By Faston Mwale
Dialectics teaches that “whatever goes up must come down”. This dialectical phenomenon is a fitting description of the present atrophic state of the Patriotic Front. But there is a socio-economic and political context to the rapidly declining relevance of the PF. Like the MMD, the PF was propelled to power by massive working class support. Today the story has drastically changed. The working class has yet again been short-changed. Truth be told, the PF has not only reneged on its promises to better the lives of the people but it has also betrayed the trust reposed in it by the great majority of the people. It would seem to many that the slogan “more money in your pocket” was a catch-phrase coined to delude the struggling masses.
Under the circumstances, it is obvious that the most difficult job today within the circles of the PF government is that of being the spokesperson. One has to constantly perfect the art of lying. But lies have short legs and creating misleading impressions can have severe consequences. Today there is widespread outrage against the PF. The common subject of conversation in markets, at bus-stops, workplaces, churches, social clubs, etc is almost invariably about how the PF has deserted the mission to lift the people out of poverty. About half the population is living in poverty while 40.8% of the population is trapped in the most extreme unimaginable forms of poverty. Given a Gini Coefficient score of 49.5%, Zambia is among the seven countries with the highest magnitude of inequalities in sub-Saharan Africa.
Aware of its fast declining popularity, the PF is reacting to this phenomenon in ways that are thoroughly disruptive of the established democratic processes and liberties. For example, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, freedom of association are among liberties that are under threat. Denying the opposition chance to organize and mobilize membership is becoming a common concern. The Socialist Party’s appeal to the Human Rights Commission to help sanitize the atrocious political atmosphere is commendable. Preventing other political players from engaging with the masses is a sign of fear of change, fear of defeat, fear of shame. Serious mistakes have already been made, there is virtually no need for the PF to create more blunders. They better learn from recent history and plan a gracious exit from power come 2021 rather than embarking on a belligerent course.
Time has come for the citizens to draw lessons from past political experiences. Oftentimes, the working masses are the ones who are used to propel ‘capitalist goons’ into government. The impoverishment that we suffer today, the violence we endure, the extra-legal forms of governance that we face and the greedy leadership that we have to put up with are offshoots of a global structural crisis of capitalism. Capitalism is not a system for the poor, it is a system that endorses social and income inequalities. It is a system that ‘soaks’ the poor to enrich the rich. The problems we are experiencing in Zambia are beyond the PF. The PF is simply a ‘trojan horse’ perpetuating exploitation, oppression and expropriation. The logic of capitalism is to exploit citizens.
The birth and coming of age of the Socialist Party heralds the arrival of a significant time for the working class to wage a decisive struggle against capitalism, a system that turns the labour of the many into wealth for a few. A time to resist and overcome all obstacles that prevent the flowering of our joy has dawned. The conception and eventual creation of the Socialist Party was a product of necessity to form and crystalize a workers’ party that would advance and save the interests of the working class. Socialism is about the unfettered access to healthcare, education, food and decent shelter, among others. The task of getting state power must never be subcontracted to other classes, this must be fulfilled by the working class itself.
Be wary, however, of the advocates of neoliberal projects who are using the popular language of the working class to dupe us. They are not of our class. Enough lessons have been learnt. It is now time to abash capitalism. Though It has been a long march in search of justice, equity and peace, our spirit to entrench socialism must never be broken. Socialism for us is not a slogan of convenience or a means to seek relevance and prominence, it is to us a practical deed to lift those lagging behind in the rat race of life under capitalism. The abysmal conditions under which the majority of us subsist today demand forging alliances with progressive forces of change, namely the students, peasants, academicians, social and political activists, such that our people would not again fall prey to predatory forces of oppression and exploitation. This is the only way to extricate ourselves from the tyranny of capitalism.
What Zambia needs is an incorruptible leadership that is not motivated by a lust for material goods, nor fame nor prestige and comrade Fred M’membe provides such leadership. He is an all-round person with a strong disposition to be of service to the people. Zambia and Zambians stand to benefit from his formidable progressive politics of change.
The Author is a Political Pedagogical Coordinator belong to the Socialist Party led by Fred M’membe