The attacks on President Lungu’s quickly begotten wealth by politicians that preach capitalism are hypocritical. These critics will not be different if voted into power. It is not the plight of poor Zambian workers, peasants, students and other marginalised majority of our population that drives them into politics. It is rather their insatiable greed for wealth and power – an attribute they commonly share with president Lungu. Depicting President Lungu as if he was the only desperado and his critics were angels occupying a moral high ground is tantamount to pretence of the worst type.
In an underdeveloped, neo-liberal capitalist society like ours, influence over and direct access to state resources is the most viable and quickest option for the self-enrichment of the local petty bourgeoisie. The relationship that arises is parasitic: With this horde of “tenderpreneurs” and “politicalpreneurs” endlessly feasting on public revenue and assets. We saw this under the Fredric Chiluba, Levy Mwanawasa, Rupiah Banda, Michael Sata and Edgar Lungu governments. There has been no exception to this parasitic behaviour. It is in the nature of the capitalist system as manifested under conditions of underdevelopment and a weak state. Even those few politicians that initially genuinely want to serve the masses end up being co-opted in the looting. It is this potential to get rich fast that is attracting all of them to participate in politics.
I agree that the declarations of wealth by President Lungu raise a lot of questions. The critics are also justified in insinuating a possibility of underreporting. However, we should not be blinded to the fact that the “get rich fast” mentality is in all of these advocates of an exploitative system. Only through the discipline and commitment of a socialist Zambia can our homeland be freed from the parasitic leadership we have come to endure for 25 years. Socialism is about equity. And equity is not possible where a ruling clique’s main objective is to get rich fast by stealing public resources.