The withdrawal of student meal allowances by the PF Government hits the last nail on the coffin for tertiary education. The Zambian public education system has been under constant attack and neglect since the triumph of neoliberal capitalism in1991. It has not been accorded high priority in investment. As a result, it suffers from poor infrastructure, has dilapidated laboratories and libraries, and is run by mostly demotivated and neglected teachers. Even for “Third World” standards, our public education is miserable and shameful.
The brand of capitalism imposed on Zambian society is one that does not value universal education, more especially the access to tertiary education by the poor. The withdrawal of meal allowances for students is tantamount to blocking students from poor families from accessing tertiary educational and by design availing it only to the small elite that is able to meet the cost. The withdrawal of meal allowances is also a crude political attempt meant to stifle any critical thinking amongst the student populace – implicitly blackmailing students and compromising their academic freedom. (more…)
The political violence the people of Zambia are subjected to is tolerated, facilitated and encouraged by the actions and behaviour of those wielding state power. The violence is, however, still at a level where state institutions could quickly and decisively stop it – if it were not for their compliance.
The brutal beating of opposition party cadres, journalists, school children and stripping of women experienced last Saturday is just the beginning of worse things to come. It will get out of hand as we come closer to the Election Day. The aim is to intimidate and subdue the opposition political parties and all disserting views and create an environment under which the PF’s chances of wining the August 11 elections are enhanced.
Violence is therefore being systematically employed as a tool to win elections.
As socialists, we are not naïve about our stand on violence. We do not regard violence as a matter of principle to be supported or opposed. Violence is a mere tool, that is, a means to an end and can be used by anyone. It is critical to examine who is using it and for what. (more…)
Specialised treatment abroad will remain a thorny economic and moral issue under the neo-liberal economic system Zambia inherited in 1991. Specialised treatment abroad serves as a safety valve for those influential in society to access first world health services without the pressure to strengthen the country’s health system. It is therefore one of the mechanisms perpetuating class inequity whilst taking away the incentive to radically transform the Zambian health system.
The same parliamentarians surprised by the irrational nature of our specialised treatment abroad have in the past given approval to annual budgets that undermined the Zambian health system. They have not stood by the health workers in their daily struggle for a better living wage and better health facilities. They have not been decisive in tackling the inequity of specialised treatment abroad. In other words, just like the executive, the Zambian legislature has failed the Zambian masses over the past 25 to 30 years! (more…)
The debt of the Zambian Mission in London is reflective of a dysfunctional administrative system in our country. It is a problem the PF government inherited but possesses neither the will nor the capacity to change the situation. High levels of debt and maladministration have become characteristic of all government agencies in and outside the country and the London Mission is not an exception.
In the absence of strict fiscal discipline, budgets and their execution have become a mere ritual with no resemblance to the actual running of government. Those entrusted to run our Missions abroad have at times received less than a third of what they need to effectively represent this country. It is a situation that makes the efficient and effective management of the Missions impossible. (more…)
Poverty levels in Zambia will remain high after the 2016 elections and for years to come if the current neo-liberal capitalist system is not changed. Our prevailing economic order is primarily designed for maximization and repatriation of profits by big foreign investors and allows – to a lesser extent – some limited space for domestic capital accumulation. Workers, peasants and the poor are incidental under this arrangement – they are not and will never be the primary focus of this economic system. Zambians can vote out the PF government on the 11th August 2016, but should not expect poverty levels to change if the underlying economic system remains intact. The poverty of the Zambian masses has more to do with structural exclusion from participating in their own economy and less with the prospects for macro-economic stability or GDP growth. (more…)