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.

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

SAVE ZAMBIA, START MOBILISING TO KICK OUT THIS TIN-POT DICTATOR IN 2026

We are no longer in doubt that Mr. Hakainde Hichilema is an intolerant, ruthless, cruel, heartless tin-pot dictator presiding over the most corrupt regime in the history of this country.

Today, Mr. Hichilema is using the criminal justice system to fix his political and other enemies. The police has become his personal political, social and business tool to use, or rather abuse, as he desires.

Mr. Hichilema seems to care less about anybody but himself.

But he is forgetting that care is the essence of strength – strength, power without care is savage and brutal, and selfish. While strength with care is compassion – the practical action that is needed to help others.

Mr. Hichilema has become an Emperor Bokasa and a Mobutu Sese Seko in one – two in one. He wants to be an absolute ruler by annihilation or co-option of all critical voices and political opposition. He only wants to hear from those who sing praises for him and only him alone.

But the Zambian people must understand that in every society, there are men of base instincts. These sadists, brutes go about in the guise of human beings, yet they are monsters. If they are offered a drink from the river of blood, they will not be satisfied until they drink the river dry. Such is the character and nature of the man at the helm of this country’s leadership today.

We all want to win, but it shouldn’t be at the annihilation of our political competitors. We should win because  we are better  understood, supported and trusted. There should be no choice between being principled and unelectable; and electable and unprincipled. We should win because of what we believe in.

Mr. Hichilema is not a man to give another term of office – he has shown us his true colours, his real character, his true self. If he is given another term of office nothing will remain of this country in terms of multiparty democracy and pluralism. He is not only destroying the economy of this country but also our national unity by introducing tribalism and regionalism never seen in Zambia before.

So let’s save Zambia, start mobilising to kick out this tin-pot dictator, annihilator in 2026!

One bad term doesn’t deserve another, aleya!

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