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!
President of the Socialist Party