SOCIALIST Party (Zambia) General Secretary Dr Cosmas Musumali says 2019 will be a year of resistance, a year of the revolution.
Dr Musumali also says last year was very tough for people especially the ordinary fending for themselves.
“For SP, for the Socialist Party, we feel the main fight is against the failures of capitalism, it’s a system that hasn’t delivered to our people for so many years and it won’t definitely deliver in 2019,” he said. “Joblessness is going to increase, inflationary pressures are going to increase and any wealth that is created in Zambia is going to be consumed or is going to accrue mostly to the already rich people. And this is not going to change, it’s going to be enhanced.”
Dr Musumali said the richer would get richer and the poor would remain poorer under capitalist Zambia.
“And as a party, we stand firm behind the suffering masses, behind the working people of this country. We will do our part to agitate, we will do our part to stand firm for the masses and against the exploitative and repressive tendencies of the current government,” he said. “It’s going to be a year of struggle, but we also think that with our combined forces, it is going to produce positive results. By the end of the year, that movement towards peace, towards equity, towards justice will gain in strength. It will give Zambians the confidence that they can be masters of their destiny and that Zambia can be a better society…. So 2019 may also produce some bit of resistance from our people. As the suffering increases there is a good chance that people are going to go out on the street to vent out their anger. With that, there is also a possibility of much more repression as the government becomes insecure and unstable. That’s how we get into 2019, it’s going to be a year of resistance, a year of the revolution.”
On political players and alternatives, Dr Musumali did not see much change.
“What we are witnessing in Zambia is a proliferation of opposition political parties that do not have a different agenda from that of government,” he said. “These are capitalist political parties that are repositioning themselves; these find the leadership of the PF and government weak and they are vying for positions not necessarily that they are doing it for the betterment of Zambians but they see their chances to get into power, come 2021. That’s the dilemma that we find ourselves in, in the political sphere in Zambia. And the troubles of 2019 are going to be a huge reflection of this dilemma.”
As a means of pacifying political tensions, Dr Musumali expects to see some attempts towards national dialogue taking place as the situation becomes critical.
“We will most likely see certain parties such as the church coming in and trying to bring in some bit of sanity,” he said. “We do appreciate those efforts, we will support those efforts but we are skeptical that the current government has the willingness, the capacity and the commitment to changing the situation. It’s a political elite that has come into power using violence and if it doesn’t use violence, what else has it got to offer? It’s an elite that continues to use the buying of people, misusing government resources…. It’s parasitic on public funding and this is a culture that it cannot just easily stop. But as it tries to re-assert itself, there will be contradictions within those that are in power and there will be some form of opposition within the leading party itself or the ruling party itself but that should not be judged as a measure of increased democracy and transparency in Zambia.”
Dr Musumali said if anything, it was a measure of a failing elite – failing in terms of providing to the Zambians.
“Then it becomes insecure and starts fighting itself. Not necessarily that those that are fighting the current government have got much or better to offer, no! Definitely not,” he stressed.
And reviewing 2018, Dr Musumali said it was not an easy year.
“Things have been rather difficult for the average Zambian. The little bit of democratic space that was gained earlier on has been lost in that year and the hope is becoming less that 2019 is going to be any better,” he said. “For 2019, we expect the continuation of the suffering that we saw in 2018. I would add actually that things are going to be worse off compared to 2018. What we expect is an economy that is literally stagnating, and as the economy is stagnating we expect also inflationary pressures to come in, in a much bigger way. It’s going to be very, very difficult to do away with the inflation when it comes to food, and beyond food also some of the none food products upon which the poor people depend.”
Dr Musumali said: “We see a lot of difficulties in accessing social amenities, social utilities for the masses of our people, the paying of school fees is going to be a challenge, the meeting of transport needs or requirements is going to be a big challenge, food itself is going to be a big challenge for our people, hospitals and medical requirements are still going to be another hustle.”
Dr Musumali said 2018 was a very difficult year for Zambians, especially those without jobs, those that lost jobs, those that depended on their meager salaries for survival and those that were trying to earn a living through farming, students unable to pay their fees, and basically all poor and marginalised Zambians.
“With the downturn of the Zambian economy, a lot of things are very hard to come by for the average Zambian. And what we have also seen is that apart from the economy biting and making life very, very difficult for our people, the political climate has also worsened – there has been increased repression from the leading political party and from those in government,” said Dr Musumali. “We have also seen high levels of intolerance when it comes to dealing with national issues, we have also witnessed state sponsored violence where crisis and the issues that should have been dealt with amicably were resolved using strong hand tactics.”