By Fred M’membe President of the Socialist Party
Since Mr Hakainde Hichilema lives for praise, he will probably welcome the cheap propaganda of an epic scale from his fellow puppets of the Brenthurst Foundation in the Zimbabwean opposition who are praising him for allegedly turning around Zambia’s economy. The reality is that there is literally no money circulating in this economy, the cost of living is at its highest in decades, the country’s external debt has increased by about $2 billion in just one year of his leadership, and the prices of essential commodities – fuel, electricity, bread, mealie meal, transport, etc – remain unbearably high for the majority of Zambians.
Yes, foreigners operating in Zambia are happy with Mr Hichilema because he has ‘reduced or lowered the cost of doing business’, which is a euphemism for saying that they are happy because they can now freely loot Zambia’s natural resources in the extractive sector on the cheap. Yes, the Brenthurst Foundation and their puppets in Zimbabwe (led by Nelson Chamisa), Uganda (Bob Wine), Tanzania (Zitto Kabwe) and the other one whose inauguration they all went to attend in Lesotho yesterday may be proud of one of their own, as birds of a feather flock together.
Let foreigners, the puppet masters and the puppeteers know however that the poor in Zambia are not proud of the leadership of this puppet of the Brenthurst Foundation because the cost of living has continued to rise, under his watch, beyond the reach of many. The President that the masses of our people thought would lift them out of their conditions of degrading poverty has forsaken them for imperialist and transnational corporations’ interests. The President they thought would appoint professional and experienced permanent secretaries to run the civil service has filled the public service, as he has done with the diplomatic service, with inexperienced and partisan officials. The President they thought would never retire any civil servant in public interest is doing the same thing he condemned when done by his predecessor.
The President they thought would promote equality in public appointments is prioritising people from one region, the same thing he criticised when done by his predecessor. The President they thought would not condone corruption is ignoring the corruption involving members of his inner circle and those who helped him ascend to power now caught up in fertiliser scandals. Anyway, he is a businessman still in business and doing business through all sorts of fronts! He is certainly part of the corruption going on. He cannot escape it.
The President they thought would abolish the anti-democracy laws on cyber security and defamation of the president now defends these pieces of legislation and sees nothing wrong in having ordinary people sent to jail for years with hard labour for violating the same laws that were used against him and those in civil society who are now part of his choir of praise. The President they thought would never abuse state institutions such as the Electoral Commission of Zambia, the judiciary, the Zambia intelligence and security services, and the Anti Corruption Commission is now doing the same things he condemned in opposition when done by his predecessor: abusing these institutions to manipulate elections and fix his political opponents. The President they thought would appoint a set of independent-minded advisors and a Cabinet of competent people with whom he governs as a team or collective has surrounded himself with the worst possible sycophantic advisors, none of whom is tellingly older than him, and has turned out to be a conceited narcissist who overshadows his ministers and hardly gives them a leeway to exercise their responsibilities with greater individual agency and freedom.
In short, the President they thought would serve their interests with devotion has instead prioritised the interests of imperialists, transnational corporations, foreigners and neglected the plight of the average Zambian, whom he mocks nearly everyday with hollow hymns of self-congratulations whenever he speaks to Zambians directly, through his agents or via social media pages, or by using foreign proxies to praise him in international outlets or publications. And this growing, cheap and disgusting propaganda of painting a rosy picture of Zambia for the purpose of creating a false positive impression abroad about the state of the country’s economy and democracy today, can fool uninformed and unsuspecting outsiders who lack access to alternative sources of economic and political realities here. But this propaganda by the President and his agents will not sway the hardworking but suffering masses of our people who are living in this hell of a punishing economy. It won’t sway the political opposition who have to grapple with the adverse effects of his nauseating hypocrisy of saying one thing in public and doing the opposite in private. It won’t sway the masses of our people who now understand that the man is clueless and probably thought running a country is as easy as procuring business deals to supply this and that commodity or service. Ordinarily, we would have said the ability to acquire power does not entail an ability to prudently exercise it, but Mr Hichilema clearly acquired State power with two primary goals: to promote his extensive business interests using public office and serve as a midwife for foreign capital to have a free hand in pillaging Zambia’s resources – of course for a personal benefit. The rest, including lifting millions out of poverty through a transformative agenda that is matched by the design and implementation of radical policies and actions, is secondary if not irrelevant.
In fact, those in power today are simply deceiving themselves with these fake messages they are channeling to outsiders that things are okay in Zambia. Life is unbearably hard for most people in our homeland but we have a leadership in power that is living in its own bubble, that believes its own lies that it has transformed the country for the better, that only listens to white people and that has insatiable appetite for praise – praise from itself, from elements in civil society who have now hired themselves as image builders and attack dogs for those in power today. Anyway, let them keep on lying to themselves that things are okay. Time for reckoning will soon come.
We have a message to Mr Hichilema: if the Americans, the European Union, the foreign mining corporations operating in our homeland and the representatives of the Western establishment in Zambia (diplomats, IMF and World Bank officials, etc) are falling on each other praising your leadership while the poor average Zambians who elected you to power are constantly complaining, then know that you have betrayed your country and the masses of our people – you are a sell out, a Judas Iscariot, an imperialist puppet, lackey. These foreigners who are misleading you with self-serving praise because you are serving their interests are not the ones who put you in power. Mr Hichilema, it is not too late to do the right thing, to take a step back and listen to your critics and opponents. Change your attitude and growing habit of only listening to white people. You will not be able to run this country on your own or by relying on the inexperienced people you have surrounded yourself with. And if you think you have many years remaining before the next election, think again: only two years essentially remain because you will be campaigning for much of 2025 and 2026. Sit down, define the mission, purpose and vision of your presidency, and show a bit of faith in the capacity of our people, including those in the civil service, as opposed to subcontracting the making of policy and running of our country to foreigners.
To the vast unreedemeed masses and poor of our homeland, we have a message for you: please do not despair. It gets dark sometimes but the morning comes. It is just a matter of time before you liberate yourselves from this failed and costly experiment of pro imperialist leadership. As explained in greater detail in our party Manifesto, we will implement a radical transformative programme that secures maximum returns from Zambia’s natural wealth for investment in our people and other industries such as agriculture, the arts and manufacturing. With your support, we in the Socialist Party pledge to rescue you and Zambia from this puppet of imperialists, this puppet of transnational corporations, this puppet of imperial Anglo’s Brenthurst Foundation, this puppet of foreigners.
In 2026, it is Zivotele!