Food; just like air, water and warmth; is a critical need for the sustenance of life. Our country is ranked the third hungriest in the world. By implication, the majority of our people have no access to adequate food. We are a country of hungry people.
Getting access to adequate, nutritious food is therefore not a matter of choice for the majority Zambians. They yearn for it. However, the capitalist system they have been subjected to is not designed to produce food to sustain lives. It is for profit maximisation. You eat only when you have money to buy the food; without the required purchasing power you will have to starve.
This is the crude logic of our capitalist inspired food production and distribution system. (more…)
Even before the Chilanga elections were held, it was apparent that innocent people were going to be attacked, harassed, abused and their civil liberties infringed upon. The expected violence truly materialised. Journalists were brutally attacked and threatened with death. Ordinary citizens were brutalised.
In this aftermath, Zambians are traumatised by the senseless violence emanating especially from the PF. The other petty bourgeois political parties do not want to be left behind. Rhetoric and counter-accusations aside, they are all violent. It is the same people, applying similar methods and the lives of ordinary Zambians have become mere collateral damage.
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva changed the face of Brazil during his stay in office from 2003 to 2011. Tens of millions of Brazilians moved out of poverty; children from humble backgrounds increasingly entered into universities that were for centuries a preserve of a small elite. The socialist inspired reforms catapulted the Brazilian economy to become the 5th largest in the world.
However, this success was a bitter pill to swallow for the entrenched bourgeois oligarchy. Brazil was not the example that the capitalist world wanted to see. Socialism had been declared dead and the capitalist hegemony celebrated. The Brazilian project had to be halted, just in case it became inspirational to hundreds of the poverty stricken countries languishing under neo-liberal capitalism. It was a bad example in a capitalist system that survives on greed and the perpetuation of poverty in the periphery countries.
For two months now, Lula is incarcerated – and I am standing some meters away from his prison cell in the 3-million city of Curitiba. Thousands of people are chanting and demanding his release. A vigil involving hundreds of supporters is held each night – enduring cold temperatures that go up to zero degrees Celsius. I want to add my voice to the chants and possibly also endure the freezing, cold temperatures.
The military coup in Zimbabwe is not a solution to the long years of despair and misery of the Zimbabwean masses. It is rather a product of a power struggle between factions of a greedy, corrupt and ruthless ZANU PF ruling elite – of which the top brass of the army is part of.
Over the years, Robert Mugabe and the clique surround him have shamelessly exploited the liberation struggle credentials to enrich themselves and hold the working masses captive. Of course the imperialist forces, in their bid to continue the economic enslavement of Zimbabwean workers and peasants, unleashed an economic embargo and global media campaign to ostracise the country.
Their mouthpieces such as the MDC did what was necessary within the country. The end result was a Zimbabwean economy that is not capable of sustaining the basic needs of the average citizen. Over three million citizens opted to migrate out of the country. The loss of social capital was immense. Productivity sunk drastically in all major sectors of the economy – pushing poverty levels to as high as 72%.
The PF government is not committed to fiscal consolidation. It was apparent almost three years ago that decisive fiscal measures were urgently required to stabilise the economy. However, political expediency ruled out any timely intervention.
Despite mounting exogenous shocks due to the fall of copper prices, the PF fiscal policy remained laxly. Instead of a fiscal consolidation, reckless spending, funded through enhanced borrowing, became the norm.
A corruption ridden infrastructure rehabilitation programme was implemented without recourse to the changing and dire economic situation the economy had found itself in. The appetite for luxurious and unnecessary spending went unchecked. So did the parasitic relationship of the ruling elite on the state coffers.