Ambassador Sketchley Sachika’s arguments are very welcome, but they strengthen our cause against politics without convictions and firm commitments to the workers, peasants and the poor of this country.
Politics, at least from our socialist perspective, is about ensuring equitable access to education, quality health care, affordable nutritious food, decent housing, a clean environment and well-paying jobs in a society that accords highest priority to the masses and not to a tiny, parasitic elite. If politics had to be relegated to “a game of shifting sands with undefined rules of engagement”, in whose interest is such a game played? Where is the commitment and conviction to a cause? On what basis should the masses of our people take such political actors seriously?
Coming to the issue of Alliances, a good example of the ANC and SACP in South Africa is used but erroneously interpreted: South African communists were present and active in the ANC since its formation in 1912. “The Freedom Charter” was a minimalist programme under which the communists could comfortably operate. They went on to exercise dual membership in both parties throughout the decades. Joe Slovo and Chris Hani were communists and yet commanders of the ANC armed wing, Umkhoto we Sizwe. The respective combatants trained together, fought side by side and overtime developed a rare historical bond that saw them bring an end to apartheid as a united force. It was not an alliance formed overnight, and not one done by politicians seeking jobs in a new government.
It is also apparent that the arguments advanced are a veiled propaganda for the UPND. For the Rainbow Party, the August elections cannot just be about removing the PF from office. The elections are about doing away with the corruption, decadency and mass poverty of the capitalist system in our homeland. It is neo-liberal capitalism that is the enemy our people – President Lungu and the PF, just like the UPND and the other political parties, are merely competing to outdo each other in cementing neo-liberal capitalism.
Stating that Zambia is not a capitalist country is masking the obvious. What is the aim of doing that? Why deny that Zambia and the African continent have been at the mercy of capitalism for over 500 years? How can the underdevelopment of Zambia today be divorced from the exploitation it has been subjected to for centuries? Our mineral resources continue to enrich capitalists and their metropole centres, our forests are being decimated on a daily basis, our peasant contract farmers are hardly getting what is due to them from multinational companies, our workers continue to toil and be treated like slaves in their own country, and a tiny elite lives very comfortable and arrogant lifestyles – so if this is not capitalism, what is it then?
In our understanding UNIP was not socialist. It was a nationalist party that fought for Zambian independence. It did indeed set up state enterprises. Mr Andrew Sardanis, the architect of parastatals in Zambia rightly wrote in one of his books that this was “state capitalism” and not at all socialism. Who were the socialists in the UNIP leadership? Can you run a socialist government without a critical mass of socialist leaders and cadres? Can we describe Mr. Humphrey Mulemba, onetime Secretary General, as a socialist? Yes, UNIP floated with some socialist political rhetoric, but the Zambian economy was not socialistic. Anglo American, LONRHO and other multinationals continued to control the “nationalised economy” and siphoned out more profits from our country than even under the colonial government.
The creation of technocracy, which is being advanced, does not happen in a vacuum. Technocratic solutions cannot be random. They need a thread that holds them together – a framework ideology. This is what the Rainbow Party has done. It offers, in its Social and Economic Programme, concrete technocratic solutions within a socialist framework. We are ahead of all other political parties in this domain. We need this depth, because we are selling ideas. The rest do not need to deal with ideas – theirs is a mere quest for power to continue the exploitation and subjugation of our people.