Halfway through Hichilema’s govt, it’s clear he has betrayed millions of poor Zambians; he must be removed from govt by them!- Azwell Banda

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Azwell Banda

Halfway through Hichilema’s government, it’s clear he has betrayed millions of poor Zambians; he must be removed from government by them!

By Azwell Banda

There is no “democracy” in a country of 20 million people in which 2 million of them suffer acute starvation.

There is no “democracy” to “shrink” in a country in which 9 out of every 10 able bodied citizens who urgently need formal employment cannot find it. There is no “democracy” to vandalise in a country in which 8 out of every 10 citizens in rural areas are poor. There is absolutely no “democracy” to talk about in a country in which 6 out of every 10 citizens countrywide are poor. “Democracy” is not an end in itself; it is a means to secure a decent, free and happy life, for the majority!

It is sick and perverted to talk about “democracy” in a country in which millions of children in rural areas “learn” in inferior schools not fit for the 21st Century. There is no “democracy” in a country in which government clinics and hospitals are largely referral centres to private pharmacies, and stepping stones into the nearest cemetery and grave. “Democracy” is not periodic and regular cholera epidemics which kill the poor. When the majority of the citizens of any country cannot afford the most basic staple food such as maize meal for nshima, it is plane lunacy to talk about “democracy”.

When hundreds of thousands of young people have filled, to overflowing, remand centres and prisons because they cannot find work, and they commit crimes to live; only idiots talk about “democracy” in such a country. No ruling class is fit to rule which denies a life rich with employment and economic opportunities, to the majority of its citizens. Such a ruling class, by failing to sustain the lives of the majority of its citizens, commits political suicide and deserves to be removed from government, by whatever means necessary. Political self-defence is a natural political right to all people who are ruled by a cold and insensitive clique of political hooligans and kleptomaniacs, who do not care about the suffering and misery of the majority of citizens.

In opposition, Hichilema boasted his rich mining friends were waiting for him to become president, and they would unleash massive investments in our mining sector, and jobs and prosperity would follow. Half way through his term of office, Hichilema has drastically reduced Zambia’s tax revenues from our mines, reduced our share of ownership of large copper mines, and handed over some of our mines to foreigners who have insulted, humiliated and abandoned us, when we once needed them the most. Thus, he has collapsed the value of the kwacha, against foreign currencies. Meanwhile Hichilema is actually hiking taxes for poor Zambians!

Dangerously, almost halfway through his government, Hichilema has not resolved, meaningfully, the crises in our mining sector where chaos, rampant illegal mining, illegal export of minerals, unsafe and dangerous mining activities and all sorts of criminal shenanigans some involving his ministers, reign supreme. When in opposition, Hichilema promised many things, to all our Zambian miners and their families: easy and cheap financing, new investments, new mining technologies, safe mining, licences, jobs, jobs, jobs and more jobs, especially in mining and mining value chains.

More than two years into Hichilema’s only term of office, we have a continuation of unsafe mining leading to injuries, deaths and more unsafe mining. Millions of Zambians on the Copperbelt have sunk into untold suffering as Hichilema has procrastinated resolving the problems in the mining sector. It is now patently clear the delays were caused by Hichilema himself looking to secure his share of mining profits and benefits: only this explains why Vedanta, for example, has returned to KCM. No sane Zambian would celebrate the return of Anglo-American money back into Zambia’s mining sector. They have once abandoned us, and Kabwe testifies to how uncaring they are, about Zambians’ lives.

Cruelly, Hichilema lied to young Zambians who survive on illegal mines, mine dumps, and small artisanal mines. Even before he could properly finish his half term, the gods have reminded him that he is a dangerous liar: we will now never know how many miners have been buried alive at Senseli Mine in Chingola. Hichilema has not told us the name of the mine safety and rescue experts his government hired to help rescue and recover the bodies of the buried miners.

On his visit to the now “grave yard” Hichilema was happy to smile and take selfies with his equally selfish admirers. He lied “God would save some of the lives of the miners”. It was not for God to save any miners; we needed world class mine rescue teams to save any of the lives of the buried alive miners. To his grave, the blood of the perished miners at Senseli Mine will follow him.

It is plain banditry when a rumoured rich president of a country refuses to make public, regularly, how he makes his money. It is the highest form of public mockery when such a forgery of a president pretends to be a fighter against corruption. Meanwhile, Hichilema has attacked poor street venders, destroyed their stalls and merchandise and removed them from the streets. In opposition he promised not to remove street vendors from the streets, at least without first securing their livelihoods. He is hounding his opposition by attacking their private property. He refuses to publish the sources of his wealth.

Hakainde Hichilema boasted when in the opposition that he had the solution to our mountain of debt. Against all advice, he chose the evil IMF route. Half way through his term of office, it is clear the IMF route punishes the majority of Zambia’s poor in order for the government of Hichilema to receive IMF support in his efforts to make Zambia’s debt “sustainable” for our creditors.

It is pure unadulterated evil to punish millions of poor Zambians for the sins in government, of our corrupt and thieving political elites who, like Hichilema, thrive on corruption, debt, and foreign money. This behaviour has no relationship to “democracy”. It is evil, undemocratic and dictatorial: it punishes the poor in Zambia for the sins of our elites in government, on behalf of their foreign masters.

Every sensible person with an ounce of economic sense knows that the IMF acts always to protect the wealth, money and finance capital of the rich in the West, headed by the US. The methods of the IMF rest on a simple principle: transfer the cost of the failures of the global capitalist and imperialist system onto the world working class and the poor, especially the rural poor. Our own experience after 1991 best proves the operations of this evil IMF principle.

Hakainde Hichilema’s famed wealth was derived from the blood, sweat and tears of Zambia’s working class and poor rural farmers who together build the mines and everything else that Hakainde and his friends “privatised”, and grew wealthy upon. We all know this. This is the IMF way: rob the masses and punish them, while rewarding the capitalists and their parasites, including the consultants and officials who work at the IMF. Meanwhile, portray this as being in the best interests of the struggling working class and poor rural masses.

The grim record of this “noble” IMF work is on full display, globally: no poor country has ever been sustainably rescued from mass poverty, general immiseration, and conscious underdevelopment, by the IMF! It sinks poor countries deeper into poverty.
The IMF, World Bank, and World Trade Organisation are the guardians, the custodians, the vanguards of the world dictatorship of finance capital. It is their mission to protect the rich, and how the rich make their money and grow their wealth: they are not organisations to lift neo-colonial states out of their poverty, which poverty in fact has been historically crafted by the rich West. Hichilema was warned about all this, and he ignored the advice. Today, barely halfway through his reign, Hichilema has added more than 800,000 Zambians to the 1.3 million or so Zambians who were facing acute hunger when he got into government.

Meanwhile, Hichilema has turned the Government of the Republic of Zambia into a tax feeding scheme for his rich foreign friends who have mines in Zambia, who run hotels and other tourist businesses, who sell fertilisers and seeds to the government, who sell medicines and medical supplies to government, who sell electricity to the government, who export our maize, and so on. We are now all too familiar of the scandals by the ministers of Hichilema’s government and other top UPND officials. We have heard how a top UPND official confessed to being offered free shares in a mine. The UPND government is already proven to be more corrupt than the PF government.

And so, no, Hichilema is not “shrinking” any “democratic space” for the millions of Zambians who among them, gave him the majority of votes which made him safely defeat Edgar Chagwa Lungu, and form government. For these Zambians, “democracy” is a means to secure food, water, paraffin, petrol, diesel, transport, rent, housing, seeds and fertilisers, employment, economic opportunities, quality government services including schools, universities, clinics and hospitals. “Democracy” is not an end in itself, as it is for our corrupt elites and their hangers on. “Democracy” for the poor millions of Zambians is a weapon to secure a full, decent and free life.

Hichilema has spat on these millions of poor Zambians whom he now calls lazy, drunkards, of wrong mindsets, corrupted by cheap things from government, and more insultingly, conditioned by the PF to live on handouts and so on. Hichilema is laughing at the millions of hungry poor Zambians and advising them to become farmers. For these millions of Zambians, “democracy” is not “shrinking” in Zambia: Hichilema stole their votes, he has betrayed them, he has killed their “democracy”. Now he mocks their hunger and poverty, the very things he promised to resolve for them. And yet, Zambia’s poor millions are the true creators of wealth and suppliers of food. It is time for a new politics, a politics of genuine “democracy”, the “democracy” of the working class and the rural poor. Hichilema has betrayed the Zambian poor masses who put him in government, he must be removed from government, by them. May 2024 be a decisive and happier year for the millions of poor Zambians.

Send comments to: banda.azwell@gmail.com

(The Mast)

14 COMMENTS

  1. Lesson 1 to Group 3

    Problems in a country are not caused by one man but a group of people and external forces.

    Lesson 2 Group 3

    Problems in a country are as a result of many years of mismanagement. Mismanagement of one or two years cannot suddenly translate to a poor economy unless there’s a devastating war.

  2. What Democratic space when you can say all you can with no restraint. Just say you’re not part of the team and they hàve not engaged you in any way.
    As a result, you feel ignored and want to be seen to be relevant.

  3. I beg to disagree, there are so many opportunities for people, especially those in rural areas to get out of poverty! Don’t expect a President to get you out of poverty, work! Find things to do to make money. We have foreigners coming here with nothing and going out rich while we sit back and expect the President to do “tantameni”, those days are long gone!! Even if we vote him out, we still need to use our brains and hands to get out of poverty!!

  4. This miseducated self-hater is blinded by deep hatred!
    Hatred is a contagious disease and the unsuspecting small minds end up getting afflicted!
    This Economy Zambians are going through is the REAL Economy! Forget about the debt-sustained PF Economy! It was fake!
    Yes, there was money in circulation, borrowed money! We as a country borrowed for consumption instead of investing in productive ventures! We borrowed carelessly without putting a repayment plan in place!
    Even at personal level, when you borrow, make sure the money you borrowed earns it’s own money to pay off the loan! And make sure sure you don’t borrow from Shylocks but from reputable lending institutions! That’s what banks are there for!
    So PF borrowed carelessly with no repayment plan in place!
    We have already defaulted on the first Eurobond that was due in 2022!
    Another Eurobond is due for full repayment this 2024 and we don’t have the money to repay that! Another Eurobond is due for full repayment in 2027!
    Sadly, ABC, Miles Sampa and ECL are the people who put us in this mess even if they still want to deny responsibility for this pregnancy of debt they put the poor country in!
    It’s very easy to look smart and to eat T-bone every day when Kaloba money is still available! When it runs dry, you go back to Beans!
    This is where we are with the leftover effects of debt! We have to eat beans now under UPND because reality has come! We have to pay back debt!
    Gone are the PF T-bone days that were artificially backed by Kaloba money!
    The “Kongola Twibe” Ubomba Mwibala gang of ECL behaves like Kasebanya shetani!
    They will lead you into the problem and start blaming you!
    Instead of appreciating the tireless efforts going into cleaning up the PF mess, the same PF want to blame the people who are doing a great job of cleaning up the Economic mess left behind!
    A wise borrower does not borrow in order to repay the debt from their pocket or salary! This is the tragedy of most civil servants I counsel on heavy indebtedness!
    A smart borrower does not borrow for consumption! You don’t borrow to buy items that don’t generate income to help repay the loan!
    PF was using debt money to pay salaries for civil servants! Is that sustainable?
    A wise borrower has an immediate plan to start generating a new income stream to repay the debt! That way, your salary remains yours and the loan repays itself without you going into a debt squeeze where you surrender your entire salary to repay Kaloba creating a vicious cycle of having to look for other borrowing sources to meet your basic needs!
    This is where Zambia had reached under PF!
    Over 90% of what PF was collecting in taxes was going towards debt repayments and paying salaries, leaving less than 10% for social spending, buying drugs, etc!
    This is the reason we were plagued by shortages of medicines and other supplies in health facilities!
    Without the IMF Deal (which PF lamentably failed to achieve for lack of accountability), and if PF had remained in power beyond 2021, Zambia’s REAL Economy would have been much worse!
    Our exchange rate would have gone the Zimbabwe route and we would have probably been at K60 to a USD by now and sliding further!
    This Kwacha slide is something expected looking at the situation we are in. If it was not for the renewed good will following change of government, life would have become much worse! A lot of Civil servants would have been retrenched to reduce the wage bill. We would be having fuel shortages and escalating cost of living at a much worse rate than we are currently experiencing!
    The worst hit in this Economy are those who are entirely dependent on the government for their survival, those who are entirely dependent on a debt burdened monthly salary without any side hustle to fall back on!
    Fortune favours those who are willing to get their hands dirty! 99 Jobs!
    These will never suffer no matter how hard things get!
    So, those who are agitating for the removal of a Democratically elected president must tread carefully lest they put themselves in treasonous situations they will find hard to get out of! When trouble knocks on your door, you will be on your own!
    The President has a 5 year mandate!
    Judge him fairly after his mandate runs it’s course! Bola ni 90 minutes!
    Ngati Njala yakunyokola mambala, uleke ulesi!
    Waulesi asadye!

  5. If you are wired to criticise HH there is nothing we can do for you sir.
    HH has done everything humanely possible to dig us out of the PF mess and if zambians will now heed his call for hard work we will be set for future progress.
    Bwana let’s face it
    He is restructuring pf debt
    He has employed thousands of civil servants
    Has manged to pay all retired civil servants
    Has increased CDF
    The mines are almost back to life soon
    The infrastructure in rural areas springing up
    And you come with your funny theories HH has failed??
    We can’t do anything for you sir if you hate Him.For now u are stuck with him accept it!!lol

  6. Ignore As well. He is being kept by a friend in RSA. He went during Chiluba’s reign. Begged to be allowed in as a political refugee taking advantage of Kaunda’s persecution by Chiluba. So that is Aswell’s story. A coward to the core!!!! A typical chancer. Maybe he now wants to go to the USA.

  7. Ba Azwell, what does the democracy of the working class and rural poor look like? You have highlighted the challenges but offered nothing in terms of solutions.

    If you are talking of the government taking over the mines, we all know what the end result will be because we have been there before during the UNIP days. Just look at Zesco and Zamtel, how are they performing as 100% government owned entities? How much are they contributing to the national treasury?

    Ba Azwell, donot build castles in the air. Nothing other than smart, hard work can get out of the economic rut dug by the PF government with their “pro poor” policies, a euphemism for Kleptomania.

  8. Si kupusa chabe uku, the match is at half time, ati the team has failed. Which poor people are you talking about? HH has given more money to the people more than any of the past presidents. During PF more money was stollen more than what went to the people for development. What’s your constituency? Go there and see for yourself the development which is there. Poor old people are given social cash transfer while young poor people are given grants, loans and are given skills to improve their entrepreneurship. So which people has HH betrayed and what has he failed to do?

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