Tag: government

Statement of the Socialist Party on the Mumbwa floods disaster

Statement of the Socialist Party on the Mumbwa floods disaster Featured

While we welcome the quick response by the government and its agencies to the Mumbwa floods disaster, we think more needs to be done.

This disaster is not small. It calls for more effort and resources. It calls for a far much bigger response. There’s need to call for international assistance.

Flooding is increasingly becoming the most common environmental hazard in this country. And it appears to be occurring ever more frequently, intensifying in some areas and also spreading into new regions of our country. It’s not difficult to predict that the number of people affected by flooding countrywide will continue to rise annually in the course of this century.

Apart from the loss of human lives and increased health risks, the impact of flooding on our people’s economic livelihood has also been a major issue, especially in rural areas, where agriculture makes up a high proportion of household income.

While we cannot prevent natural causes like rain, we can stop the manmade causes like breaking of dams, poor drainage system, installing warning systems and more.

Fred M’membe

President of the Socialist Party

Garden Compound, Lusaka

Electoral bribes

Electoral bribes Featured

All of a sudden the Patriotic Front and its government have so much money to throw around to the Zambian voters.
Where is this money coming from in a government that is embarrassingly failing to meet its debt servicing obligations?
And why this sudden benevolence? All of a sudden people are being given all sorts of handouts and gifts! What has happened?
It’s not what has happened that we should set our eyes and ears on but what is going to happen on August 12 that we should focus on. They are trying to buy our votes with money and ‘gifts’! But are we so gullible? Can these bribes blind us from seeing reality and make us vote for them despite the enormous damage they caused to our country?
Are these really people we can trust to continue presiding over our destiny?
Our country is broke because of the reckless way they have been spending public funds.
Something in the way that they have been handling public money isn’t working. Our issue isn’t just that our country doesn’t have enough money, but that when we got the money, they spent it recklessly. And they spent it on anything.  Truly, 99 per cent of the troubles that we as a nation have with money isn’t that there isn’t enough of it, but in that, we spend it recklessly once we actually get it!
What prompts a voter in Zambia to cast her ballot in favour of a candidate or political party? Typically, her choice would be influenced by the candidate’s identity, outlook, performance or ethnicity.
Cash bribes to voters are also widely thought to influence the voting choices of the poorest and most vulnerable voters.
Trying to buy votes with cash and other gifts in the run up to elections by the ruling party is not unusual in Zambia. One main reason is that politics has become fiercely competitive. The margins of victory are getting smaller and smaller.
Our elections have also become volatile. Our ruling parties do not control voters as well as they once might have done.
Our ruling parties and candidates are more uncertain about results than ever before, and try to buy votes by splurging cash on voters.
But our national experience is that bribing voters in general elections may not necessarily fetch votes. It works much more in by-elections but not in general elections.
Competitive elections prompt the ruling party to distribute handouts – primarily cash and gifts in kind – for strategic reasons. While knowing that handouts are largely inefficient, they end up facing a prisoner’s dilemma, when each prisoner’s fate relies on the other’s actions.
But as we saw in 2011
cash handouts and other gifts influenced a miniscule number of voters. Michael Sata’s ‘Don’t Kubeba’ worked! The voters have become astute, having realised that it was near-impossible for candidates and their political parties to “monitor” their voting behaviour. So they pocketed the cash and betrayed even the most generous candidate.
But there seems to be an overwhelming belief in our ruling parties that they can buy votes of poor people. That’s why they bribe voters.
Bribing voters could have a cultural explanation. There’s a feeling that our poor voters appreciate wealthy or generous candidates. And that in a highly unequal society, cash bribes and gifts create a sense of reciprocity. We have a long history of patronage politics.
Our voters have been made to expect feasts or handouts from candidates – tulyemo! Our electoral politics are increasingly being articulated in the traditional idiom of patronage. The donor-servant relation is increasingly becoming the basic formula through which people exchanged things, exercised power and related socially.
In specific historical contexts bribery may make elections less predictable, dissolving the existing ties by which the electorate are already bound to those seeking office, rather than reinforcing them.
Bribery may be considered an evil because of secondary, knock-on affects. The need to bribe implies the need to raise money. This may take place by corrupt means, or may produce financial and/or political debts, which corrupt the behaviour of politicians when in office. It may be a way in which people outside the political process, whether legitimate businessmen or criminals, such as gangsters and drug-barons nowadays, seek to control it. If pursued on a vast scale, bribery may have unfortunate political consequences by dangerously expanding credit. Moreover, if bribery is prevalent in elections, this will affect the perception of politics both by office-seekers and those who elect them. Office-seekers may come to despise the venality of an electorate, which may, unknown to them, be exercising a considerable degree of independent judgement; the electorate for its part may deduce from the bribes that it is offered, that those pursuing public office are merely self-seekers who are not concerned with the general interest of the public.
This is the reality we have to confront as we head towards August 12.

By Fred M’membe

Garden Compound, Lusaka

Statement from the Socialist Party on the deaths of two members of parliament

The Socialist Party wishes to convey its condolences to the families, relatives and friends of the late MP for Mwansabombwe, Hon. Rogers Mwewa, as well as to those for the late Lukashya MP, Hon. Mwenya Munkonge.

Their death is a great loss to the affected families and communities. Zambia has also lost two serving legislatures shortly before completing their term of office. This entails more by-elections in the coming months. It is tragic and costly.

The Socialist Party had previously warned about the lukewarm, incompetent and seemingly arrogant manner in which the COVID 19 pandemic was being managed in this country. The Party had specifically pointed to the management of human traffic at the border areas, the need for a more systematic contact tracing system, the enhancing of the health workforce, adequate PPEs for frontline staff and above all an intensive public messaging and a socialised behaviour monitoring. We also pointed to the substantial financial requirements and the strict use and accountability of these resources.

With hindsight today, the management of the pandemic is a national disaster. Many more Zambians will pay with their dear lives. In the midst of a global pandemic, the President of the country is burning a lot of aviation fuel moving from one constituency to another dishing out slush funds to traditional leaders and party cadres. The serving Minister of Health is caught up in a huge corruption scandal and is mobilising sections of the ruling party for political support. From a distant, this would be a typical lousy comedy of failed and greedy tinpot dictatorship. But when thousands of innocent lives are about to be sacrificed, then we have to come back to reality and stop the calamity from destroying our homeland.

Before the onset of COVID 19, the Zambian health system was already pathetic and characterised by low, erratic funding. Accountability has been zero for decades now. With the emergency of COVID 19 plus by all standards the most incompetent and corrupt government since political independence in 1964, the decay is open and painful to watch. The death of 2 legislatures in a single day is about a failed state of the health system and entire political system of the country.

Neo-liberal capitalism anchored on individualism, greed, unbridled competition and consumerism is the ultimate cause of death of the 2 members of parliament. It’s a system that has given rise to a breed of politicians that are self-serving, arrogant and yet find joy in sheer ignorance. May more Zambians will continue dying avoidable deaths over the years to come if capitalism is not stopped and a more humane, socialist order put in a place.

Statement Issued on Behalf of the Politburo by Dr. Cosmas Musumali, General Secretary