leader – Fred M’membe – exists have gotten it very wrong. To them the thousands of poor people who work very hard everyday to build this party don’t exist. Only Fred M’membe exists.

Everyday more and more people are showing admiration for the Socialist Party because they see and understand the unwavering course we have pursued, they understand the party’s dignity and serenity. We have gone through very difficult times without making unnecessary mistakes.

We hear all sorts of accusations from our class enemies. Many slanderous things are said, but reality gradually tears such things to shreds. We have gone through very difficult times and we have gotten back on our feet. We have gone up one step and gone down another, but we have gone up two steps in terms of our people’s respect and consideration. To borrow from a song of our Mkushi North Constituency Socialist Party choir, ‘Nangu bameke lelo tukakumana kuma finals pa August 12!’

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

No place for vengeance

No place for vengeance Featured

Several times, I have been asked if I will avenge the injustice meted on me by some individuals in this regime. My response has been a categorical No. But the question keeps on coming up. Why? Is there fear of vengeance? From who against who? And for what? To achieve what?

Let me make it very, very, very clear: there’s no place for injustice in the mind of a revolutionary, no place at all. There’s no place for vengeance in the heart of a revolutionary. You can be very firm in the struggle, but you can’t do it out of hatred.
We are teaching our members ideas of justice; otherwise, our struggle for a more just, fair and humane Zambia is going nowhere. It is only upon such ideas that a more just, fair and humane society can be achieved and sustained. This can only be achieved based on principles, ideas and ethics. It’s the only way.
We believe in people, in human beings, in their capacity to forge ethics, a consciousness, in their capacity for great sacrifices.
In the course of history, we have seen people die for honour, for values they can understand. Someone instilled them with these values. Let the best human values of justice, fairness and humane ness be instilled in our people.
And our intellectuals can play a very important role in this today, because only people with a certain intellectual development can instill fear in heads of those who conspire and work against justice, fairness and humane ness.
We are convinced that a fascist-like regime will never be established, in any lasting fashion, in our country because our people have traditions, ethics and values that will prevent this. That is why those who want to impose a tinpot dictator and a third term on our people have to resort to lies.

We consider ourselves fortunate for having understood that hatred and prejudice are not political weapons. We have political weapons and, in addition to this, experience has taught us that principles are the best possible political weapons.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Free and responsible media key to any successful nation – M’membe

Free and responsible media key to any successful nation – M’membe Featured

Today, May 3, 2021, is a day to recognise the essential contribution of journalists and journalism to national and international efforts to achieve justice, equity peace, democracy and diversity.

A free and responsible media is the foundation of any successful nation, and a precursor for social and economic progress and sustainable development. Social and economic development, science and technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, all of these rely on the ideas and new ways of working brought to us by an independent media.
Good governance and media freedom are not mutually exclusive principles, rather they are ‘mutually dependent’. Only when journalists are given the space to operate freely – to observe, ask questions and report, without fear of arbitrary reprisal – can a nation be confident that decision-makers will be held to the highest standards. And only then can we truly be on the path of building a more just, more fair and more humane society, world.

Just as democratic institutions rely on the Third Sector, composed of charities and NGOs who defend the rights of the poor and weak groups, so too do they depend on a responsible, ethically-minded Fourth Estate, made up of well-trained, fair-minded and professional journalists.
At times of conflict, unrest and disaster, journalists are often the first to risk their lives to provide vital information and identify where humanitarian assistance is needed most.
In times of peace, journalists act as messengers, educators and advocates, putting the people’s concerns to the powerful and allowing voters to make informed decisions about who should represent them in office.
The democratic and development dividend created by a free and responsible media is highest when we respect and value the contribution that journalists make.

Today’s attacks on news media’s already tenuous freedom are proliferating. They often come in the form of violence against independent journalists. Those in power also attempt to assert control over media outlets, even if it means shutting them down.
Zambia needs traditional, independent, media to hold the powerful to account. Where independent media is silenced, coerced, or captured, the public has few options for gaining any information beyond the narratives pushed by those in power and special interests. Social-media platforms can play a role, but their main strength – their democratic nature – also has a fatal flaw. They have proved ideal for spreading fake news, which taints public debate and erodes trust in both facts and institutions.

Appetite for fake news is a threat to healthy independent media. While social-media platforms get a lot of attention for their speed and accessibility, a credible free press – one which does not simply parrot the official line of governments or special interests, but rather seeks the truth – remains essential to strengthening accountability in places where it can often be hard to find.
Chronic underfunding squeezes independent media further. Journalists not only lack resources to support their work, they are often so poorly compensated that they become vulnerable to corruption themselves. “Brown envelope, transport refund journalism” – when reporters are paid by individuals or organisations to publish favourable stories – is becoming increasingly commonplace. If traditional independent media are going to fulfil their essential role, they need resources.
Given the importance of a credible free press to both development and democracy, the Socialist Party in government will remove all constraints on press freedom, and create a more favourable financial, economic and political environment for the media to survive and prosper.

The Socialist Party has consistently reaffirmed its commitment to freedom of the media, as a guarantor of freedom of expression.
The Socialist Party will continue to work with and support various institutions
to help them make good on their individual and collective commitments.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

May Day message from the Socialist Party

May Day message from the Socialist Party Featured

May Day message from the Socialist Party

May Day is not simply a time of celebration for our Party and those who toil.
May Day is also a solemn occasion, a time when we bow our heads in respect for those who have fallen.
On May Day, we remember that the flag of those who toil is not red simply by accident or for artistic reasons. As the traditional labour song goes, “Our life’s blood has dyed its every fold.”

We are revolutionary optimists. Those who toil have won many victories, and they have a great future. In fact, it is only those who toil who are capable of wiping out all the misery and suffering in this world brought about by centuries of exploitation and oppression. But, while we understand why the future of those who toil is bright, we are also sober, thorough-going revolutionaries. We know that the road ahead is tortuous, full of twists and turns.

May Day is a time for casting away illusions and preparing for the struggle for a more just, fair and humane society. It is a time for those who toil to heighten their vigilance against their enemies. It is a time to unite real friends to defeat real enemies.Not all those who wave the red flag or claim to speak for those who toil actually do so. Even at the time of the origins of May Day and the eight-hour movement, there were two lines in the labour movement.

On the one hand, there were those like Haymarket martyr Albert Parsons, who died on the gallows for the cause of labour. These revolutionaries insisted that the demand for the eight-hour day was only the opening shot in a long war, a war that would only end with the complete emancipation of those who toil and the total defeat of capitalism.

On the other hand, there were those like Samuel Gompers, who also claimed to support May Day. They argued that the eight-hour day, an improvement in wages, and trade union organisation would solve all the workers’ problems. Rather than overthrowing the capitalism, they argued that labour should try to win friends among the capitalist politicians and support one faction against another.
Who was right and who was wrong? The revolutionaries like Parsons and Eugene Debs? Or the reformist traitors like Gompers?
We can answer these questions by looking at our conditions today. Over one hundred years have passed and we are still fighting to defend – and attain the eight-hour day. On one hand, we have millions of those who toil who are being driven to the point of exhaustion with forced overtime, moonlighting or speedup. On the other hand, we have millions more who have a zero-hour day, workers thrown out into the streets without jobs, workers who make up the vast army of the unemployed.

Of course, the workers have made some gains in this century of struggle. There have been times when the capitalists and their agents were on the run.Faced with the alternative of massive rebellion, the capitalists made a considerable number of concessions to the workers and the oppressed peoples. But what are these gains, really?

To a certain extent, the gains won in struggle served to strengthen the unity and fighting capacity of those who toil. But when you consider the wealth that those who toil have produced, when you consider the power and potential for abundance of the productive forces that those who toil have themselves created, then these reforms are shown up for what they really are. They are nothing but crumbs, scraps left over on the table after the capitalists have had their feast.

It is socialism, and only socialism, that can help us eliminate exploitation, oppression, abuse and humiliation of those who toil – build it now!

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Let’s rebuild our nation with pride

Let’s rebuild our nation with pride Featured

Let’s rebuild our nation with pride

We the Socialist Party, together with all Zambians, want to rebuild a nation with pride in itself, a thriving community, rich in economic prosperity, secure in social justice, equity and peace, confident in revolutionary change.

Our 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. And in fulfillment of our national anthem truly –

“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…”

Rebuild 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

Why Socialism?

Why Socialism? Featured

Exactly 66 years ago Albert Einstein passed away. Einstein wasn’t just one of the greatest scientists in history, he was also a socialist.⁠

In his 1949 essay “Why Socialism?”, he wrote:⁠

“[Capitalism] as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor—not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules.⁠

I am convinced there is only one way to eliminate these grave evils, namely through the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system which would be oriented toward social goals. In such an economy, the means of production are owned by society itself and are utilized in a planned fashion.”

Source: Redfish

PF Stop it – says Musumali

PF Stop it – says Musumali Featured

NO POLITICAL party has ever shamed Zambia the way the Patriotic Front is at the moment by trying to buy off Socialist Party election candidates, party general secretary and first vice-president Cosmas Musumali told a televised and radio broadcast press conference.
Speaking at Kingfisher Garden Court in Lusaka – where only days before the party’s latest candidates had been celebrated – Dr Musumali said he was sorry to have to share “a massive, malicious, targeted buying off of our candidates happening on an unprecedented large scale”.

He said first reports of an approach by the PF at Luapula had been treated by the party as “just one of those issues, uncomfortable, but we have at times unruly adversaries who see solutions in buying people”.
The parliamentary candidate had been offered 200,000 Kwacha (US$9,015) to stand down. But since then there had been a total of 17 incidents involving 25 candidates – eight as MPs and 17 local councillors – touching all provinces except Southern.
“The impression we are getting is that this is well coordinated and well funded,” Dr Musumali said. “This cannot be the work of a few misguided individuals in the PF, this is something that is coordinated from the top.”

He said the approaches involved constituency level officials, civil servants, district commissioners, and intelligence officers, who were “basically blackmailing people to step down”. “You also have potential PF candidates participating in this, everyone is involved in it.”

Dr Musumali said cash offers ranged from 100,000 Kwacha (US$4,500) to 250,000 Kwacha (US$11,248), but there were also other bribes.
“If you are building a house they will offer you bricks or plumbing materials, they will offer you iron sheets and so forth,” he said.
The inducements also took the form of job offers. “Our trained teachers standing to be members of parliament are being told, ‘if you step down we will deploy you’,” Dr Musumali said. “Some of these people have been without jobs for the past four or five years, but now they are being assured they will get jobs. All they have to do is step down. Some of our youngest candidates are being told, ‘we will reserve a university place for you’. This is serious, extremely serious. Jobs are for sale, school places are for sale.”

Dr Musumali said that, in addition to coaxing SP candidates to cease campaigning, the corrupt PF tricksters were also taking a more sinister approach. “In one case, the candidate was told, ‘go ahead, but slow down with your campaign. On the nomination day, don’t appear. That way the Socialist Party will not have a parliamentary candidate’.”

Dr Musumali told his TV and radio audience that the Zambian people were being insulted by the dirty tricks campaign.
“The Socialist Party came to you and asked for candidates. We worked together for weeks, for months, and you provided us with the candidates,” he said.
“Today you are being insulted, your poverty is being used against you. Your suffering is being used against you. The people you gave us to represent you in parliament have become attractive, not attractive in that they are going to save you, but attractive as commodities. They are on the market. They are for sale. This is unacceptable.”

Dr Musumali said there was “a great possibility that this won’t stop and a high probability that we will lose some of our candidates”.
“So far, the 25 candidates have done well, except one, and we are investigating the case of Mufumbwe, our adopted MP, and this is a very sad situation.
“To those comrades who were entrusted by the masses of our country to represent them and who are today being bought for pieces of silver, we wish them good luck. But what they should know is that they are betraying the Zambian masses who put trust in them.”

Dr Musumali said that if the PF saw itself as the strongest party in the country and thought it was performing well, why did it have to sink to such a low level?
“This is stooping very low,” he said. “It’s unacceptable, it’s a mockery of our democracy, it’s big shame for this country. No political party has shamed this country as you are doing. Stop it!”

Comrade Raul Castro, First Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party

Comrade Raul Castro, First Secretary of the Cuban Communist Party Featured

We send you our revolutionary greetings as you continue to struggle “without pause and improvisation” to find solutions to the challenges facing the Cuban Revolution and humanity in general.

Comrades, your maturity, seriousness, wisdom, honesty, and courage give us inspiration and feeling of security and great confidence in the future as we prepare for our elections coming up in four months on August 12.

You have to cope with the objective problems of the international situation, the increasing number of economic and political measures the imperialists are taking against the Revolution.

Where as there are men and women and political parties and governments that have sold out to imperialism, been hired by imperialism, or surrendered to imperialism you have for 62 years stood steadfast. You have confronted every difficult; pressure and economic, political and all other kinds of attacks.

We have all the confidence that the new leadership of the Cuban Revolution will follow the example of those who created that Revolution and opened a new path for humanity and will adhere to their ideas loyally, and no force on earth can deter the PCC from its revolutionary course.

We wish you all the best dear Comrades!

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Lusaka, Zambia

Modern day Lazarus

Modern day Lazarus Featured

THE ZAMBIAN people are like the beggar Lazarus in the Bible, eating filthy scraps that have fallen from the tables of the rich, Socialist Party general secretary and first vice-president Cosmas Musumali has said.
He was speaking at the second of two adoption ceremonies in late March and early April at Kingfisher Garden Court in Lusaka.
“The masses of our country have become, as a collective, a modern day Lazarus. And if you are the Lazarus of today, you have no say in your governance. If you are Lazarus, you don’t qualify to be a leader,” he said.
“Those who eat at the high table will pretend they will speak on your behalf, that they will bring development to you, that they will be the ones who will take care of you. But this is a lie. It’s evil actually. They only use violence and intimidation.
“Enough is enough. You are fed up with being harassed, being abused. This has gone on for too long. They will come with tokens of money, make you drunk, give you some salt, sugar, pieces of chitenge, to buy you off. But you are not that cheap,” he said.
“Your status as Lazarus will not change because of that. They are taking away your dignity. They are using your poverty to come back to you with hand-outs. “They come to you to campaign but they don’t have issues to bring to you. They leave you hanging four or five years, but at the last minute they come up with a manifesto. Cut and paste. They know you don’t even have time to read and understand it. That’s what is happening today.”

Dr Musumali said the adoption of a further 11 candidates – nine for parliament, one for a mayoral position and one as a councillor – would be the last official event. While there might be “one or two more” candidates, the party was by-and-large through with adoptions. Of the 11 latest candidates, seven are female, with six below the age of 35.

Dr Musumali said there was a world of difference between the Socialist Party’s manifesto, pledges and ideas, and parties that had nothing to offer the Zambian masses.
“We produced a manifesto two or three years ago and you have had the chance to look at it. This is your manifesto, these are your ideas,” he said. “Those who come to you without ideas are basically saying remain where you are. And because they don’t have much to offer you, they will resort to insults and jokes. The whole campaign becomes a cracking of jokes. Of course, we all like jokes, and at times even insults can be quite interesting.”
But he said jokes and insults from ordinary politicians would not put food on tables or build schools.
“This has gone on for too long. This has to change. Zambians are fed up with the greedy, irresponsible, corrupt establishment in Zambia. We are taking over,” Dr Musumali said.
“The Lazarus of today is saying ‘we want to rule ourselves’, and that is also in tandem with what democracy is. When you go to the villages today, people tell you they are fed up.”

Dr Musumali said the Zambian masses were cynical and no longer trusted the political establishment or what politicians had to say.
“The people of Zambia feel betrayed. We have been in those villages. My brother, comrade Fred M’membe, more than any Zambian leader, has spent days, weeks, months and years in the villages. He has not been in Lusaka, he doesn’t belong to Lusaka.”

Dr Musumali said Zambia was ready for political change. “People want self-emancipation, they want to change their own situation, and the Socialist Party is ready.”

Parliamentary adoptees are: Goma Dydas (Chama South), Mary Bukisa (Lukashya), Dorothy Mashingwele (Kabwe Central), Sharon Fulani (Lufwanyama), Ireen Musela (Mufulira), Sharon Muyupa (Kankoyo), Constance Bwalya (Kantanshi), Kalota Morris (Solwezi West) and Stanley Tembo (Kafue). In addition, Moses Makondo will contest to be mayor of Solwezi, and Ngulube Mukuka will stand as a councillor in Kupumaula ward, Kasama

We’re not headed for a battlefield

We’re not headed for a battlefield Featured

This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless it’s a good place for all of us to live in. The election campaigns we are entering should not be confused with a battlefield where the aim is to destroy the other.

This is simply a competition to serve and not the annihilation of one another. To have peaceful, free and fair elections, certain conditions have to prevail in our country and in our hearts. There ought to be a conducive atmosphere. The major players have to agree on the conditions under which these elections would be held. The contestants have to conduct themselves in a manner that does not put others at unfair disadvantage.

In the light of this, I make a special appeal to the government and to the ruling party to realise that they have a serious responsibility. As facilitators of the elections, they should ensure that the concerns of all key players are adequately addressed. We all need to be open and constructive in participating in the electoral process and addressing the challenges we face.

The forthcoming electoral process will provide all Zambians with a unique opportunity to show their political maturity and their sincere aspirations for peace and harmony anchored in justice.

The test of good leadership will not therefore be how many trees it pulls up by the roots but how it fits into a continuous process of adaptation in which leadership is combined with sensitivity to national mood.

Everyone’s life in this country is inevitably mixed with every other life and, no matter what Constitution or laws we come up with, no matter what precautions we take, unless the people we meet are kindly and decent and human we going nowhere. Decency, integrity and love come from human beings, rather than from constitutions, laws and institutions.

In any true democracy, more is needed than just laws and institutions. We must hold on to some values and norms, some expectations and aspirations. This is the environment, the atmosphere, that makes democracy work. This is the so-called ‘political culture’ which I feel is so necessary in Zambia today if our multiparty democracy is to succeed.

The fundamental value we must have is a respect for diversity and acceptance of pluralism. Gone are the days when everyone was supposed to think the same way, belong to the same political party, and support the same programme.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

April 12, 2021

Reflections and meditations on our election campaigns

Reflections and meditations on our election campaigns Featured

We have an eternal commitment to the 10,000 young Ngoni warriors who died in the Cipeta between December 1897 and February 5, 1898 to end capitalist exploitation, humiliation and subjugation in our homeland.

These elections we are entering are just a battle in that war – a war without guns and orders to kill; a peaceful war. We have an eternal commitment with our glorious dead to continue this struggle and always be worthy of their example.

Current and future generations of Zambians will carry on, however big the difficulties may be, struggling ceaselessly to ensure that we are politically, economically and otherwise in control of our destiny. We will confront our shortcomings and mistakes with increasing energy. We will struggle on.

This is what our election campaigns led by the Nsingu Election Campaigns Brigade are all about.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

Our education!

Our education! Featured

Underdevelopment is, among other things, lack of learning and lack of the possibility to learn. It is not only how many cannot read and write. It is also how many cannot read or write, or pass on to higher levels of education, due to the lack of teachers, schools and the minimum conditions beyond those most elementary for subsistence. That is why our dramatic educational and cultural problems cannot be isolated from our overall socio-economic situation.

A characteristic of illiteracy is that it is greater in our rural than in urban areas, and among women than among men.

It is not by chance, however, that the geographic and social distribution of illiteracy is almost the same as that of poverty. Illiterates are, as a rule, also the poorest, the most poorly fed, the least healthy, the most disadvantaged and exploited. The illiteracy figures reveal the frustrated development of human capacities and potential; the limitations on the individual as a human being and as part of a community; exploitation and ignorance as to a better future; the dramatic social effects of underdevelopment; loss of national identity; social and economic backwardness.

Many of our children today lack schools or the means and possibilities to attend school.
The rational behind this reality and its cause is the situation of poverty that forces them to drop out of school, the distances that have to be covered to get to school and the deplorable material conditions of many of the schools.

Another factor to be borne in mind is the insufficient training of teaching staff and the lack of ways and means to remedy this insufficiency, which has its effect on the limited and poor quality teaching provided. To add to an already gloomy situation, there is the number of university graduates that are lost every year due to the brain drain of the major capitalist powers.

It is imperative to stress another aspect that hampers our efforts in the pursuit of education and cultural development. Imperialist mass media are continuously, sometimes subtly and sometimes openly, carrying out a process of ideological and cultural penetration aimed at eroding our cultural identities, creating habits and patterns of conduct foreign to the needs of our people, belittling and deforming our people’s cultures in their own eyes. This, of course, has no bearing on the flow of ideas or on the legitimate exchange of the products of their cultures among peoples. These very mass media are working to create a consumerist image devoid of all rationality and are trying to impose mesmerising illusions on our people as absolute truths. An enormous percentage of the television programmes broadcast today in our country come from developed capitalist countries.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

April 8, 2021

Real Change, Not Fixing

Real Change, Not Fixing Featured

The game of fixing, the promises of fixing things will take this country nowhere. It will be the same circle of capitalist oriented approaches that yield similar results we have seen before i.e. only uplifting a few bwanas here and there, and leaving the rest of us behind; the majority of us wondering what happened; and back again to the same circle of poverty, hunger and frustration. We need to truly look to alternatives! We need Real Change, Not Fixing!

When you fix something it breaks, you fix again, again, again and again and it still breaks. A broken system can’t be fixed and is not sustainable. And that is what capitalism and capitalist oriented parties have been doing to our country, and this has lead us nowhere but to deepening poverty, hopelessness, despair and never-ending human suffering. But what we the youth in Zambia want is real change in its real tangible sense, not fixing.

The Zambia we want, desire, dream of and long for can not be attained through fixing. The Zambia the youth deserve needs committed leadership grounded in the people’s ideology that serves the struggling, toiling masses; that struggles for a better transformed Zambia and tomorrow. We also need a leadership that truly involves the youth, that is true to our realities; a leadership with a vision to change and transform the education system, our universities, the agriculture sector, the health sector, mining, and create more jobs for us.

Today, despite the degrees and diplomas to our names, a number of us continue to languish on the streets.

The Socialist Party is clear about the change it proposes under the humble leadership of Dr. Fred M’membe. The SP has put forward a vision to qualitatively change this country and move it back on track through its manifesto. Our change agenda speaks to how we will ensure free health care, free education, transformation of peasant agriculture, new approaches to mining and the mining sector that takes a diversified approach, and in all these sectors creating multiple jobs for many Zambians – this is real change.

We invite Zambia’s young men and women, as well as all well meaning Zambians to join the revolutionary movement for real change today!

Christine Nawa Musole,

SP parliamentary candidate Mongu Central.

‘Real Democracy’ entails People Taking Power, says Musumali

‘Real Democracy’ entails People Taking Power, says Musumali Featured

MARKETEERS, peasant farmers, a chicken seller, hairdressers, unemployed trained teachers, and a mobile money booth agent who also sells tomatoes and fish, were among the 37 parliamentary and council adoptees presented to the world recently at Kingfisher Garden Court in Lusaka.

And Socialist Party general secretary and first vice-president Dr Cosmas Musumali praised them as representing “real democracy”.

“These are the men and women who are committed to and live in their constituencies,” he said. “This is real democracy, and real democracy entails people taking power into their own hands. Democracy can never be delegated.”

Dr Musumali said the Socialist Party was proving to the world that women and men could represent the values of equity in action.
“We are proving to the world that how much money you have is not a determinant for you to get into political office,” Dr Musumali said.
“We are proving to everyone today that age can never be limiting, in terms of you governing yourselves.”

Out of the 37 candidates, there were 34 parliamentary candidates, and three hoping to be Lusaka councillors.

“We have a total of 18 men and 19 women,” Dr Musumali said. “We don’t just talk about gender equity, we practise it as the Socialist Party.”
He said there was one candidate from Northern Province, one from Copperbelt Province, two from Muchinga, 10 from Luapula, six from Southern Province, five from Central, one from North-Western, five from Eastern, one from Western, and five from Lusaka.

“Out of these candidates, 15 are below the age of 30,” Dr Musumali said.

Separately, party president Fred M’membe told the candidates that it was time for the poor to rule both themselves and Zambia. He said poverty would not end if the poor did not take control in the August elections and reminded people how the rich, who owned other parties, had backed leaders who had exploited the poor ever since independence.

He said it was important to educate the poor who had previously voted for people with wealth to instead vote for themselves this time.

Parliamentary adoptees are: Levy Songiso (Sikongo), Janet Zimba (Lumezi), Misozi Kaleya (Chasefu), Lovemore Mvula (Kaumbwe), Edna Lungu (Luangeni), Alice Phiri (Msanzala), Precious Samalesu (Ikeleng’i), Oswald Chikwaba (Serenje), Simon Bwalya (Bwacha), Peggy Siamundele (Mumbwa), Laston Chibuye (Muchinga), Jonathan Katoota (Lufubu), Fitzwell Moomba (Chikankata), Carolijne Simwala (Namwala), Victor Siamulonga (Mapatizya), Teinson Musanje (Kalomo), Chilema Caesar Machila (Bweengwa), Gertrude Chikampa (Sinazongwe), Astridah Mubanga (Chipili), Clara Chomba (Mansa Central), Cleopatra Mweemba (Bahati), Hope Kalenge (Milenge), John Chenge Kasanda (Pambashe), Miriam Mwewa (Chifunabuli), Margaret Nakanga (Mwense), Justine Ngosa (Mwansabombwe), Charles Friday Kalumba (Chembe), Jackson Mukupa (Nchelenge), Purity Ng’ambi (Chama North), Agness Mwila (Mfuwe), Lilian Matowe (Kafulafuta), and Lewis Chizu (Mpulungu).

Parliamentary candidates for Lusaka are Henry Kalolo (Mandevu) and Eucridy Mwiinga (Chirundu), while local government candidates for Lusaka are Newton Ng’ambi (Mwembeshi, ward 27), Ronald Mutale (Matero, ward 28), and Treza Kayanda (Muchinga, ward 24).

We are the children of capitalist slavery

We are the children of capitalist slavery Featured

The story of our integration into the capitalist system is very, very sad.

I feel deeply on this subject; I cannot help it. Let’s take a little glance at the history of the African. It seems to me that the story would melt hearts of stone. This capitalism that some of our people defend so strongly, that they brag about is not something we got into voluntarily.

We got into it because we couldn’t help it. Our ancestors were captured in our jungles and on our plains, captured as you capture wild beasts, torn from their homes and their kindred; loaded into capitalist slave ships, packed like sardines in a box, half of them dying on the ocean passage; some jumping into the sea in their frenzy, when they had a chance to choose death in the place of capitalist slavery. They were bought and sold as slaves, to work without pay – they were commodities on the capitalist market. They were subjected to all this for generations.

The great grandmother of our first vice-president and general secretary, Dr Cosmas Musumali, was a run away slave. She was captured while collecting firewood and taken to the Atlantic coast in Angola. She escaped from captivity the way she was captured. While waiting for the ship to return from the Americas to come and take them, they were sent to collect firewood and she escaped. It took her three years to get back to home in the western part of what is now Zambia.

But it was not only those who were captured as slaves that suffered. Those who were not captured as slaves suffered too. They lived in perpetual fear of being captured as slaves. A human being living in perpetual fear has no peace – and loses self esteem, creativity and productivity. And the consequences of this life of fear are transmitted through the DNA to generations and generations of Africans even long after the classical capitalist slavery has ended. Today the African still a human being with relatively very low self esteem, creativity and productivity. It requires a struggle, a revolutionary transformation of the human being and the country to come out of this.

That is our history. We are the children of capitalist slavery. If capitalism owes anything to any human being, or to any power in the universe, it owes it to us. Above all other human beings, capitalism owes an obligation and a duty to us that can never be repaid. And if any African, or indeed any decent human being with a sense of justice, feels as he or she should feel, their emotions will be like mine.

I know we have a long and rough road to go. I believe that the life of an African has been a life of tragedy, of injustice, of oppression, of exploitation and of humiliation. Today the law has made us equal, but capitalism has not. And, after all, the last analysis is: what has capitalism done? – and not what has the law done?

I know there is a very rough road ahead of us before we can take the place which I believe we should take. I know before us there’s sorrow, despair and hopelessness. I will do whatever I can to end it.

What do you think is your duty in this situation?

Fred M’membe

Meaning and purpose of the radical transformations we are seeking

Meaning and purpose of the radical transformations we are seeking Featured

Human liberation is basically a question of moral and spiritual values. If a person sees the meaning of one’s life in one’s material well-being, accumulating wealth becomes an end in itself – “eat and drink for tomorrow you will be dead”. If, on the other hand, a person sees the meaning of one’s life in spiritual values, that is the love of God and the love of one’s neighbour, then material possessions become mere means towards an end.

Faith in God should free a person from enslavement to one’s material possessions and enable one to use the riches of this world towards truly human ends, that is living a life of love in communion with God and one’s fellow persons.

The radical transformation that is necessary to free a human being in the very depth of one’s heart from selfishness and greed is a gift from God. No one can give oneself this “new heart” (Ez 11: 18-19).

It’s not by fighting to the bitter end, but by analyzing the causes of the conflict and by resolving it, that we can create conditions in which the self-reliant efforts of our people will bear fruit. We can only build such a society with the free cooperation of all its members.

A human being finds fulfillment in committing one’s whole person in freedom to the service of one’s fellow human beings.

Our party has adopted many pastors or reverends as parliamentary and local government candidates. For them, only with God’s help can we transform a society inclined to greed, selfishness and hatred into a “new creation” (2 Cor 5:17), capable of love, compassion and generosity. It’s God’s work through them. As followers of Christ, put all their trust in the kingdom of God. Far from waiting its arrival in passivity, they strive with all their might towards its realization here and now well knowing, however, that God alone, who has announced its coming through Christ, will bring about its completion. This is the way in which we are pursuing our aim of radical transformation of our people and society.

Spirituality refers not only to our spiritual life. It refers to a human being as a whole, in his or her spiritual and bodily unity. In the Gospels, the totality of the human being is what brings life to the spirit. Thus, spirituality isn’t the way you feel the presence of God. Nor is it the way you believe. Jesus said, “Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Thus, spirituality is a way of living life according to the spirit. For Christians, living is the best way of believing. Faith without deeds is worthless; as James stated, “What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is all-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith, by itself, if it has not works, is dead” (James 2:14 -17).

Our way of life is the result of what we believe.If we consider the Gospel accounts, we can clearly see that Jesus’ spirituality wasn’t one of withdrawal from the world, of moving away from everyday life in order to better serve God, or of denying earthly realities. In John 17:15, Jesus asked his Father to keep his disciples from evil without taking them out of the world.

Jesus’ entire existence was one of immersion in the ideological conflict, in the arena where different concepts and options for or against the oppressed, exploited, humiliated, marginalised were discussed. Nor was Jesus’ spirituality that of moralism. That is the spirituality of the Pharisees, who turn their moral virtues into a sort of conquest of sanctity. Many Christians have been trained along these lines and lose strength in their faith because they don’t manage to adjust to the pharisaical moralism they seek. God seems to live on top of the mountain, and spirituality is taught as a manual for mountain climbing to be used by Christians interested in scaling its steep slopes. Since we are of a fragile nature, we begin our climb over and over again – it is the constant repetition of the Sisyphus legend, rolling the stone uphill.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

Seeing black where there’s black and white where there’s white

Seeing black where there’s black and white where there’s white Featured

“People will tell you that the economy is not booming, yet activities which indicate that there’s money in the economy and people are living well are there for all to see,” says President Edgar Lungu, and adds: “This is the contradiction of our political activity where we see white, you see black.

”Is President Lungu seeing a mirage and mistaking it for a river? Are these bridges that are being built where there are no rivers confusing him – making him to see water where there’s bitumen?

But we know that the “bent light from the sky” is refracted as it passes from cooler air into hotter air and back up to your eye. Combining all of this together, refracted light from the sky is interpreted as straight, letting us see an image of the sky on the ground. This is why many mirages appear as blue water.

Why do some people see black while others see white before their eyes when they are about to pass out? Why does the colour that is seen differ from person to person? This is about memory not colour. You can only be sure that it is the memory people have created that differs, not the actual experience.

We know human brain does not record or play back a linear stream of events like a machine does. We don’t fully understand any of the processes of memory or recall. But we are pretty certain that a memory is in some way edited each time it is recalled.

There would be many possible reasons and processes of ‘passing out’ and many different experiences, and some reasons might involve the sensation of light or darkness, but the memories may well be more ‘coloured’ by the expectations, and the most recent sensation on waking – darkness of closed eyes, or brightness of a lit space – might well confuse the creation of memory.

Most people can remember the fact of having sometimes woken remembering vividly, for a moment the dream from which they have just awoken; but can almost never remember again, any of the dreams! – I think that is probably the most common instance of the fact that memory is not always ‘recorded’ permanently or accurately.

It’s not in dispute that the President is living a comfortable life – no problems about food, no education problems for his family, no water and electricity problems, no problems with medicines, he doesn’t have problems with rentals and transport. There’s no joblessness in his family. But this is not the case with the great majority of our people. What he sees about himself and his family is not a reflection of the living conditions of all our people. Poverty is not reducing. Despair is growing. Hopelessness is on the rise. Monthly statistics are there from the Central Statistical Office to show the true living conditions of our people. There’s no need for guesswork, witchcraft or voodoo. Things are not good for our people. It’s not a question of seeing black where there’s white; it is seeing black where there’s black and white where there’s white.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

We are not slaves – Simbeya

We are not slaves – Simbeya Featured

SOCIALIST Party Feira constituency coordinator Adamson Simbeya says the people of Zambia cannot continue to live like slaves in their own country.

Simbeya told an SP media team in Feira that this year was the time for real change under the Socialist Party with the stewardship of president Fred M’membe and first vice-president Cosmas Musumali.

Simbeya said Zambians had suffered for too long under the current government and its capitalist system of leadership. “For us here in Luangwa we really need change, things are not OK, the prices of goods are increasing every day,” he said.

Simbeya called on the people of Luangwa and Feira to vote for Dr M’membe and his visionary and pragmatic leadership. “Dr M’membe has a vision for this country, and the Socialist Party has already shown Zambians what it is capable of doing even before it has been voted into office,” he said.

Simbeya cited the training of small-scale farmers on how to make organic fertiliser as an investment as an example of the Socialist Party’s action.

No time to lose

No time to lose Featured

This is going to be the first time I contest an election in my life. And it will be against key opponents who have stood for elections several times – some of them very experienced losers.

But the Zambian people and I have stood together many times on many issues, challenging this or that together, campaigning against or for this and that together. In this year’s elections we have to stand together. And no time has been more important than this – the August 12 elections.

The election campaigns that are before us, that we are about to embark on are for the heart, the soul and the future of our country.

It’s a lot of work and responsibility for the Nsingu Elections Campaign Brigade leading our campaign. We are more than our nascent political party – the Socialist Party, more than its manifesto and programmes, more than all our election strategies and prospects put together.

We are the trustees of the struggle and dreams that began in the Cipeta area of our homeland by our Ngoni ancestors, those brave and selfless young warriors and their leaders. They lost the war on February 4, 1898 against a much more better equipped and resourced capitalist, imperialist army of Cecil John Rhodes and his companies. Nsingu, the commander-in-chief of the Ngoni warriors was executed on February 5, 1898 at dawn. But they left their vision, their values and the hopes they awakened.

In the thousands or millions of Zambians whose hearts, whose consciences they touched and aroused, we remember them now to remind ourselves that the struggle they started is unfinished, that we stand for real change, revolutionary change – not any other change – in order to march again towards enduring ideals, that we do not have to settle for things as they are.

We are today a struggling people with no time to lose. Our tomorrow has become our today. And as they say, we are confronted with the fierce urgency of now, in the unfolding life and history – and there’s no such a thing as being too late. We can’t wait for 2026; now is the time.

We must struggle without respite, we must work ceaselessly to lift the downtrodden masses of our people to the higher destiny – a more just, fair and humane society – full of honest, equity, humility and solidarity; a new plateau of compassion.

We are socialists. We care all the time. And for us, care is the essence of power, of strength – strength without care is savage, brutal and selfish. That is what socialism is about. Strength with care is compassion – the strength needed to help our poor people lift themselves out of poverty and to their full stature.

But where do we get that strength to provide that care? From some Macgyver, some 21st century Moses? No.

We cooperate, we collect, we coordinate so that everyone has responsibility, everyone has rights. That is how we make the weak strong, that is how we lift the poor out of poverty, that is how we cure the sick, that is how we give talent a chance to flourish. We do it together.

This is what socialism is about. This is socialism. This is the true meaning of revolutionary democracy – people deciding together, building together to transform their country and thus transform themselves; it’s a growth in fraternal love.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

Meet Comrade Merra Mwansa

Meet Comrade Merra Mwansa Featured

PARLIAMENTARY candidate for Mwense Central, Merra Mwansa says she joined the Socialist Party because she believes the country not only requires a change in government, but also a poverty alleviation strategy that will revolutionise the system of governance and the country’s economic relationship with its technology.

Comrade Mwansa says one of the main poverty traps in her constituency is youth unemployment and that, if elected as MP, she will tackle it in three ways:

First, by working to provide employment and entrepreneur opportunities by encouraging investment in the local fishing, mining and agriculture industries.

Second, she says, together with the people in her constituency, she will strive to improve the quality of education, health and sanitation infrastructures, thereby boosting the quality of human capabilities in the area. Mwansa hopes her constituency will become a big mango or “yembe” juice producer in the future.

Third, she says she will work towards reducing transportation and communication costs by pushing for investment in the quality of roads.She believes a better road network will make local goods competitive and her constituency attractive to investors.

Socialist Party manifesto applauded – Nyimba resident

Socialist Party manifesto applauded – Nyimba resident Featured

NYIMBA residents in Eastern Province have applauded the Socialist Party manifesto, saying, “it resonates with the aspirations of the people”. Speaking to a Socialist Party media team shortly after a party mobilisation meeting in Chief Ndake area, Moses Lungu said the party’s manifesto was explicit in speaking to people’s challenges.

He said that for the first time he had seen a political party with a manifesto that offered “so much clarity” in speaking to the issues affecting the majority of Zambians. “I have never before seen a political party openly sharing hard copies of its manifesto,” he said.

Lungu said the manifesto commitments were very clear and would enable people to keep track of what had been achieved. He challenged other political parties to emulate the Socialist Party by producing hard copies of their manifestos so Zambians could compare and make informed decisions.

“If other political parties won’t produce hard copies of their manifestos, just know that they don’t mean well for Zambia,” he said. “Why are they just talking instead of producing hard copies so we can choose the best party?”Lungu said he was particularly impressed with the manifesto’s support of the education sector.

“Now we believe and understand that free education and free medicine is possible in Zambia. We have been in the dark for some time and we thank you for opening our eyes comrades, we are really grateful.

”Resident Maureen Miti said she was happy that the party had already started implementing programmes, such as the Fred M’membe Literacy Campaign.

Miti urged Zambians to vote for the Socialist Party in this year’s general election and stand with the country’s less privileged citizens.“Let’s give the Socialist Party our vote. It is a small party but it has shown us wonders in just few years. Its members don’t just talk, but also walk the talk,” she said..

SP Nyimba constituency coordinator Isaac Sakala also called on people to vote for the Socialist Party and for real change. He said the party’s aim was not just to fix the problems the country was going through, but to change the entire system of governance.

Meet Comrade Mukupa Mwenya

Meet Comrade Mukupa Mwenya Featured

LUNTE constituency parliamentary candidate Mukupe Mwenya says he joined the Socialist Party because he was moved by Dr Fred M’membe’s passionate words about Zambia, emphasising the need to help and care for others, especially the vulnerable.

Comrade Mwenya says he was also impressed by the party’s manifesto. “These are the only pillars that can make Zambia a better place and country. After looking around, I have discovered that Dr M’membe is the only level-headed presidential candidate who has the purest of intentions to develop this country together with all the Zambians. He doesn’t say ‘I will’ but says ‘we will’ deliver justice, equity, and peace to ourselves, that’s a true character of an honest leader.

”Comrade Mwenya says the key issues in his area include poor roads and fragile or no bridges, poor schools and health posts and a lack of storage space.

“There are no industries or jobs for the young and elderly. Poverty is very high.

“The Socialist Party has a clear and promising message that will help turn this situation around. It also has leadership and through my constituency I will be able to work with the people to develop the key sectors of agriculture, education, and health together.

”Comrade Mwenya went to Mulukuma Primary School, Laurent Chita Basic School and Luwingi Secondary School. He then went to Chipembi College of Agriculture.

He has worked for a number of companies, including Tanganyika Farm as a sales manager, Hi-tech Agrovet as a general manager, and Hope Channel Zambia as a photographer.

Multiparty democracy hangs by a thread in today’s Zambia

Multiparty democracy hangs by a thread in today’s Zambia Featured

Multiparty democracy hangs by a thread in today’s Zambia There’s need for those in government and those managing the electoral processes to ensure that the August 12 elections are as free, fair and peaceful as possible. So far those in government have not created an environment where all can mobilise freely, fairly and peacefully – there’s no level political play field.

I know that it sounds negative but I have always thought it positive to say that the thing about multiparty democracy is that we can remove without bloodshed the people who govern us.

We can get rid of a Lungu – the same way we got rid of a Kaunda, a Banda – by peaceful electoral processes. But that cannot be done when electoral processes are manipulated, elections are rigged.

We must ask what will happen when people realise that they cannot get rid of those who govern them through the ballot box because the electoral processes are manipulated and elections are rigged. If people lose the power to sack those who govern them one of the several things happens.

First, people may just slope off. Apathy could destroy our multiparty democracy. When the voter turnout drops below 50 per cent, we are in very serious danger.

The second thing that people can do is to riot. Riot is an old-fashioned method for drawing the attention of those who govern to what is wrong, unacceptable. It is difficult for those in government to admit it, but riots produce changes. The 1988 mealie-meal riots marked the beginning of the end of Dr Kenneth Kaunda and UNIP’s reign. Zambia was never the same after those riots. Ideas for change started to emerge.

Riot has historically played a much bigger part in our politics since the first miners’ riots of 1935 which started in Mufulira and quickly spread to Nkana in Kitwe and Roan Antelope in Luanshya than we are ever allowed to know. Thirdly, regionalism can arise. Regionalism is built out of frustration people feel when they cannot get their way through the ballot box. With regionalism comes repression and all sorts of negative things.

I hope that it is not pessimistic – in my view it is not – to say that multiparty democracy hangs by a thread in Zambia today. Unless we can offer people a peaceful route to the resolution of injustices through the ballot box they will not listen to politicians that have blocked off that route.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

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

uChinja vote, iwe!

uChinja vote, iwe! Featured

While the condition of the African youth, and the Zambian youth in particular, is deplorable, we have on this youth day something to celebrate. We have on this youth day a renewed sense of optimism. We have this year the opportunity to rescue our futures, to secure out futures. To win victory for ourselves by voting for our Party, the Socialist Party, in the August 12 General Elections.

We have exhausted our patience. There are five months between us and victory for ourselves.

While there are many political parties listed on the national electoral ballots, this is an election between two sides, Socialism and Capitalism. Capitalism is represented in this fight by all its political parties that are in competition to rule in the interests of the rich minority. And on the left side of the divide stands the Socialist Party, the who wants the people to govern. We can no longer accept neutrality, there is no room for anyone to adopt an apolitical position, there is no space. There are revolutionaries and there are collusionists. Which side of history will you stand on?

While others say to the Youth: “Wait your turn.” the Socialist Party calls us to “Take your turn now!”

Books and reading

Books and reading Featured

I have been asked about what I read and what I am reading right now. Here is my brief response:

From the time I was able to read, I have read as many books as I could, and it pains me a lot that I don’t spend more time reading. I can’t imagine life without reading. It’s sad I can’t spend my life reading and studying.

I have read all kinds of literature. What I liked best of the first things I read were books of history: the history of Zambia, African history and world history. I have read a lot about the Bantu and their migrations. I have read all the writings on the Bemba people that I could lay my hands on. I have enjoyed reading the heroic history of the Ngoni people and warriors, especially their resistance to colonialism. I have also spent a lot of time on Lozi history.

I like reading biographies. And I think I have read all the classical biographies. Naturally, the Bible is one of the classical works I read. Any one who analyses the way I speak or write will find that I use a lot of biblical terms. I was in Catholic schools for 12 years, with the Capuchin Fathers, the Irish Christian Brothers and the Sacred Heart Brothers.

I read many novels when I was in junior secondary school – James Hadley Chase, Nicky Carter, Allister Maclean and so on and so forth. I have also enjoyed reading African writers series – Chinua Achebe, Ngugi Wa Thiogo, Sonyika.

Then there’s political literature. I began to dip into political literature as a student at the University of Zambia. I was greatly attracted to Marx, Engels and Lenin. I read a lot about all of them. My spirit became fertile ground for Marxist-Leninist ideas. I am always reading. I read the Qur’an a lot. It’s got great teachings.

It’s hardly necessary to mention that I have read many books about revolutions and wars. I think I have read all the English books on the French Revolution, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, the Chinese Revolution, the Cuban Revolution, the Bolivarian Venezuela Revolution.

I have paid a lot of attention to economic writings, problems. I try to follow what children are learning in primary and secondary schools.

In a word, I can say I read everything or anything I can lay my hands. I try very hard to read as much as I can about things I detest or do not agree with. I learn more from this.

Write now, among other things, I am reading a book by Daniel Posner – INSTITUTIONS AND ETHNIC POLITICS IN AFRICA.

I am very fortunate to have a cousin who is a brilliant history lecturer and researcher – Dr Sishuwa Sishuwa. He is my tireless supplier of very good reading materials. This story doesn’t seem to have an end – I can go on and on. For today, let me end here.

Fred M’membe

Fears over the Cyber Security and Cybercrimes Bill

Fears over the Cyber Security and Cybercrimes Bill Featured

THE Cyber Security and Cybercrimes Bill of 2021 is raising a lot of contention and anxiety from all corners of Zambia, Cosmas Musumali, Socialist Party general secretary and first vice-president has said.Dr Musumali said that to understand the reasons behind the controversy it was necessary to examine the bill’s background.

“Let’s go back to 2014,” he said. “The African Union Convention on Cyber Security and Protection of Personal Data (AU) was adopted by the assembly of heads of states and governments of the African Union in 2014.“In 2016, the President of Zambia signed the convention, which addressed four main areas; namely, electronic transactions, personal data protection, electronic commerce, and cyber security and cybercrime.

“The AU was to facilitate the development of an appropriate legal framework on the continent that would empower citizens and ensure that their respective online environment was trusted, safe, beneficial and empowering,” he said.“The AU provided guidelines at the regional level. SADC proposed some model bios. The issue was therefore about the domestication of a legal framework that had become a reality and necessity, both on the continent and globally.”Dr Musumali said that to move ahead there first had to be a repeal of the electronic communications and transactions act number 21 of 2009.“And the replacement of the act was going to be three standalone laws; a) the electronic, communication transactions act, b) the data protection act, and, c) the cyber security and cybercrimes act.

“So initially, we had one law in 2009. And the attempt today is to have three standalone laws, but interconnected, to replace it. These three new laws are being developed together. It is especially the last one – the cyber security and cybercrimes bill or crimes act ­­– that is borne of contention.”Dr Musumali said there were three main areas of concern:“Firstly, the poor reputation of the sponsoring government and political party in upholding human rights, combating crime, ensuring justice for all. The PF government has failed in these dimensions. The upholding of human rights has been very poor, combating of crime has slowed down, and ensuring justice for all has been a disaster. And you are talking about laws that have an impact on all these areas, and understandably people have a lot of mistrust.

“Secondly, there has been a lack of an inclusive consultative process. When a process lacks consultation it is one sided, it is by and large regarded as a PF piece of legislation, and a legislation that is one sided and looked upon as being partisan does not enjoy the support of the masses of our people.“Thirdly, there is a lack of clarity and systematic tackling of the content. When you go through the three bills being suggested you find a lot of definitions that are omitted, interconnections to existing penal code, for example, are not made. You find there is a lot of preoccupation with state institutions and state actors. The wider societal linkages are not made or are extremely weak.

“What you also find is that it is apparent that the drafting was done hurriedly, there are lots of mistakes, lots of omissions, and it just doesn’t read well.“This leads us to a fourth concern, and that is why the PF government is in a hurry to bulldoze this law through shortly before the elections.“Our advice to the PF government is that it should slow down, consult more, and carefully consider the critical contributions coming from the diverse stakeholders.”Dr Musumali said that once enacted the law would have a huge impact on all citizens, and it was important that short-term political interests were put aside.

Malanji’s helicopter is a moral dilemma

Malanji’s helicopter is a moral dilemma Featured

ZAMBIA’S Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Malanji faces a moral dilemma over his purchase of a US$1.4 million helicopter, Cosmas Musumali, Socialist Party general secretary and first vice-president says. The Bell 430 twin-engine light-medium helicopter was bought from South Africa.

Dr Musumali said it was in Malanji’s interest to refrain from commenting further on the purchase because, “whatever he says now merely exacerbates the anger and disgust of the suffering masses”.

“His best option is to keep quiet and hope, like with many other issues in our corruption-ridden country, that the dust will soon settle and people will switch over to another topic.

”Dr Musumali said Malanji was well known for his free spending and was “obsessed with branding himself as a rich person who runs luxurious businesses”.

“His exit and entry at Ndola Airport is not seldom accompanied by a ritual of money splashing reminiscent of Mexican drug barons and corrupt Nigerian millionaires,” he said. “Yet the employees of Gibson Hotel, Continental Lodge, and his other businesses have a different story to tell. They struggle and are not part of the feasting that goes on around Malanji.

“In a decent society, and in business practices that encompass equity considerations, the workers in Malanji’s companies should have been the top priority. After all, these are the real creators of the wealth that he splashes around.

“Cash handouts may be seen as a harmless, benevolent act, but is it not shame when the boss splashes cash to outsiders yet the workers behind the wealth creation are unable to send their children to school? When they are unable to pay hospital bills? When they are unable to meet their house rental obligations? In other words, what people see in Malanji is a caricature of a self-indulgent navel-gazing businessman and politician. The sooner he changes his ways the better.

”Dr Musumali said most facts surrounding the helicopter purchase were in the public domain and a one-hour search was all it took to find out most of the details.

“Buying a helicopter is hard to hide,” he said. “There is a whole footprint of the rotorcraft; when it was manufactured, who bought it, who used it, for what business, the maintenance schedules, why it had to be sold, and how much it went for.

“Malanji is correct in his assessment that he can get into the charter business with it. After all, Zambian elections are a period when cost-effectiveness is thrown on the rubbish heap,” Dr Musumali said. “The biggest customers will be his own party, the PF, as it intends to criss-cross the constituencies during the campaign period. Malanji is actually capable of recouping a significant portion of his investment just during these forthcoming elections.

”But Dr Musumali said business logic was not the same as business or political ethics.

“For the employees in Malanji’s companies, the helicopter has been bought at the cost of their welfare. It is their sweat that has made the Foreign Affairs Minister rich. They would rather have seen US$1.4 million ploughed back into the companies that have been struggling under the impact of COVID-19.

“They would rather have seen a part of that money getting back to them in the form of better salaries. Unfortunately, workers will always come last in this rudimentary capitalist system, and Malanji’s businesses are not an exception.”

Condolences on the death of Sr Dr Charity Chishimba

Condolences on the death of Sr Dr Charity Chishimba Featured

It’s not easy writing a message of condolences when your heart is heavy. This morning I woke to find out that Sr Dr Charity Chishimba has died from COVID-19. She died trying to save the lives of her COVID-19 patients.

There’s no greater love for others than sacrificing your own life to save theirs. Sr Dr Chishimba has died the way she lived. She dedicated her whole life to the service of others, her Church and her Creator. May her soul rest in eternal peace!

COVID-19 has been associated with an increased mortality in doctors and health care workers. Until an effective cure is developed, risk assessments at work, mitigating confounding factors, adequate supply of personal protective equipment and enhanced protection against infection are necessary to protect health care professionals on the coronavirus front line. Otherwise this occupational risk can lead to further untimely mortality and become another unintended consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sr Dr Chishimba’s death from COVID-19 has robbed our people not only of a leader in the response, but also of someone with an unparalleled epidemiological understanding of the area. From the first day she qualified as a medical doctor until the last day she died, she dedicated her life to the health of her people, especially in Chilubula.

The cruelty of this pandemic seems limitless. So many broken promises, broken connections, broken hearts. It is a loss layered upon the greatest loss, under the shadow of the virus.

Today, the inner circle of bereaved — children, parents, spouses, siblings — are very much alone in the aftermath of a death. They mourn without the friends, co-workers, and cousins who would have come to lighten the burden of grief — which is a real thing: the weight on the chest, the difficulty of moving. Funerals, wakes, visiting hours and shivas take place in empty rooms.

In the good old days, which is now defined as any time before March 2020, the most important thing you could do after a death was show up. You hugged and maybe held on for a few extra moments that spoke volumes of care. (Remember long hugs?) Sometimes, when there was a big crowd and you didn’t get a chance to hug or speak, eye contact alone made the commitment tangible, words were unnecessary. All that is no more.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

They are trying to keep themselves in power at any cost – Dr M’membe

They are trying to keep themselves in power at any cost – Dr M’membe Featured

It’s very clear that President Edgar Lungu and his disciples are trying to impose their will on all of us.

They are trying to keep themselves in power at any cost. They have made it impossible for this country to have free and fair elections this year.

President Lungu is not only trying to impose himself as a presidential candidate when the Constitution clearly doesn’t allow a third term of office, but he has also made it impossible for his competitors to politically mobilise.

But what Mr Lungu and his disciples do not seem to understand is that the social furniture of modern society is so complicated and fragile that it cannot support the Jackboot. We cannot run the processes of modern society by attempting to impose our will upon others by all sorts of crooked, corrupt and repressive schemes. If they have not learned that they have learned nothing. Whatever might be their motivation to seek a third term at any cost, there’s no doubt about its imbecility.

I beg President Lungu and his disciples to turn their backs on this most ugly way of seeking to perpetuate their hold on power and realise that if they are to live in this country and be regarded as decent people deserving the respect of others, they have to act up to different standards than the one they have been following.

These are methods of barbarism. If these are not methods of barbarism, what methods does barbarism employ?

We have been taught that “the man who abides by unjust laws and permits any man to trample and mistreat the country in which he was born, is not an honourable man…In the world there must be a certain degree of honour just as there must be a certain amount of light. When there are many men without honour, there are always others who bear in themselves the honour of many men. These are the men who rebel with great force against those who steal human honour itself. In those men thousands more are contained, an entire people is contained, human dignity is contained…

“It’s understandable that honest people should be victimised, repressed and humiliated in a Republic where a criminal, cruel, intolerant and tyrannical gang is in power. Fred M’membe

Meet Comrade Brill Aggephrey

Meet Comrade Brill Aggephrey Featured

Comrade Brill Aggephrey parliamentary candidate for the Livingstone constituency, says he joined the Socialist Party because he believes “in service being above self”.

“I want us to emancipate ourselves from the mental slavery, poverty, exploitation, gross corruption, and inhuman treatment of the youth, women and my nation. Therefore, I have joined the revolution,” he said.

“Zambians want free education, healthcare, meaningful employment and financial empowerment. These are never provided for by parties like PF, UPND, DP, although they promise them.“Capitalism is based on paying for everything. So, no matter how we change capitalist presidents in Zambia, such change is no change. Socialism is what provides for its citizens.

“Let us support Fred M’membe to remove exploitative capitalism from Zambia. Dr M’membe is honest and resolute in helping us bring about this authentic change. Let us vote for ourselves by voting for the Socialist Party.

”Comrade Aggephrey says unaffordable school fees, unemployment, a lack of medicines in hospitals and expensive drugs in drug stores are just some of the issues in Livingstone.

“People are now self-prescribing medicines as they find none when they visit hospitals,” he said. “So to avoid losing the little they have on transport, they are going directly to the drug stores.

”Comrade Aggephrey was educated at Riverian primary and Mukuba secondary schools in Kitwe, going on to gain certificates in public relations, youth micro enterprise development, mentoring, counselling and teaching.

He was a founder member of the faith-based HIV/AIDS prevention organisation Youth Alive, a founder member of a Southern Province human rights committee, chairman of Livingstone Muslim Society, a director of research, public relations and cultural activities of the Islamic Council, and a councillor in Livingstone Akapelwa ward. He has also taught at schools in Lusaka and Livingstone.

Meet Comrade Bwime Chingumbe

Meet Comrade Bwime Chingumbe Featured

Twenty-two-year-old Comrade Bwime Chingumbe, parliamentary candidate for Luampa constituency, was born in Luampa and attended Lui primary and Kanyonyo secondary schools.

She says she joined the Socialist Party because of its commitment to young people and young women’s leadership agenda. The party believes the youth are the leaders of today, not tomorrow.

“Zambia has a youthful population of about 66 per cent, yet many continue to be marginalised in terms of access to quality education, healthcare, and many services needed to survive,” she said.

“A number of young people don’t have jobs. What once used to be a booming agricultural sector in our country has deteriorated. We just don’t have jobs; many young people are languishing in extreme poverty.

”Comrade Chingumbe said there was so much hopelessness among the young people in her constituency.

“They just drink beer from dawn to sunset with no direction or sense of what else they can do. There is a lack of medical equipment and medicines in hospitals, poor roads, and the distance from the health centre to the villages is far.

“I am grateful to have been introduced to the Socialist Party. I saw light in the Socialist Party. I was encouraged by its commitment to the values of justice, humility, solidarity, and equity. I was also impressed by the breakdown of its programmes and job-creation strategy in health, education, and agriculture. The Socialist Party politics are reviving and refreshing.

”Comrade Chingumbe said the Socialist Party was the only hope for a solution to the challenges in her constituency and the country.

“I urge the people in my constituency to vote for me and Dr Fred M’membe come August. The Socialist Party, the people’s party, your party, is the answer to our struggles and problems. Let’s win this struggle and revolution together.”

Zambian women, stand up for genuine change!

Zambian women, stand up for genuine change! Featured

Today, as Zambia joins the world in marking International Women’s Day, the Socialist Party issues this call to the women of Zambia: stand up for a genuine change!

For so long, the overwhelming majority of Zambians have suffered from poverty, hunger, unemployment, lack of government support for farming, expensive social services, and repression of the most basic civil and political rights.

Today, our situation has further worsened: highest prices on foodstuffs, longest load shedding hours, lack of water services and proper sanitation, expensive health services amidst a pandemic, and the steepest decline of the Kwacha against major currencies.

There has also been corruption scandal after corruption scandal, involving top officials of the land.

This year, we mark Women’s Day amidst news of the country’s richest becoming even richer fast, while the majority who are poor are becoming even poorer. The majority of Zambians – workers, farmers, unemployed, urban and rural poor – are suffering. But the women who belong to these sectors – the overwhelming majority of Zambian women – are suffering the most.

Who is burdened with budgeting the little income for the day’s meals, if not with finding that income in the first place? Who ensures that there’s water in the house? Who ensures that kids go to school, that the sick in the family is taken care of?

This Women’s Day, let us recognize the labor of Zambian women. While the Zambian poor and people are burdened with the country’s problems, Zambian women bear an additional burden. They work so hard and give so much of themselves – often without recognition, rest, or remuneration.

This Women’s Day, let us recognize this added burden of women and commit to reducing it.

Happy Women’s Day!

Nancy Busiku Mpongo

Socialist Party

Mandevu Constituency Secretary.

Happy women’s day

Happy women’s day Featured

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, greetings and best wishes to fellow citizens.

Women in our country are setting new records and achievements in various fields. Let’s all resolve to promote gender justice eliminate inequality between women and men.

The history of all times, and of today especially, teaches us that women will be forgotten if they forget to think about themselves.

Be Fearless and conquer the world.

Happy Women’s Day 2021!

I LOVE YOU ALL!

Dr Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party.

Police impartiality, unfairness

Police impartiality, unfairness Featured

Last week President Edgar Lungu made a very strange admission, or rather confession: “The public confidence in the police service is low, and it is up to the police, themselves, to regain that confidence by their actions. To this end, there is urgent need for the police service to address these public concerns if the people of Zambia are to regain confidence in them.

”It’s very difficult to disagree with what President Lungu is saying. But there’s one very serious omission: the cause of all this loss of public confidence in police.

It’s the abuse of the police by President Lungu and his followers that has, more than anything else, contributed to this state of affairs. They have turned the police into a wing of the ruling party for use against the opposition and other dissenting voices.

Nothing would be more dangerous than to confuse men and women who are responsible for the maintenance of law and order in our country.

Those in government, therefore, must remember that even for their own good, their fellow citizens in the police must be left to deal with the maintenance of law and order in the way they have been trained.

It’s very dangerous for politicians in the governing party to control the police and make it do their bidding.

In any country where law is deliberately twisted to entrap political opponents and in which police officers act as an extension of the ruling party cadres rather than impartial professional law enforcement officers, there can be nothing but tyranny and a mockery of justice. Let them continue abusing the police now, but let them also remember that when they have left the pinnacle of power what may appear acceptable on others now may taste oppressive. In other words, they should remember that while today it is them at the giving end; tomorrow it may be them at the receiving end.

On the other hand, police officers would greatly help to evolve a fair and impartial police, defend the rule of law and constitutionalism and guarantee the success of our multiparty political dispensation and pluralism, if, individually and collectively, they resolved to discharge their policing obligations without fear or favour.

Dr Kenneth Kaunda gave us very good guidance on this score: “First and foremost must come the quality of impartial fair play for I do not wish my policemen to be partisans to the many political and tribal feuds that may emerge in our country, as has happened in others. The worst policeman so far as I am concerned is that man who will not admonish or arrest another because he is of the same tribe, race or political sympathy. Equally reprehensible is the policeman who will not do his duty for fear that because he is of a different tribe, race or political feeling his deeds will be misunderstood. If you should ever find yourselves in a position of compromise against the principles of fair play and impartiality, then be humble enough to seek God’s guidance because neither the present nor the future generation will forgive you for betraying the many people who have died and suffered in the struggle to bring forth this independent land” (Police Training School, Lilayi – April 15, 1966).

Fred M’membe

2021 International Women’s Day

2021 International Women’s Day Featured

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day! But what is it for? For more than a century people around the world have been marking March 8 as a special day for women. Why?

International Women’s Day grew out of the labour movement to become a recognised annual event by the United Nations. The seeds of it were planted in 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote. It was the Socialist Party of America who declared the first National Woman’s Day, a year later.

The idea to make the day international came from a woman called Clara Zetkin. She suggested the idea in 1910 at an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. There were 100 women there, from 17 countries, and they agreed on her suggestion unanimously. It was first celebrated in 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

This year we’re technically celebrating the 110th International Women’s Day.Things were made official in 1975 when the United Nations started celebrating the day.

International Women’s Day has become a date to celebrate how far women have come in society, in politics and in economics, while the political roots of the day mean strikes and protests are organised to raise awareness of continued inequality.

Clara’s idea for an International Women’s Day had no fixed date. It wasn’t formalised until a war-time strike in 1917 when Russian women demanded “bread and peace” – and four days into the women’s strike the Tsar was forced to abdicate and the provisional government granted women the right to vote.

The date when the women’s strike commenced on the Julian calendar, which was then in use in Russia, was Sunday February 23. This day in the Gregorian calendar was 8 March – and that’s when it’s celebrated today.

Purple, green and white are the colours of International Women’s Day. “Purple signifies justice and dignity. Green symbolizes hope. White represents purity, albeit a controversial concept. The colours originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union in the UK in 1908.

Is there an International Men’s Day? There’s indeed an International Men’s Day – November 19. But it has only been marked since the 1990s and isn’t recognised by the United Nations. People celebrate it in more than 80 countries worldwide. The day celebrates the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities, highlighting positive role models and raising awareness of men’s well-being.

This year’s International Women’s Day campaign has chosen the theme #ChooseToChallenge with the idea that a challenged world is an alert world and individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions.

“We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality,” the campaign states. “We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.”

“Gender parity will not be attained for almost a century,” according to the International Women’s Day campaign, referring to the World Economic Forum, it says “none of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes, and nor likely will many of our children”.

It’s also recently been a very tough time, with data from UN Women revealing the coronavirus pandemic could wipe out 25 years of increasing gender equality . Women are doing significantly more domestic chores and family care because of the pandemic, which in turn, can impact upon job and education opportunities.And as we mark International Women’s Day tomorrow, we who are seeking and struggling for a more just, fair and humane society, a socialist Zambia shouldn’t forget that Lenin said that the proletariat cannot achieve final victory until it has achieved the complete freedom of women.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Part

Meet Comrade Kafwimbi Namutowe

Meet Comrade Kafwimbi Namutowe Featured

Nakonde Central constituency parliamentary candidate comrade Kafwimbi Lunda Namutowe says she joined the Socialist Party “because it promotes mass governance through justice, equity and peace and encourages the young, women and people living with disabilities to participate in leadership and decision-making processes”.

She went to primary school in Chama and Copperbelt, Chinsali, followed by secondary school at Nakonde, and has a certificate in psychosocial counselling.

Comrade Namutowe has worked as a teacher in Morogoro, Tanzania, with the International Institute of Democracy and Conflict Resolution, and also with the Southern Cross Trade Border Association coordinating Muchinga province. She is currently working as a psychosocial counsellor at Nakonde Urban Clinic focusing on gender-based violence issues.

She says agriculture, education, employment, and the problem of early marriages are just some of the issues that need addressing in her constituency.

“We are going to diversify agriculture, not limited to maize, but to include the production of soybeans, millet, sorghum and hot culture, such as fish and animal farming. By so doing, we are going to open people’s minds to other sources of income by selling the produce to East Africa,” she said.

“We have many pressing issues with education. For example, during the enrolment of children, there are a lot of demands that disadvantage the less privileged. The long distances have caused many girls to drop out of school because of teen pregnancies and early marriages as they do weekly boarding. Overcrowding of pupils in classes has disadvantaged many pupils in terms of teacher monitoring and quality education.

“There are no jobs in this area as Zambia is largely de-industrialised. Nakonde constituency is a semi-arid area where people prefer to farm as there are no industries and companies. The Socialist Party will embark on a huge industrialisation programme to create cooperatives, industries and jobs in its three key sectors; agriculture, health and education.

”Comrade Namutowe says Nakonde has what it takes to develop. “However, need a visionary leader who will work with the people to achieve a better Zambia.” She adds that residents “have tried men, but should now trust a woman”.

Meet Comrade Andrew Kalonde

Meet Comrade Andrew Kalonde Featured

Comrade ANDREW Kalonde, parliamentary candidate for the Mpika Central constituency, was born into a family of freedom fighters (Mama Madalena Kalonde and family).

He attended Kenneth Kaunda Secondary School in Chinsali and the University of Zambia, later working for the judiciary as a clerk and carrying out social work. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in law with University of Africa.

“Having been born into a family of politicians, I always had a passion to serve the people of Zambia politically. I joined politics in 2001 while I was a civil servant in Kitwe when the late Michael Sata formed the Patriotic Front,” he said. “In 2006, I took a leave of absence to contest the parliamentary seat for Mpika Central but I was not adopted. I campaigned for the candidate and the party and we won the seat for the Hon Kapeya Mwansa.

”Comrade Kalonde says he resigned from the judiciary and attempted to gain selection stand for Mpika Central two more times but without success.

“I joined the revolutionary movement because when Sata formed the PF he was pro-poor – he had a heart for the marginalised. But after his death the party became pro-rich, so for me the only alternative party was Socialist Party, with a true and uncompromised programme for the working class.

“There are many issues affecting the marginalised people in Mpika Central, with education, health and agriculture being the most pressing.

”Comrade Kalonde says his message for the people of Mpika Central constituency, Muchinga Province, and Zambia as a whole, is to vote for the Socialist Party and Fred M’membe as president.

“We have Dr M’membe as the Socialist Party president, the most experienced political figure of all presidential candidates in the forthcoming general election,” he said.

“Zambians need to liberate themselves from the cruelity of capitalism and embrace socialism if they are to see any meaningful development in this country.”

We will not be part of the alliance circuses going on

We will not be part of the alliance circuses going on Featured

The issue of us joining alliances or pacts keeps on coming up. We have explained and explained our position on this issue but it keeps coming up ceaselessly.

For us, it is not about quick and easy political fixes just to enable us win elections. For us, there is no choice between being principled and unelectable; and electable and unprincipled. We should win because of what we believe in.A complex era such as this requires principles more than ever. It requires a lot more awareness. Political deals, alliances or pacts 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 arrangements.

We have chosen to defend certain principles that are of tremendous value at a time of confusion and opportunism in our country, a time when many politicians are feathering their own nests. We will cooperate with other political players to address problems which affect all of us. But we will not be part of these alliance circuses going on.

Nobody should think that things are going to be easy. We must be prepared to meet difficulties. We have difficulties right now, and we will have even greater ones in the coming days, weeks and months, even if we do things the right way – and we should do them the right way, even if it calls for our greatest efforts. We have to cope with the objective problems of the situation prevailing in our country, the increasing number of restrictive and repressive measures this corrupt, intolerant, cruel and tyrannical regime takes against us.

Nothing great ever came easy; nothing good ever came easy. The struggles, challenges, and obstacles that it takes to succeed in life is what makes success more valuable. Nothing great comes easy, and nothing easy can ever equate to greatness.

Working hard on a goal is really the only way to reach it. The results won’t be overnight, nor would it be easy. Aside from being patient, investing a lot of time and effort is needed. It’s true that nothing great ever came that easy. Often times, it would take so much work and patience in order to succeed. Hard work and focus is the only way to reach a goal.

In most cases, results won’t come easy or happen overnight. It’s true that nothing great ever came that easy. Often times, it would take so much work, patience and dedication. And we shouldn’t give up. The path to victory is filled of obstacles and challenges. We just need to find solutions and keep on struggling.

Lots of hard work and time need to be invested – nothing great ever came that easy. A life of ignoble ease which springs merely from lack either of desire or of power to strive after great things, is as little worthy of a nation as of an individual. I admire a person who embodies victorious effort; who has those virile qualities necessary to win in the stern strife of actual life. It is hard to fail; but it is worse never be have tried to succeed. In this life we get nothing save by effort.

Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.

The state our country is in calls for not for the life of ease, but for the life of strenuous endeavour. If we shrink from the hard contests where we must win at hazard of our lives and at the risk of all we hold dear, then the bolder and stronger will pass us by and will win for themselves the domination of our country

.Let us therefore boldly face the life of strife, resolute to do our duty well; resolute to uphold righteousness by word and by deed; resolute to be both honest and brave, to serve high ideals, yet to use practical methods. Above all, let us shrink from no strife, moral or physical, provided we are certain that the strife is justified; for it is only through strife, through hard and dangerous endeavour, that we shall ultimately win.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

The passing of Bunny Wailer

The passing of Bunny Wailer Featured

It’s with deepest sadness to learn of the passing of one of my most favourite artists, the patriarch and Jamaican music icon, the great Bunny Wailer.

I mourn the passing of this outstanding singer, songwriter and percussionist and celebrate his life and many accomplishments.

The legend, whose real name was Neville O’Riley Livingston, had been the last surviving member of The Wailers, following Bob Marley’s death from cancer in 1981, and Peter Tosh’s murder during a robbery in 1987.

Bunny Wailer played a key role in the development and popularising of reggae music across the world.

Wailer literally grew up with Marley from early childhood: Marley’s mother and Wailer’s father joined households in Kingston, and had a daughter together.

In 1963, Wailer and Marley formed The Wailing Wailers with their friend Peter Tosh. Singers Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso and Cherry Smith joined the group, but departed within a period of months to a few years.

By 1974 both Wailer and Tosh had departed from The Wailers, in part because the music industry seemed intently focused on making Marley a solo star. Wailer’s subsequent hits included the songs “Cool Runnings” and “Ballroom Floor,” as well as his 1976 album, Blackheart Man.

Wailer won three Grammys in the early 1990s; in 2017, he was awarded Jamaica’s Order of Merit, one of his country’s highest honours.May his soul rest in eternal peace!

Fred M’membe

The Wailers, reunited at last!

The Wailers, reunited at last! Featured

Bunny Wailer, 73, reggae pioneer and last surviving member of the Wailers, has died.

The Wailers, which included superstars Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, were Jamaica’s Beatles. They made ska and reggae music known to the world.

They were famous not only for their beats and melody, but for their lyrics. They made music that talked about the ordinary person, the poor, Blacks, and about discontent, personal and social change, rebellion, revolution.

Wailer and others started the band when they were still teenagers. Youth, indeed, is an age of creativity and revolutionary daring.

An author says Tosh was the group’s militant member; Marley, the poetic revolutionary humanist; and Wailer, the spiritual mystic.

“Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our mind.” Powerful words brought together in a lovely but haunting melody. Truly, we have to free our minds so we can free ourselves.

All members of the Wailers have died, but their music won’t die. They will live forever in the hearts of the oppressed and fighting peoples of Africa and the world.

Kyle Haselsteiner

Socialist Youth League

Deputy General Secretary

Meet Comrade Andrew Kapasa Kalulu

Meet Comrade Andrew Kapasa Kalulu Featured

Comrade ANDREW Kapasa Kalulu, parliamentary candidate for Shiwangandu constituency, says he joined the Socialist Party because he believes in justice, equity and peace for all Zambians.

“A just society is a fair society and a peaceful environment for all citizens in our country,” he said. “We all need an equal share of our wealth, equal participation in the governance and politics of our country, equal healthcare and equal education standards, regardless of being poor or rich.

”Comrade Kapasa says the major problems Shiwangandu faces include poverty, illiteracy, bad road infrastructure, poor sanitation and the problem of child marriages.

“We have very few primary schools in Shiwangandu that cannot accommodate the ever-growing population in our constituency. Most of our children are starting school at the age of seven or ten in some places because the schools are very far from their villages. Our children are failing to pass to go to grade eight, grade ten or pass grade 12 because of sub-standard education. This is because in most of our schools we have two or three teachers teaching more than 800 pupils from grades one to grade nine. Our children are not finishing school and those who are lucky enough to reach grade 12 are failing exams. As a result, we are facing a lot early marriages.

”Comrade Kapasa says the constituency has few clinics and health centres and precious few medicines that people cannot afford. Another problem is that soil in the region is very acidic and farmers need expensive fertilisers to grow crops such as maize. Poor Roads and bridges are another concern, with many villages often cut off by floods.

“Regardless of the many economic challenges there is hope for the people this year if they vote wisely by voting a socialist government under Dr Fred M’membe into power,” he said.

“Dr M’membe is a true patriotic Zambian who will look into the equality of the living standards of our people, not only in Shiwangandu, but Zambia at large.”

I am a revolutionary – BARBRA Chekuda Maramwidze

I am a revolutionary – BARBRA Chekuda Maramwidze Featured

BARBRA Chekuda Maramwidze says she is a revolutionary who wants to spur the necessary changes needed in Zambia.

Maramwidze is known to many as an actor in the local opera, Zuba. This time around she is in the news not as an artist; but in the political realm.

It is surprising to see Maramwidze on a political platform but on Wednesday, when the Socialist Party unveiled her as Matero Constituency parliamentary candidate, she provided context to that.

In her speech, she said politics and art were close. “Some of you may be surprised to see me here today and you are asking yourselves what I’m doing here today because you have known me as an artist and not as a political person. But the two are inseparable,” Maramwidze.

“I’m here today as a revolutionary. To help bring the necessary changes needed in our country, the real change needed to get us out of poverty and despair we are in today.

”She indicated her sincere belief that Socialist Party president Dr Fred M’membe, would emerge as the President of Zambia.

Maramwidze urged Zambians, especially women, her friends in Matero and “all of you my fans” to join the struggle.

She said that way, the Socialist party would secure an election victory August 12 this year.

“I did not stand up on my own and say I want to be a member of parliament. Members of the community in which I live, in which I was born, in which I gave birth to my own children, approached me and demanded that I represent them in Parliament this year,” Maramwidze explained.

“After some deep reflection and extensive consultations I agreed.” She said she examined the ideas, principles and outlook of the Socialist Party and its key leadership.

Maramwidze noted that she became absolutely convinced that there was no sensible alternative to what the Socialist party is pursuing.

“I was acting real life situations, the daily realities of our people. Today I join the struggle for the real life realities of our people,” noted Maramwidze.

“Today I give to this struggle all the talents the good Lord gave me and I pledge to work closely with the leadership of our party in Matero and in the whole country to help our peoples struggle – to build themselves a more just, a more peaceful Zambia full of equity.”

Death of a knight errant – Andrew Sardanis

Death of a knight errant – Andrew Sardanis Featured

It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Andrew Sardanis.

I send my deepest condolences to the Sardanis family at this difficult time. The nation mourns with you and celebrates the extraordinary life of this remarkable man – a knight errant of our country.

Andrew holds a place in the history of our country as a knight errant, clothed in the armour of intelligence and courage, as well as determination and humility.

As a young journalist, Andrew left Cyprus – the country of his birth – to come to Northern Rhodesia where he immediately associated himself with the leaders of our national independence struggle and the building of the new nation’s economy as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance.

We must not tire, we must not give up, we must persist. His legacy will stand as an example to all of us to persist in our pursuit of progress.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

The President’s medical care donations scheme

The President’s medical care donations scheme Featured

While we should all welcome anything being done to save the life, or to reduce the pain, of cancer patient Chama Musonda of Kabwe, I think it should be done in a more rational, dignified and humane manner.

Following social media publicity, President Lungu pledged to meet the K60,000 required for Chama’s cancer medication. But is this really the way medical care should be extended to our people by their leaders in government?

Where are the hospitals? Why are they not doing the jobs they were created to do? How many people are ill clad in our homes with similar or even much more worse illnesses than Chama is going through?

Do we really have to wait for social media to highlight the plight of such sick people and move the President of the Republic to do something about it?

We have specialized hospitals created to deal with such diseases as cancer. What are they doing? Where are they?

Is it the new way that we should use to bring the President’s attention to the plight of thousands of our people who can’t get proper medication from public hospitals?

And how deep are the President’s pockets for him to provide medical care to our fellow citizens who are ill and buy expensive buses for some of our public universities?

Does the President have more money than the Ministry of Health or Ministry of Finance?

Can a sitting President really donate instead of directing his ministers do something about situations like this? Again, how deep are the President’s pockets? And are these the same pockets from which Bowman Lusambo draws money to give as donations to marketeers and churches?

Why can’t the President simply put all this money in the Ministry of Health? I wish Chama God’s grace.

Fred M’membe

Meet Comrade Reverend Moddy Chisha

Meet Comrade Reverend Moddy Chisha Featured

Comrade Rev Moddy Nonde Chisha is Socialist Party’s parliamentary candidate for Chitambo Constituency.

Comrade Chisha attended Chimwemwe Primary School, junior secondary at Hellen Kaunda Secondary, and her upper classes at Mindolo Secondary School. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science and a certificate in fashion and design. She holds a diploma in theology, a certificate of psychosocial counseling, and a certificate in literacy teaching and in community work.

Her previous leadership roles include that of being a reverend. Since 2000, she has been pastoring a church.

In terms of what motivated Comrade Chisha to join the Socialist Party, she says: “I was attracted to the party’s progressive policy on women and youth. We have a voice in the party and as a member of the Socialist Party Women’s League, we do appreciate that the recommendations emerging from the women’s league have been taken on board by the central committee.

“In 2021, not less than 50 percent women will stand on the Socialist Party ticket, both at local and parliamentary elections. This is progressive.

“I also joined because I was inspired by the honesty, humility and wisdom of its leadership. I knew with my background in the church that if we joined hands together we could transform Zambia. I was also inspired deeply by our president, Dr Fred M’membe, a patriotic leader who wouldn’t love to see citizens being subjected to the an oppressive capitalist system and ideologies that perpetuates suffering among Zambians.

“The Socialist Party is the answer to Zambia’s problems. Under the socialist government, we will work hard to strive for justice, equity and peace in distribution of the natural resources and the national wealth of our country as outlined in our manifesto.

”Asked what transformation she envisions for Chitambo Constituency, Comrade Chisha says:

“I envision a Chitambo constituency in which all our people have access to healthcare, education, roads and bridges, as well as an improved agricultural sector. At the moment, the situation is bad. There are serious issues around access to education, bad roads, and lack of decent clinics.

“In my constituency, health officers meet the people in makeshift clinics in the bush. There are further no bridges to make life bearable during the rainy season. Those are just some of the huge challenges that people of Chitambo face on a day-to-day basis.

”She says the Zambian people are ready for socialism, “Yes, the Zambian people are ready for a socialist government, for a party that has leaders who lead and allow the people to govern.”

Meet Comrade Augustine Salubeni

Meet Comrade Augustine Salubeni Featured

Comrade Augustine Salubeni joined the Socialist Party because of its manifesto addressing the masses’ problems.

“I believe a better Zambia is attainable if we truly embrace the Socialist Party’s values of honesty, humility, equity and solidarity,” he said.

“The party’s focus on peasant agriculture, health and education are refreshing and I am excited and blessed to be part of this movement.

“The issue-based politics the party is advancing has truly changed the Zambian political landscape. Equally, the party president has demonstrated knowledge, deep commitment, wisdom and leadership that is inspiring.

”Comrade Salubeni said the people of Mufumbwe had suffered enough. “The schools are poorly equipped, there are few hospitals, clinics and no medicines. My constituency also has a poor road network. Day-to-day life is misery and struggle. The solution lies in our hands as a people and collective,” he said.

Meet Comrade Vivian Chunda

Meet Comrade Vivian Chunda Featured

Comrade Vivian Chunda, candidate for Mafinga constituency, went to Kaswanga primary, Samu basic, and Isoka high schools, and later gained a certificate in customs clearing and forwarding at Kitwe Institute of Management. She pursued small-scale farming on a full-time basis at her rural home before joining politics.

Comrade Chunda said the issues in Mafinga constituency included extreme levels of unemployment and poverty, an underdeveloped agriculture sector and shortage of medicines.

She said her desire was “to be close to the people and work with them to socialise important aspects of the Zambian political sector as a means to struggle for justice, equity, and peace”.

She urged women to join the Zambian male-dominated political space. “The future is women. The future is the Socialist Party,” she said.

Money and our politics, elections

Money and our politics, elections Featured

As the August 12, 2021 elections are nearing, we seem to be increasingly witnessing an increase in donations from politicians in the governing party. Why? What are the consequences of these donations on our politics and elections?

There’s no doubt – and I can state it with absolute certainty – we will all pay the price for a political system and elections dominated by money and donations. In truth, these donations are nothing but bribes.

The increasingly skyrocketing cost of running for public office is making it far too easy for those with money to manipulate election outcomes. When a political system is twisted to serve those who can pay the most, the ripple effect is profound. It hurts our multiparty democracy and the political plurality of our nation on every level.

This problem is real and it calls for effective ways to fight the negative effects of money-based multiparty democracy and elections.

If we don’t tenaciously fight this practice the poor of this country will never be able to set themselves political goals and achieve them; the poor will not be able to be elected as councillors, members of parliament or even as presidents.

We need to return the control of our political system to the voters. This can only be achieved if the voters themselves own the elections. I urge all citizens of good will and their organisations to help educate the public on the problem of money in our politics and elections and ways to take action.

There’s need to expose corruption and other abuses of our political system and seek the necessary changes to the way things are done. There’s need for our people to be helped to use their power to counteract the power of money in our politics and elections.

There are real drawbacks to the current interplay between money and politics. Perhaps more than overt corruption, the current system breeds cynicism and apathy – two enemies of multiparty democracy. If Zambians feel like they don’t have a voice, then all sorts of people – potential voters and potential candidates alike – don’t get involved because they don’t think they can matter.

And important policy differences are obscured by the patina of money and donations. And candidates are forced into a never-ending cycle of money which greatly favours incumbents over even the most worthy challengers.

If the Zambians want to get money out of politics, it’s time to take our elections back. Voting is the most powerful form of expression that a single citizen has. When citizens vote, politicians have to listen. We must improve voter turnout and engage within our communities to combat the undue influence of money in our multiparty political dispensation.

There are many things each one of us can do to fight the impact of money in our politics and elections.

Fred M’membe