It’s now not possible to ignore the Socialist Party and Dr Fred M’membe as a new third force in Zambian politics.
Anyone who tries to ignore or belittle SP and Dr M’membe is not being honest and sincere with themselves and others and will pay a very high political price.
SP is now definitely an alternative to the politics practiced by the Patriotic Front and UPND. Dr M’membe is certainly a credible and very different alternative to Edgar Lungu and Hakainde Hichilema.
As Bishop John Mambo aptly puts it, “For me really he becomes a third horse in the race to liberate Zambia. The fact that he is there and these other parties with capitalist ideology will give people another choice. His way of doing things is so impressive, so organised, not because I know him. People don’t want to count me…. Political parties are there pointing fingers at the wrongs by the ruling party, calling them names and so on and so forth. What will you offer yourself? And M’membe came out with that. We need an answer to the crisis we are in and he’s one of those trying to bring about answers and liberate us.”
It cannot be denied that SP is new and indeed brings a new approach, a new dimension and new people to our problems and politics. It’s no longer going to be the same politics, the same names, the same issues or rather non-issues as usual.
And the panic by the Patriotic Front and its government is understandable. But we think their attempts to discredit, undermine and humiliate Dr M’membe using Mosho will not succeed. In fact, it is drawing more attention and sympathy towards him.
As Bishop Mambo says, “Dr M’membe demonstrated maturity, he demonstrated the fact that he’s come from a background of suffering and by the grace of God those that were there with vision gave free education to some level and the fact that he reminded the workers that without you rising up and being counted, you will remain suffering.
He got A-Plus because there’s no single name calling. There were no insults at all [at his debut rally in Kitwe last Saturday]. He knows a lot which he wrote in The Post and all that but he never referred to them. For us he is another force. That’s simply saying that politics cannot be what we are saying. We outside say politics is dirty. Politics is dirty until you have clean people like M’membe among others. Throughout the rally it was reminding each other, in short it was also civic education. You need to vote to redeem yourself and you need to vote with your heart and not your blood knowing that my heart beats because of the economic problems; that you’re clinging to the people who don’t care about you. For me really the communist party, the Socialist Party, in Zambia will bring sanity and checks and balances into political parties. It’s important that you bring message of hope and not gossip. I think he presented himself as a very formidable leader that has something. His experience has shown him to say look, within a communist party, you can have a good thing but liberate yourself. SP is a spade for many reasons. You have many political parties that are registered to be used by other parties. They do not have messages of their own. It’s me and my wife. I just want to register my party so that I can be called for State functions and so forth. We need serious parties. This man, this was his first rally, look at the numbers of the people that he pulled. Talk about these other parties that have been in existence for years – how many [people] have they brought together?”
Dr M’membe has a different approach and message for Zambia.
SP is not Patriotic Front ‘B’ or UPND ‘B’ as many of our parties are. It is something truly different and new in every sense of the word.
Zambia needs this. We need new messages and voices; we need more strong political parties.
The more strong political parties we have, the more strong our multiparty democracy is likely to be.
Strong political parties are what will help keep our multiparty democracy strong.
The weakening of political parties leads to dictatorships and all sorts of abuses of power – the kind we are witnessing in Zambia today – the lawlessness we are seeing in Zambia today.
Under a strong multiparty political dispensation, Edgar and his minions cannot be abusing power and State institutions in the way they are doing and get away with it.
It is a fact that our existing political parties are growing more and more unpopular. If no new life is injected in our politics, this may lead to very high levels of apathy and degeneration. And the weakening political parties may lead to other undesirable ways of seeking power and changing governments. The emergence of new and well organised political parties like SP could help prevent that.
This increasing unpopularity of existing political parties is very dangerous for democracy.
Strong and well organised political parties are important to our democracy, as they will be able to better inform voters about the issues and also help the government run more efficiently, effectively and in an orderly manner.