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.
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