Opinion

Opinion: Does Socialism Still Have A Place In Our Current Political Dispensation?

By Blessings Kafwanka

I heard media guru Fred M’membe speaking for the first time on TV during the launch of the Socialist Party. I think he writes better than he speaks. However, he did a fantastic job in highlighting some of the challenges that Zambians are facing today despite the country being endowed with vast natural resources. My quick research on his socialist agenda revealed that socialist countries such as China, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Canada, Norway etc. are among the best performing economies with the highest standards of living in the world. They have some of the world’s best education, health care and welfare systems. Finland for example has a 100% literacy rate.

Socialism advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or controlled by the community as a whole. Most Socialists, but not all of them advocate for government ownership of industry and public services. This rings a bell in the minds of many Zambians that are familiar with the circumstances that led to the change of government in 1991 and the subsequent privatization of most of the State-owned companies.

Some of the challenges that Zambia Experienced in the mid 1980’s, including the debt crisis, were a direct result of inefficient State-owned enterprises (Parastatals) that were not meeting their objectives of engaging in business activity to generate revenues on behalf of the Zambian government. Most of them were making huge losses and were totally dependent on tax payer’s money for survival. Most of these companies were used by politicians to reward party cadres with jobs for their loyalty and support during elections. This culminated into Zambia becoming one of the most indebted nations in the world, relative to its gross domestic product (GDP). Kaunda moved into an understanding with the IMF in 1989 and a raft of austerity measures similar to what has been put in place by the PF government were implemented. The country’s urbanized population rioted in protest and two years down the line, in 1991, every Zambian knows what happened.

Zambia has since moved towards a capitalist economy though a few firms are still run by the State. The problems that were faced by most firms before the introduction of Capitalism still exists in Zambia today. Out of about 40 State-owned enterprises, less than 10 of them are profitable and paying dividends to the government. More than 75% of our parastatals are unprofitable and depend on tax payer’s money to stay afloat. Part of the high taxes Zambians are paying today are routed towards these companies. Unfortunately, an average Zambian does not understand the repercussions of government holding on to these companies. Any rumor about government’s intention to allow the private sector to take over perturbs the average Zambian. That’s why shutting down or privatizing some of these unprofitable companies is considered “Political suicide” by those in power.

Will Fred M’membe’s Socialist Party advocate for the reintroduction of nationalization or as it was more commonly known a few decades ago, Zambianisation? Perhaps he will advocate for the introduction of a “Socialist market economy” where the decisive means of production remain under state-ownership but state-owned enterprises are organized into corporations and allowed to operate like private capitalist firms. What strategies will he use to avoid the challenges that Zambia experienced in the mid 1980’s. Will he manage put Zambia on a trajectory to become one of the best performing economies with a good education, health care and welfare system like other socialist nations? Can the socialist policies that have worked in other developed countries still work in Zambia today? Well, we just have to keep our fingers crossed and wait to see what comrade Fred M’membe will bring on our Political landscape.

29 Comments

  1. No Comments Allowed

    M’membe is a hypocrite and a crook.

    He talks about the “evils” of capitalism while He made a fortune on adverts from government ministries and agencies that used to advertise in The Post – the reason he campaigned for PF in 2011. He also used PF under late President Sata to avoid paying taxes dues.

    Before all this He and Mutembo Nchito made money off the Chiluba cases and got a loan from DBZ they used to set up Zambian Airways that they failed to run. He married late Anderson Mazoka”s daughter just because of Andy”s stake in The Post.

    Anyone who thinks Mmembe can run this country purely out of public interest not his pocket and ego must by drinking the same whisky like Chagwa.

    Sadly this country is full of shallow-minded people that can easily be duped.

    P/S:
    The reason The Post had a very high staff turnover rate is SLAVE WAGES plus his autocratic leadership style. Dickson Jere and many others can confirm this fact.

    • Zondi

      You are correct about Fred using the late Michael Sata. He also used Levy Mwanawasa to lock up Chiluba simply because FTJ didn’t want to be his puppet. He also tried to use Wynter Kabimba in 2016. He also tried to use HH but reluctantly.

      You are also right about M’membe being autocratic and power hungry. This is common among most short people plus he is also part Lozi. Most Lozis have an arrogance about them just like Fred Imakando M’membe.

      However, he is cheating himself. Without The Post he is nothing. Kudos to ECL for closing his paper down.

      Fred will be a hard sell like Kabimba. He will just ending up sharing votes in Lusaka and CB with Kambwili, Kalaba, HH etc leaving ECL to win elsewhere apart from UPND strongholds. Let’s also be realistic. Kambwili, HH etc are too divisive to rule this country. ECL is by far better than all these including M’membe the puppet master.

      Cartel Reload.

      • Lipkwa

        You are a danger to the nation because of your tribal bigotry and unwarranted generalization.

  2. hasty

    Comment It is not about the form of govt that matters but the general citizenry attitude towards work and development.How many private owned companies have failed to run during capitalism,and currently ,the state of our economy?

  3. No Comments Allowed

    Read again.

  4. Raphael

    Before and after former president Titus Jacob Chiluba took over the responsibility of running government,

  5. Bo Sitali

    I hate this boy called Blessings Kafwanka. He always gives a shallow analysis of more complex issues just like Reuben Kamanga who thinks he is a soccer analysis when all he knows are debits and credits.

    A little education is always dangerous. You think you are pundit when in reality you just end up expose your ignorance.

    • Raphael

      Bo Sitali,an in depth analysis of the more complex issue here would be appreciated.

  6. Raphael

    Before and after former president Titus Jacob Chiluba took over the responsibility of running government,Zambia had a lot of state owned companies. Most if not all of these companies closed after privatization because the MMD government were in a hurry to turn the economy around. The privatization process should have been done over a number of years, in fact Zambia could have been carrying out that process slowly for over say a 100years like in Britain.

  7. ntamanyile

    Ba boss muli crook kwikalafye naimwe

  8. FGM

    Socialism is still viable. All that Zambia needs are learned leaders with a passion for the Zambian citizenry. UNIP put in leadership positions a lot of semi illiterates that paid more loyalty to the ruling party than to the ethics of their posts.

  9. Jms

    When reacting to s statement a nice person can not say bad word especially here in Zambia we are good people the answer is NO HE CAN’T. WHY their are so many things to tackle. Now changing from democracy to socialism is a ? mark we should be care full with these so called politicians just concentrate on your better parties as a party which puts education first because equilibrium will be every where

  10. Joseph

    Zambian Politicis, you can die with bp.

  11. The Lawyer

    So Fred is in the game of politics and hoping to over throw ( through the ballot) PF. A lot has been said already but let me qoute Prof. lumumba, ” Africans love to choose persons with power but no ideas, the Africans affinitive for person without ideas is amazing”
    Ilya inshita yakusala ngayapalamina, ninshi bailinganya kwati no pushi walokwa

    Come 2021_ it will b chipante pante!!

  12. Chan

    Bakalamba ikalenifye balikumanina

  13. Majory

    Its true,,,, banakwana kudala

  14. RealJohn

    That’s y for now, let’s not disturb some little positive development we are making. Let Zambians build Zambia today, and let’s do politicking in the year 2021. Give PF it’s term and let’s judge it when the proper time comes.

  15. Pcm

    Tell that man to apologize to the people of Zambia for the wrongs he did to the nation of Zambia.
    You can’t fool us any more.
    He thinks he will win and make more money to re open the post news paper and buy new trucks.
    No Zambian will trust you for anything.
    Don’t waste borrowed money from outsiders you will fail to pay back.
    Think thrice.

  16. Darliberito Sakala

    Another political movie has started in zambia. Yesterday it was kambwili, after amassing billions from the government he thinks he can win the next elections by forming a political party. Supposed you win ba kambwili do you think you will stand the pressure of running this country if you nearly died for only being locked for less than 5 hours in police cells. Go home and enjoy your mone. Now we have comrade Fred. Fred do you think you can win the Presidency in zambia? Forget it, what you are doing is splitting the vote and giving it to the pf on a silver plate. Why don’t just go to Cuba and enjoy your money, there are nice pleasure resorts there.

  17. ditto

    That party symbol will mislead many…

  18. jack daneils

    But ehe kwi kala fye u’re just splitting the votes , let the big dogs fight and don’t interfere ,cos u are just a cockroch

  19. Da Eve

    U can fool some people sometime but u can’t fool all the people everytime, mmembe the hypocrite what happened to the rainbow party & the other party u endorsed in 2015 general elections

  20. Kyakilika

    Don’t give projects to provinces calling pf corrupt let them wait for hh

  21. Tyne

    perhaps you bloggers you will do yourself justice by reading on ordoliberalism, neoliberalism and keynesianism in order to fully grasp kafwankas write up. The challenges we are currently experiencing in our country, the successes that have been attained so far since the shift to embracing capitalism may help you judge whether comrade Membe will make it or not. the fact is that there serious conditions for any political and economical model to successfully work. twenty seven years of socialism and and twenty seven years of capitalism, judge for yourself

  22. Pleito Solomon

    With the post paper reaching far and beyond the ends of Zambia sorry to hear that it is shut down for non payment of taxes now if its leader proved failure multi ka simple paper company nga bu President nishani? A total failure so mr mmembe you have already proved your inefficience stay home and plan for plan C by President awe.

  23. Prof chiwasa

    We are missing the point here
    Both economical systems can be just as effective as the other in resurrecting our economy but what matters here are the drivers of the country (government)
    If they have a passion to serve their land greater than that of their mouths the country would be ranked amongst the well to do ones
    The issue here lies with loyalty to Zambia not economic systems

  24. truth

    Sweden,China,Denmark,Finland,Norway are not socialist economies.

  25. truth

    Cuba,Venezuela and North Korea are socialist economies.Do not misinform people

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