Socialist Party interim general secretary Dr Cosmas Musumali says the Patriotic Front is the most corrupt government Zambia has ever had.
And social activist Maiko Zulu says Zambians will continuously head nowhere if they get comfortable with the current elitist leadership that is shamelessly siphoning the country’s resources and is in power for the sake of making profits.
Featuring on UNZA Radio, Lusaka Star programme this morning, Dr Musumali said there was urgent need to change the governance system as corruption had become endemic under President Edgar Lungu’s administration.
And responding to a caller identified as Dr Proud, who told him to stop making wild allegations about corruption, Dr Musumali said the current PF administration was the most corrupt the country has ever had.
“But it (MMD) ended up being one of the most corrupt parties, much more corrupt than the party it replaced, UNIP. PF came on the same ticket. It said MMD was very corrupt and that it was going to clean. It came in, now we are saying the PF that we have today is even more corrupt than ever before. It is the most corrupt government that we have ever had. So, as Zambians in our analysis, if we want to make lasting change, we have to go beyond the issue of just taking out individuals. We have to change the entire system,” he said. “And when we are talking of a cancer, you don’t fight cancer just by looking at the symptoms. If you are going to uproot, to amputate it, then amputate the system upon which that cancer is built. It’s important that we bear that in mind, and an issue that will mean honesty as a value of socialism, the issue of humility plays a very big part. Dr Proud was talking about ‘don’t throw wild allegations’. Dr Proud, those wild allegations will always be there under capitalism, under this system.”
Dr Musumali said capitalism was a system that was not truthful.
“It teaches us, as its subjects, to lie from day one. It’s not just the leadership that’s lying; every one of us is lying on daily basis. We don’t have the norms, the values that teach us to be honest. In our homes, we are telling lies to our children vice-versa, and that is replicated even in our politics. Our politics in Zambia are about lying. Capitalist politics is about telling lies every day, every year and every century,” said Dr Musumali.
In sentiments made this morning when he called in on a special program on which Dr Musumali, a socialist and economist, featured on UNZA Radio, Zulu, who contested the Kabwata parliamentary seat in the 2016 general election as an independent, said there was urgent need to revolutionise leadership and make it less commercial if Zambia was to move forward.
“Good morning Dr Musumali. Let me call you comrade, because I think you sound sober enough to be called a comrade…I just want to talk about a few things, you have talked about like access to education and also opportunities, equity, when we talk of equity, not equality but equity. I think it is very important that we understand where we are as a country and where we have been,” he said. “I think at some point in the history of Zambia, we enjoyed some form of equity but when you look at the situation we are in, it is very clear to see that there is an elitist movement in the country that is siphoning the country’s resources and this inner circle is doing this without shame at all.”
Zulu then touched on the recent appointment of Margaret Mwanakatwe as finance minister, a decision which he described as questionable.
“You can see we are appointing a Minister of Finance who is questionable. There is a case concerning her seat…and you go on to appoint [her] as Minister of Finance. I have no problem with Hon Mwanakatwe’s credentials at all. But when you talk of integrity in leadership, these are the things we are talking about. Our institutions have been cheapened, including Parliament itself, because our Parliament does not seem to understand their roles,” Zulu continued. “They (Parliament) are not the watchdogs of the people anymore…As long as we have this elitist movement and we are comfortable with it, we are not going to go anywhere as a country. So, we need to revolutionise leadership, make it become less commercial because leadership now is all about profit. We go into leadership out of profit; what are you going to reap after five years. So, it’s a disaster.”
Socialist Party spokesperson, Father Richard Luonde says the malicious media campaign against the ideologically left party is a sign of cowardice and unnecessary in a multi-party dispensation.
Fr. Luonde said there was no law in Zambia that barred anyone from exercising his political right through either by association or assembly.
“Part lll, article 21(1) of the constitution states that except with his consent no person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of his freedom of assembly or association, that is to say his rights to assemble freely and associate with other persons and particular to form or belong to a political party, Trade Union or association for protection of his interests,” he said. “Whilst there is a proviso in the law that restricts public officers as captioned under Article 21(2)(c) it is however quite specific on the public officers”.
Fr Luonde said the threats as reported in the media on recruitment of specified persons gives no legal effect to suggest that it was illegal for some members of the public to belong to an association or political party.
He said the SP had every right to admit into its membership anyone irrespective of their status in society.
“The PF government among its members are the retired military personnel and this is a general practice in most parts of the world and in Zambia the highest serving retired military personnel was General Malimba Masheke as Prime Minister of Zambia in the second republic,” he said. “Socialist Party treats any statements on the alleged expose’ of the Daily Nation article of the 19th January and subsequent threats from government as political”.
He expressed worry that the media could be used to propagate falsehoods when it was not complicated to verify such a story.
“We are comforted however that we are a grass root party and that our fresh and new ideas of political management will inevitably hurt many, especially the political elite,” Fr Luonde said.
He reminded the Patriotic Front government of its commitment to the 1993 Vienna Convention on the programme of Action which states that human rights and fundamental freedoms are a birthright of every human being, their protection and promotion as a first responsibility of every government.
The recently-registered Socialist Party says it is becoming a target of the PF leadership’s Frederick Chiluba-led MMD Zero Option-style political slander because the Leftist-oriented formation was a major threat to the ruling establishment and its funders.
Commenting on the sustained accusations and attacks against the Socialist Party, which was only registered in October last year after more than a year-long validation struggle with the Zambian government, Fr Richard Luonde, the party’s spokesperson, said such attacks were not new on the local political scene and that they will not go away soon.
“The sustained accusations and attacks on newly-formed Socialist Party as reported in the Daily Nation are not new on Zambia’s political scene and will not go away soon. The newspaper in its calculated approach, interviews targeted individuals and this reflects that the paper is not alone in the project,” Fr Luonde said in an interview. “The ruling government has deliberately blurred the distinction between itself and the ruling party. It is worrying that the ruling party militia has assumed the role of the state and the alleged expose is calculated to stop the activities of the Socialist Party as was reported and quoted by the Mandevu PF leadership. The ruling militia wants to use this alleged data to cause mayhem.”
He said Zambia’s recent politics was characterised by unfounded allegations and accusations often targeting personalities and entities considered a ‘threat’ to the ruling establishment and its financiers.
“Threat here refers to potential government through the electoral system. In February 1993, the MMD government-owned Times of Zambia reported that a plot by the former ruling party, UNIP, to overthrow the government, referred to as Black Mamba or Zero Option had been uncovered,” Fr Luonde recollected. “26 citizens that included late Major Wezi Kaunda and Cuthbert Ng’uni had been arrested and charged with capital offences. However, no evidence was provided in court. The government insisted the conduct of the 26 posed a serious national threat.”
He noted that the PF government also had the misfortune of being accused by the United Party for National Development (UPND) of training militias in Sudan, which too, according to the Socialist Party, lacked evidence.
“It is clear that Zambia’s political landscape provides for rumours more than anything else and grossly bent at discrediting political opponents and it is often serious when the accusations comes from the ruling party and government acts quickly as there is no distinction between the two for their survival,” Fr Luonde pointed out. “The recent accusations on the Socialist Party [of Zambia] as reported in the Daily Nation, albeit falls under the description above, unfounded rumours. Socialist Party will not escape these accusations and history shows that they have been levelled at seriously organised parties of the time. Socialist Party should pride itself of this strength.”
Fr Luonde further said the Socialist Party has also come with fresh breath or ideas of political management with leftist orientation that is growing in Europe and other areas where the pangs of capitalism have hit hard.
“One need not be a rocket scientist to appreciate the inroads of socialism in the 21st century. The party organises itself through grassroots recruitment where the people own the party and not the political elite. This is of fundamental importance to the growth which has not been seen in Zambia,” he continued. “The people are trained in political ideology and political management to avoid them being potential political mercenaries as experienced from the ruling PF and other political parties.”
Fr Luonde said those in the Socialist Party will not be apologetic for being socialists influenced by the Marxist-Leninist ideologies as well as those of other progressives.
“We make no apologies that we are socialist! Our fundamental values are anchored on Equity, Humility, Honesty and International solidarity,” said Fr Luonde. “Our existence functions around Justice, Equity and Peace. The party abhors violence of whatever kind. The struggle continues.”