ECONOMIC and financial difficulties are undermining human dignity “in a very big way”, Socialist Party president Dr Fred M’membe has observed.
Dr M’membe made the remarks on Friday afternoon when he visited a 34-year-old jobless mother of five who is struggling to provide for her children in Lusaka’s Kanyama Compound after being abandoned by her husband.
Dr M’membe learned about Josephine Thole’s situation after her story made it on ZNBC television news.
The oldest of Thole’s children is 12-year-old Moses, who is not in school because she cannot afford to pay his fees.
Thole and her other children namely Dorothy 10, Mapalo, 8, Emmanuel 4 and Grace aged 18 months stay in a one-roomed house without electricity and running water in Lusaka’s Kanyama compound.
She explained that providing for her children has been hard since the departure of her husband and relies mainly on washing for residents in the suburbs for an income.
Dr M’membe donated foodstuffs which included bags of mealie-meal, cooking oil, trays of eggs, chickens, cooking oil, washing and bathing soap as well as clothes for the five children.
The opposition party leader observed that what Thole was going through was not an isolated incident but a countrywide problem.
“Many of our families are not coping with the economic and financial challenges and are breaking. Human dignity is, in a very big way, being undermined by economic and financial difficulties,” he said.
“It is a terrible frustration and humiliation for a parent to be unable, due to unemployment, to provide for the family.”
Dr M’membe added that the breakup of Zambian families was being fuelled by the stresses of poverty, joblessness and failing businesses.
He said a strong economic foundation was needed for stronger family values.
“The stress of being unemployed, of being in poverty, puts pressure on relationships and increases their risk of breakdown,” he said.
Dr M’membe said broken down relationships could cause poverty for both parents.
“It breaks one’s heart to see these innocent and lovely children suffering in this way. This is how cruel capitalism can be; this is how children are abandoned under this system devoid of equity and solidarity,” he said.
“It gets dark sometimes but the morning comes.”
Dr M’membe encouraged the family and the rest of the country not give up hope for a better society.
“A more just, more fair and more humane Zambia, let’s struggle for it,” said Dr M’membe.