Author: Socialist Party ZambiaThe Socialist Party is a political formation whose primary mandate is to promote and entrench socialist values in the Zambian society. Anchored on the principles of Justice, Equity and Peace (JEP), the Socialist Party shall transform the Zambian society from capitalism to socialism, building socialism in three key sectors: Education, Agriculture and Health.

Press Briefing by the Socialist Party on the establishment of an AFRICOM office at the US embassy in Lusaka, 3rd May 2022

Good morning ladies and gentlemen from the press. Today’s Press Briefing focuses on the controversial topic of establishing an AFRICOM office at the US Embassy in Zambia.

To start with, let us look at some content from the recent press statements coming from the US Embassy as well as from our Minister of Defence.

US Embassy Zambia (April 26, 2022): “Building on the foundations of U.S. –Zambia shared security interests, the new Office of Security Cooperation will enhance military to military relations and expand areas of cooperation in force management, modernisation, and professional military education for the Zambian security forces.”

US Embassy Zambia (May 2, 2022): “There is no U.S. military base (or plans for one) in Zambia. An Office of Security Cooperation is not a military base – the new Office of Security Cooperation will be an office at the U.S. Embassy in Lusaka and will work hand-in-hand with the Zambia Defence Force to enhance military to military relations and expand areas of cooperation in force management, modernisation, and professional military education for the Zambian security forces.”

Minister of Defence Zambia (May 2, 2022): “We have had a long-standing relationship with US-AFRICOM in the areas of peacekeeping that has predated this administration and has benefited our military. Zambia has no intention whatsoever of establishing or hosting any military bases on Zambian soil.” “… the Ministry of Defence would like to take this opportunity to warn all perpetrators of such misinformation meant to tarnish our existing cordial relationship with our neighbours and strategic partners, to desist from issuing alarming statements which hinge on the security and territorial integrity of our nation.”

Obviously, the US Embassy and our Minister of Defence are worried about the reaction of the Zambian public on. They are therefore trying to clear the air – that there will be no US military base in the country, but a new office for security cooperation. The Minister of Defence goes a step further – threatening those issuing alarming statements!

However, what is lost in all this controversy is why AFRICOM is widely rejected amongst the African masses! What is its mission? What is its history?

Ladies and gentlemen, it is important to understand these facts in order to give context to the current anxieties in the country. Threats and arrogantly formulated press statements are not helpful.

Here is a short history. On 15 October 2003, Nile Gardiner and James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation in the US published a white paper called US Military Assistance for Africa: A Better Solution. They argued that the US government should create a US Africa Command that would intervene in Africa ‘when vital [US] national interests are threatened’ in the same tradition as was done in Latin America and the Caribbean with the establishment of the US Southern Command in 1963. This became a reality in 2007. President Bush announced on February 6, 2007 the establishment of a Unified Command for U.S. military forces in Africa, known as AFRICOM.

African nations have repeatedly declared their opposition to the hosting of U.S. bases on the African continent and the militarization of their relations with the United States. It was apparent that AFRICOM was going to pursue narrowly defined U.S. interests at the expense of both the sovereignty and welfare of the African nations.

At that time, two African countries, Botswana and Liberia, indicated that they would be pleased to house the headquarters of AFRICOM. However, South Africa voiced opposition to AFRICOM’s move to the continent. Through AU intervention, both Botswana and Liberia backed off.

Regional organizations have been most vocal in their critique of AFRICOM. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) was the first to issue a clear message of dissent against the Bush initiative. On August 29, 2007, SADC announced its position “that it is better if the United States were involved with Africa from a distance rather than be present on the continent.” The SADC Defence and Security Ministers further stated “that sister countries of the region should not agree to host AFRICOM and in particular, armed forces, since this would have a negative effect. That recommendation was presented to the Heads of State and this is a SADC position.”

President Levy Mwanawasa reaffirmed Zambia’s stance on October 2, 2007, when he stated “none of us is interested” in hosting the command.

Other key regional organizations made up of nations across Africa declared their condemnation of AFRICOM and its implications for US-African relations. The 25-member Northern African Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) backed SADC’s position on the establishment of U.S. bases and stated that CEN-SAD “flatly refuses the installation of any military command or any foreign armed presence of whatever country on any part of Africa, whatever the reasons and justifications.”

The Arab Magreb Union also voiced strong opposition to the placement of U.S. bases anywhere on the continent.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) stated resolutely its opposition to American bases in the region. At the forefront of this effort stood Nigeria, whose leadership unequivocally denounced the possibility of American troops being based in West Africa.

The mood to prevent AFRICOM’s headquarters from being based on the continent remains strong and is widespread amongst the African people. As a result of all this dissent, AFRICOM is currently still based in Stuttgart, Germany. AFRICOM HAS FOUND CREATIVE WAYS OF OPERATING IN AFRICA –DESPITE THE REJECTION Despite the rejection of AFRICOM amongst the African masses, the US has found various ways of getting AFRICOM to operate on the continent:

(i) US military bases have continued to proliferate after 2007. In the aftermath of the NATO war on Libya, the Sahel region experienced a number of conflicts, many of them driven by the emergence of forms of militancy, piracy, and smuggling. Using the pretext of these conflicts, and inflamed by NATO’s war, France and the United States intervened militarily across the Sahel. In 2014, France set up the G-5 Sahel, a military arrangement that included Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger, and expanded or opened new military bases in Gao, Mali; N’Djamena, Chad; Niamey, Niger; and Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The United States, for its part, built an enormous drone base in Agadez, Niger, from which it conducts drone strikes and aerial surveillance across the Sahel and the Sahara Desert. This is one of the many US bases on the African continent. The United States has twenty-nine known military facilities in fifteen countries on the continent, while France has bases in ten countries. No other country from outside the continent has as many military bases in Africa. The increasing number of foreign military bases on the African continent alarmed the Peace and Security Council of the AU, which raised this as an important issue in its May 2016 meeting: “Council noted with deep concern the existence of foreign military bases and establishment of new ones in some African countries, coupled with the inability of the Member States concerned to effectively monitor the movement of weapons to and from these foreign military bases. In this regard, Council stressed the need for Member States to be always circumspect whenever they enter into agreements that would lead to the establishment of foreign military bases in their countries.”

(ii) AFRICOM has found itself into the AU with an attaché to the Peace and Security Council and staff in the AU Conflict Prevention and Early Warning Division, as well as the Peace Support Operations Division. With the entry of AFRICOM into the AU in the name of ‘interoperability’ to link US military forces with AU peacekeepers, the US has begun to shape the AU’s security framework more directly. (iii) The inability of some African militaries to fight dissidents is providing a chance to AFRICOM. On 27 April 2021, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari asked the US to relocate AFRICOM Headquarters from Stuttgart, Germany to the African continent in order to help fight insurgencies. Growing pressure from Islamic and other dissidents and increased instability in Nigeria was the contributing factor to President Buhari’s appeal, though he fell short of suggesting Nigeria as host for AFRICOM. Nigeria’s position is a major shift from its initial stand, which, a decade ago, was against the presence of AFRICOM in Africa.

(iv) Various security cooperation agreements have led to serious surrenders of national sovereignty that have occurred through military exchange and so-called security cooperation. The example of Ghana is quite telling. In 2018, the US Department of Defense proposed that the US and Ghana agree to a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), a $20 million deal that would allow the US military to expand its presence in Ghana. In March 2021, widespread unhappiness of this agreement swept large sections of the population into the streets; opposition parties, who worried about the possibility that the US would build a military base in the country, raised their objections in parliament. By April, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said that his government had ‘not offered a military base, and will not offer a military base to the United States of America’. The US Embassy in Accra repeated the statement, saying that the ‘United States has not requested, nor does it plan to establish a military base or bases in Ghana’. The SOFA agreement was signed in May 2018.

It does not require a close reading of the agreement’s text to know that there is in fact the possibility that the US could build a base in the country. Article 5, for instance, states, Ghana hereby provides unimpeded access to and use of Agreed facilities and areas to United States forces, United States contractors, and others as mutually agreed. Such Agreed facilities and areas, or portions thereof, provided by Ghana shall be designated as either for exclusive use by United States forces or to be jointly used by United States forces and Ghana. Ghana shall also provide access to and use of a runway that meets the requirements of United States forces.

Through this article, the US is permitted to create its own military facilities in Ghana. By any definition, this means that it can set up a base. The surrender of Ghana’s sovereignty also comes to light where the SOFA agreement states (Article 6) that the US would ‘be afforded priority in access to and use of Agreed facilities and areas’ and that said use and access by others ‘may be authorised with the express consent of both Ghana and United States forces’. Furthermore, Article 3 says that US troops ‘may possess and carry arms in Ghana while on Official duty’ and that the US troops shall be accorded ‘the privileges, exemptions, and immunities equivalent to those accorded to the administrative and technical staff of a diplomatic mission’. In other words, the US troops can be armed and, if they are accused of a crime, they will not be tried in Ghana’s courts. In March 2018, Ghana’s minister of defence, Dominic Nitiwul, was challenged on a radio station by Kwesi Pratt of the Socialist Forum Ghana (SFG). Nitiwul said that there was nothing peculiar about this agreement, since other African countries – like Senegal – had signed such agreements. Ghana, said Nitiwul, had signed similar agreements with the US in 1998 and 2007, but these were done in secret because there was no tax waiver. Pratt warned that Ghana would be ‘surrendering sovereignty’ in entering this agreement. The general sentiment in the country was opposed to the base, which is why both the Ghanaian government and the US denied that a base would be built. Pratt was right. The US presence at Kotoka International Airport in Accra became the heart of the US military’s West Africa Logistics Network. By 2018, weekly flights from Ramstein Air Base in Germany landed in Accra with supplies (including arms and ammunition) for the at least 1,800 US Special Forces troops spread out across West Africa. Brigadier General Leonard Kosinski said in 2019 that this weekly flight was ‘basically a bus route’. At the Kotoka airport, the US maintains a Cooperative Security Location. This is a base in all but the name.

REASONS FOR REJECTING THE NEW OFFICE FOR SECURITY COOPERATION

1. The US has provided direct and indirect military support to Zambia for a long time now using the existing embassy facilities and defence attaché. There has been no felt need for a new office within the embassy. The setting up of the new office escalates the role of AFRICOM in Zambia. Such a development has implications for the SADC defence initiatives and raises anxieties in the region.

2. There is a real danger of the country’s military doctrine being hijacked through this form of security cooperation. Zambia’s military doctrine was for a long time a product of the country’s post independence insights gained through international exposure (primarily from the UK, Yugoslavia, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Tanzania and several other countries) as well as the threats that were posed by colonial fascist regimes supported by Europe and the US. Today’s doctrine has to build on this past – but with a clear understanding of the country’s changed geopolitical situation. It will be extremely dangerous and fatal to turn the Zambia military into some extended arm of the American military.

3. The US military operates not only to provide an advantage to the United States and its ruling elites, but it functions – along with the armies of the other NATO nations, including France – as the guarantor of Western corporate interests and the principles of capitalism. Nkrumah came to the same conclusion in 1965, stating that ‘Africa’s raw materials are an important consideration in the military build-up of the NATO countries… Their industries, especially the strategic and nuclear factories, depend largely upon the primary materials that come from the less developed countries’. Reports from the US military routinely sketch out the responsibility of its range of armed forces to ensure a steady stream of raw materials for corporations – especially energy – and to maintain unimpeded movement of goods through shipping channels. Such reports include National Energy Policy (May 2001) from the National Energy Policy Development Group, led by former Vice President Dick Cheney, and Assessing and Strengthening the Manufacturing and Defense Industrial Base and Supply Chain Resiliency of the United States (September 2018) from the Interagency Task Force in Fulfilment of Executive Order 13806. In this sense, the US military – alongside its NATO partners – operates as the gendarme not for the world community, but for the beneficiaries of capitalism. Alongside the US is France, whose military presence in Niger is closely linked to the imperatives of the French energy sector, which requires the uranium mined in Arlit (Niger). One in three French light bulbs are powered by the uranium from this town in Niger, which is garrisoned by French troops.

4. The New Cold War. As Chinese private and public commercial interests have increased on the African continent, and as Chinese firms have consistently outbid Western firms, US pressure to contain China on the continent has increased. The US government’s New Africa Strategy (2019) characterised the situation in competitive terms: ‘Great power competitors, namely China and Russia, are rapidly expanding their financial and political influence across Africa. They are deliberately and aggressively targeting their investments in the region to gain a competitive advantage over the United States’. The European Union followed with a report called Towards a Comprehensive Strategy with Africa (2020), which – while it did not directly mention China – worried about ‘competition for natural resources’. Under this New Cold War, the Zambian military must protect the country’s economic interests and those of our motherland – Africa. More autonomous security cooperation arrangements are – within today’s context of a multipolar world – needed more than ever before.

5. Zambians need to have a say over this increasing military cooperation with any NATO country and Israel. The NATO countries enslaved, colonised and exploited our continent for centuries. They supported the most reactionary forces in Africa – including the racist apartheid regime. They systematically killed progressive African leaders that stood for African dignity and against the underdevelopment of the continent. This is a tragic history that cannot be grossed over quickly. What type of values are therefore our military learning from AFRICOM? The recent military coups in West Africa are associated to former AFRICOM military trainees, what exactly is going wrong and what lessons can Zambians draw from this development? As long as we don’t have convincing answers to these questions, further security cooperation with AFRICOM is unacceptable and dangerous in the long run.

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.
 

Why the president is travelling to South Africa

Why the president is travelling to South Africa

The statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs appears to omit the main reason why the President of the Republic of Zambia is travelling to South Africa tomorrow. As the advert alongside the message shows, the purpose of the President’s trip is to go and launch a book written by a private person who happens to be his friend named Greg Mills.

Mills is the CEO of the Brenthurst Foundation, a Johannesburg-based organisation established by the Oppenheimer family, the founders of Anglo American Plc, in 2004. This Foundation is widely believed to have bankrolled the UPND campaigns in the last few elections. Is the President repaying a little of the favour?

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the President’s visit is a two-day working visit and that the President will pay a courtesy call on South African President President Cyril Ramaphosa. By definition, a courtesy call is a by the way. It is a call or visit made out of politeness. So, what exactly is the purpose of President Hichilema’s trip to South Africa if the meeting with President Ramaphosa is only a by the way? Is the meeting with President Ramaphosa a mere cover up for his private pursuits, especially that SADC leaders only recently met in Malawi to discuss the security situation in the region?

Is this the best way to use public resources and time: galavanting all over South Africa to promote the commercial interests of the President’s non-Zambian associates? Is it justified to travel to another country using taxpayers’ resources (office, money, time, etc) to physically promote the commercial interests of private entities even if they may have helped fund one’s election campaigns?

Doesn’t this make it plain who the power brokers in the new government are? Is this the beginning of State Capture?

Zambia, we can surely do better than this!

Fred M’membe