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WE’RE SITTING ON A TIME BOMB …unemployment and growing poverty to blame for criminality – M’membe urges

DR Fred M’membe says it is very clear that high youth unemployment leads to many negative outcomes in terms of both material and mental wellbeing.

The Socialist Party president says if the country does not adequately deal with the problem of unemployment and the generally growing poverty, criminal attacks like “these gassing attacks will continue no matter how many soldiers and police officers we deploy on our streets and compounds.”

In a statement yesterday Dr M’membe said the current very high levels of youth unemployment will “therefore be felt by society in many ways, making effective policy responses incredibly important”. 

“As we have repeatedly warned, we are sitting on a time bomb. Statistics of crime in many countries shows that unemployment and crime are closely related,” Dr M’membe noted.

He said where the rate of unemployment is high, the rate of crime is likely to be high too.

Dr M’membe said today it was so easy to hire unemployed people to commit all sorts of crimes. He said politicians hire unemployed youths to attack their political opponents.

“For very small amounts money, food and alcohol, unemployed youths are hired by politicians to engage in political violence,” Dr M’membe observed.

He said “it is certainly these unemployed young people” who were involving themselves in the gassing attacks all over the country.

“If we don’t adequately deal with the problem of unemployment and the generally growing poverty, criminal attacks like these gassing attacks will continue no matter how many soldiers and police officers we deploy on our streets and compounds,” said Dr M’membe. “As Mr James Kasanda Musendeka Lukuku has correctly observed, we have repeatedly warned about the dangers of social instability these very levels of unemployment and poverty may generate. Hopeless and helpless youths can easily be recruited to do horrible things like this gassing of innocent people. It is very clear that high youth unemployment leads to many negative outcomes in terms of both material and mental wellbeing. Current very high levels of youth unemployment will therefore be felt by society in many ways, making effective policy responses incredibly important.”

Dr M’membe was commenting on Lukuku’s statement that called for an inclusive Zambian society Lukuku said Dr M’membe, as Post editor [in liquidation], foresaw what is happening in Zambia today.

Analysing the current happenings, Lukuku, the Republican Progressive Party president, said, “Let’s always remember the poor in all our endeavours.”

“If we create a hopeless society where we have all extravagance on our side at the expense of the poor, our future will forever be fragile,” he said.

Lukuku anchored his discourse on what he learnt from Dr M’membe’s writing.

“Fred will remain to me a case study and plumb line measure of political analysis. Almost everything I write I learnt from Fred. Fred was my role model. I always wished to be a person that Fred envisaged. I always wished to be a politician that Fred envisaged, and I wished to belong to a political system and a broader society that Fred envisaged,” said Lukuku. “In one of the editorial comments before The Post was shut criminally, Fred inked to the point one expectation of the youth of today. Fred prophesied a generation of respect-less youths, violent and savage youths, youths without regard for human life. He attributed his assessment parameters to the hopeless and helpless youth group that we were bringing up. A youth group void of proper education and proper morals. Fred lamented such a youth group was a time bomb that could erupt at any moment. He called for concerted effort for us to pay attention to the type of youth we were building. He called for true and real empowerment of youths and creation of availability of jobs.”

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