Tag: independence

It’s time to choose between the future and the past – M’membe

It’s time to choose between the future and the past – M’membe Featured

ON AUGUST 12, Zambians will face a stark choice: a choice between the future and the past, Socialist Party president Fred M’membe has said.

“Today the case I put before the Zambian people is that if we are to secure the future for our children, for our communities and for our nation, the government of Zambia must now change in a real and revolutionary sense,” he said.

“The neoliberal, capitalist policies being pursued and advanced by our opponents belong to the past. Socialism is the future and we must build it now. After a decade in power, the PF has lost touch with the poor and working people. It no longer understands what fairness, justice, equity and peace actually mean. It simply doesn’t understand the new challenges we face, now, and in the future.”

In a statement ahead of the party’s official campaign launch, Dr M’membe spelled out some of the challenges Zambia was facing.

“One challenge is to revolutionise our hospitals and make health services free and socialised. And above all, there is the challenge to transform our education system and make it free and socialised,” he said.

“The PF has no plans for the future because it’s not going to be there to deal with the challenges of the future. It is being sent to the wire on August 12.

“The way forward for Zambia is to elect a revolutionary party and president with progressive ideas to meet the challenges of the future, a new president and government that understand and respect the values upon which our independence struggle was fought.”

Dr M’membe said those values were honesty, equity, humility and solidarity.

“We need to build a Zambia anchored on justice, equity and peace. We need a nation where there’s decency, fairness and respect,” he said. “You can’t have a plan for Zambia’s future if you have lost sight of such basic values. For us socialists, these values are in our DNA.”

Dr M’membe said Zambia needed a new leadership with fresh ideas for the future. “With barely three months to go in this election campaign, the PF government has put forward no real new ideas for the future. It has run out ideas. It has clearly run out of energy. And it has run out of time.

“The Socialist Party is offering new leadership with a plan for the future, and however many words and however much money the PF may yet throw at these longstanding challenges over the next 11 weeks, it is just not going to be real. The truth is, it’s all just too late to be believable.”

Dr M’membe said nation-building required vision. “And the cornerstone of our vision for Zambia’s future is an education revolution. We believe passionately in the power of education,” he said. “We believe education is the engine room of equity and the engine room of the economy. I would not be standing as a presidential candidate today were it not for the encouragement and instruction provided to me by the teachers who shaped my life. They made it possible for a child like me from Lubemba and Bulozi to finish school, go to university and be here today seeking to lead our nation into the future.

“I know the difference a great education can make. Our vision for Zambia is to build a very good education system so we produce an innovative, skilled and well-trained workforce.”

Dr M’membe said the economies competing against Zambia were making huge investments in education. “They know that knowledge-intensive economies will be the wealthiest economies of the future. We must take decisive action now,” he said. “We need nothing less than an education revolution now to improve radically the performance of the education system. Universities are critical to the education revolution that Zambia so urgently needs. Undoing the damage this government has done to our universities will not be easy. But this challenge begins today.

“Zambia cannot be put on the path of a knowledge economy if we do not help our universities attract and retain our best scientists, innovators and researchers into the future.”

Dr M’membe said he was approaching the election “with a passionate commitment to Zambia’s future”.

“The values I bring to leadership are the values instilled in me by my strong Bemba royal upbringing,” he said. “They are also the values that are intrinsic to this revolutionary party. I understand that life is sometimes harsh, but I believe that as a people we have a responsibility that when one of us falls down we must help to lift them back up. That’s what decency and fairness is all about.

“Another thing I have learnt is the absolute value of hard work, of not being wasteful, and the importance of planning for the future. For me, these are enduring values. And these are the values that, as president, I would bring to our nation’s challenges.

“The nation now needs new leadership for the future. The nation now wants new leadership for the future. And today, I am ready to deliver that new leadership for Zambia’s future.”

Stop the harassment of Costa Mwansa and Diamond TV

Stop the harassment of Costa Mwansa and Diamond TV

The summoning by police of Diamond TV chief executive officer Costa Mwansa and head of news and current affairs George Chomba to appear before them at force headquarters is unacceptable harassment of journalists and news media outlets.
We are informed that this is in connection with investigations police are conducting in relation to what is alleged to be a leaked speech of the 2021 budget. But when did a budget speech become a sensitive state security document? Traditionally, the budget speech is quietly made available to reliable and influential media in advance. In the more than two and half decades we were journalists almost every year we had advance access to the budget speech and where never harassed in this way by police.
This is nothing but an attempt to intimidate and censor the country’s leading independent television station.
This type of harassment of journalists has an impact on those affected by it, but it is also a direct attack on press freedom and independence — an attempt to silence specific voices and stories.
Being a target for harassment can be exhausting, which takes an incredible psychological toll on the journalist, the newsroom and on other colleagues in that same beat.
A very tangible consequence is censorship — journalists not reporting a certain story because they’re afraid of the onslaught of harassment.
I have most definitely spoken to journalists who said they have not reported on something, or they have avoided a story, because they’re afraid of the consequences.
Journalists are watchdogs working to promote transparency and accountability. As such, they can be become victims of silencing strategies when they threaten powerful interests or expose governments or important figures in the name of public interest.
This is what is happening in Zambia today where the country’s leading broadcaster Costa Mwansa’s television station, Diamond TV, has been targeted with a string of police investigations and call outs by this authoritarian regime.
Not all silencing techniques are this overt, but even subtler attempts can impact the accountability work being done by journalists at all levels and shouldn’t be ignored – they must be denounced.
We therefore call on the police to immediately stop its harassment of Costa Mwansa and Diamond TV.

Fred M’membe
Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali

Statement of the Socialist Party to mark Africa Day  – May 25, 2020

Statement of the Socialist Party to mark Africa Day – May 25, 2020

On this day, May 25, every year, the continent celebrates Africa Day.

But like many other such days, the point and history of the Africa Day celebration seems lost on many. Its origins can be traced back to  April 15, 1958 – when the first Conference of Independent African States brought the fathers of Africa’s liberation movements together. At the time, there were few independent African states, but the few leaders in attendance – from Ghana, Ethiopia, Sudan, Liberia and others – were there as a collective platform to reject colonialism.
That meeting sowed the seeds of what would become the Organization of African Unity (OAU), later in 2001 renamed the African Union (AU), launched on May 25, 1963 by 32 free nations. Every year since, Africa Day has been celebrated on May 25.

As we celebrate Africa Day we should get back to the original message behind this day and figure out what it means today.

African unity is still a relevant and honourable goal, but making it practical means struggling against the things that divide us, weaken us.

If we truly cherish Africa’s freedom and unity, it’s impossible to accept a world order which is the full embodiment of the principles and objectives of a system that for centuries colonised, enslaved, looted our peoples and divided them.

As we celebrate Africa Day, let’s not forget that the AU, our people’s organisation that has put up the strongest fight, provided most support and resolutely defended the interests, the just causes and the struggles for national liberation in Africa has not yet seen the last of itself; it will never do.

If Africa’s freedom has to be meaningful, the United Nations must be reformed and democratised. The Security Council’s dictatorship must cease. The General Assembly’s rights should be acknowledged as it represents every state in the world. The Council should be expanded according to the UN present membership.

Likewise, the International Monetary Fund must be transformed and democratised. It should no longer be a worldwide political destabilising factor and a financial policeman for the interests of the powerful. No one should have the right to veto its decisions. Such principle should also be applied to the World Bank.

The World Trade Organization, should not through division and deceit, be an instrument of the cruel neo-liberal globalisation imposed on the world.

The acclaimed free movement of capital and commodities must also apply to that which must stand above all else: the human being. The persecution of immigrants must cease. Xenophobia must end, not solidarity.

Neo-liberal globalisation is rapidly destroying nature, poisoning the air and the waters, killing the forests, causing soil desertification and erosion, depleting and wasting the natural resources, changing the climate.

Development assistance is constantly reduced. It never reached the projected 0.7 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product and, as an average, it has decreased to 0.25 per cent; 0.2 per cent in the richest country. They want to turn us into an immense free zone with cheap labour force and not even taxes to pay.

No hopes for the children, the elders and the sick. And if the population of Africa perishes of AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, coronavirus and tens of old and new diseases that is of no concern to the trans-national corporations and the blind market laws; what counts is the extraction of oil, gold, diamonds, platinum, copper, chrome, uranium and other valuable resources.

The economic blockades against the countries must cease. Depriving millions of people, including women, children and elders of food, medicine and the means to make a living is an extremely cruel act of terrorism, a real genocide.

And on this day, we cannot forget our Palestinian brothers and sisters and their struggles. The abuses and displacement of the downtrodden Palestinian people must cease. Peace should be given a chance.
The double standard and the double moral in international affairs must cease.

Hunger and poverty must be completely eradicated. The lack of teachers and schools, doctors and hospitals must cease.

The endless plundering caused by the foreign debt, which grows more with every payment thus preventing our development, should also cease.

Unequal exchange, as practiced by the conquerors with the natives purchasing gold with mirrors, marbles and European trinkets, must cease.

The debt accumulated by those who exploited us for so many centuries must be paid back.

The policy of luring our peoples to pursue the unsustainable life style of the consumer societies must cease.

The destruction of our national identities and our cultures must cease.

Many things must cease to exist but first disunity amongst ourselves must end as well as the ethnic conflicts between our peoples which should rather struggle for their development and their right to survive and to take the place they deserve in tomorrow’s world.

As Kwame Nkrumah wished and struggled for, one day we will not be separated by our ethnic origins, nor by national chauvinism or borders, rivers or and distances. We shall be, above all else, peoples that will unavoidably live in a globalised world, but a truly just, fraternal and peaceful world. That day will not come on its own, we must earn it by struggling.

Issued by Fred M’membe on behalf of the Politburo of the Socialist Party

Garden Compound, Lusaka

Press statement: Socialist Party message on Zambia’s 54th Independence anniversary

Press statement: Socialist Party message on Zambia’s 54th Independence anniversary

On the 24th October 1964, Zambians from all walks of life and class inclination woke up to celebrate their political emancipation from 33 years of Cecil John Rhodes and his British South Africa Company and 40 years British colonial rule. After 73 years of colonial domination, Zambians now had an opportunity for self and majority rule.

The independence struggle was organised, led and executed mainly by a young generation of fighters. They were a combination of student activists, trade union organisers, social workers, promoters of the emerging African cooperative movement, miners toiling under exploitative and oppressive working conditions, teachers and other professionals, emergent entrepreneurs and a few intellectuals and technocrats. It was a multi-ethnic, multi-racial and multi-cultural grouping. Zimbabweans, Malawians, South Africans, British, Indian and several other nationalities were not uncommon participants in the struggle for Zambian independence. There was unity of purpose in defeating an inhuman and exploitative colonial system.

However, political independence did not address the fundamental question of compensation for the 10,000 young Ngoni patriots and many others murdered for resisting colonial rule. It did not facilitate compensation for the 10,750 stolen Ngoni cattle herds, timber, ivory, precious and industrial minerals looted over a lengthy period. Neither did political independence transfer the ownership of the stolen means of production, including the most fertile agricultural land, from the colonial forces to the Zambian working masses. It was therefore political independence without the requisite economic muscle.

Through a series of economic reforms in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the young post-independence leadership worked hard at correcting this anomaly. The aim was to create some economic space in which Zambia would truly be independent from neo-colonialism. However the multinational corporations to be nationalised often short-circuited the process through complex financial, economic and and technological options that made a mockery of the exercise. In addition, the often-misplaced policy, regulation and management of the nationalised entities compromised progress. The economic burden of the liberation struggle for southern Africa plus globalised economic crises of the mid-1970s also played their role in halting the envisaged economic emancipation. The growing hegemony of neo-liberal capitalism under the Washington consensus literarily buried all the existing hopes and aspirations. The economic reforms implemented after 1991 were therefore a complete reversal of the notion of independence. The little economic space that had been created was closed. The fanfare of liberalisation, commercialisation and privatisation blinded Zambians from the real economic banditry and looting that was going on.

Today, Zambians stand shocked at how little they now control of their economy. They are wondering as to why the economy is not creating wealth for the majority and helping to reduce poverty. They are questioning why quality jobs have become rare and unemployment has become an accepted condition. The answer is that a neoliberal economy at the periphery of capitalism is not designed to answer theses questions. Neo-liberal capitalism is the major cause of this tragedy.

As we celebrate the Independence Day, it is therefore important to take a deep reflection as to the solution. As a revolutionary political formation, the Socialist Party (SP) is cognizant that although economic independence has alluded us, what was achieved on the 24th October 1964 still has to be celebrated by all – including our growing numbers of young Zambian revolutionary cadres currently engaged in a conscience class struggle against neoliberal capitalism.
Today, as rightly observed by our Deputy General Secretary Cde Dr Fred M’membe, who is also the 2021 general elections Presidential Candidate, earlier in the year, “Zambia has a very serious problem of joblessness, which if not sorted out urgently might cause a lot of problems. Young people coming out of school can’t find jobs. There will be no jobs created by foreign investors no matter how many foreign investors are brought into the mining sector. Those armies of miners we used to have will never be seen again. Those jobs have been taken over by machines, excavators.” It is time, therefore, for the majority jobless young Zambians faced with this serious problem to seek a solution outside the capitalist system. Only this way is genuine independence based on Justice, Equity and Peace (JEP) possible.

Issued By: Comrade Cosmas Musumali/On Behalf of the Politburo