Zambia has degenerated into a lumpen state – Sishuwa

POLITICAL commentator Dr Sishuwa Sishuwa says the fact that political party cadres can disrupt a public discussion at a hotel of international standard suggests that Zambia has degenerated to a full-blown lumpen State now.

Dr Sishuwa said the sooner urban elites woke up to the ugly reality of the lawlessness playing out now, “the better for our safety”.

In its continued defence of the notorious Constitution (Amendment) Bill No.10 of 2019, the ruling PF resorted to its violence toolkit last Monday evening.

Lusaka Province PF youth chairman Daniel Kalembe and Eastern Province PF youth chairman Emmanuel Jay Banda led fellow party ruffians and descended on Hotel InterContinental in Lusaka and disrupted a public discussion on the contentious bill.

The public discussion, themed Bill 10: the lawyer’s perspective, was sponsored by the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and the panelists had lawyers-cum-politicians.

Commenting on the matter, Dr Sishuwa explained that what happened was disturbing, extremely blatant and intended to send a message that there were no safe places.

“The implication is that no political discussion can take place without the approval of PF cadres. They are effectively in charge of everything and everyone. Ba Edgar Lungu, muletutwala kwisa(Mr Edgar Lungu where are you taking us?)” Dr Sishuwa asked.

“The fact that PF cadres can get into a top hotel and disrupt a civilised discussion organised by a leading professional organisation in full view of police, literally a five-minute walk from police headquarters and live on TV cameras shows the total impunity and lawlessness reigning in Zambia today.”

He said he watched the public discussion and he could not believe what he saw.

“Consider this staggering context: The discussion was on the Constitution. The organisers were lawyers. The speakers were lawmakers. The audience were mainly lawyers. The moderators were lawyers. The venue was an international hotel: Hotel InterContinental. The event was live on Television. As if to demonstrate the sheer lawlessness that is reigning in Zambia today, PF cadres just marched in and disrupted everything,” Dr Sishuwa noted.
“What the whole issue demonstrates is that Zambia has graduated to a full-blown lumpen State now. This may explain how and why those in authority are able to hire “thugs” to terrorise the country and be on top of the political pile. Note that lumpens have no regard for concepts like ‘respect for the rule of law’, ‘order’, ‘democracy’, and ‘respect for the constitution’, or any semblance of morality, especially in the public domain and in politics. This group lives survivalist lives. What matters to its members is to ‘put food on the table’ by any means necessary! In its world, nothing is fixed, certain, moral, stable or durable – classic attributes of the life that a lumpen leads. I will leave it to the better discernment of the reader to decide who among those in power exhibit these attributes, but therein lies the answer to how the crisis we find ourselves in continues.”

He noted that the key reason for the current disorder in the country was because “we have ignored how political power at the local level can sustain government or lumpen proletariat relationship in conditions of mass unemployment and dire poverty”.

“In effect, we have a national government consisting of local thugs who have taken over control of lumpen life at local levels. A ruthless clientele relationship between local thugs and national government exists and reinforces each other – it is a virtual and real protection racket what our so-called government has become!” he said. “At the heart of this criminal relationship is control of markets, transport and housing. The thugs control the local state – they are the local state and in return for national support the national sphere allows this “local state capture” to operate outside the law. Both are lumpen states spheres.”

Dr Sishuwa added that the incident at the LAZ public discussion woke him up to the reality that the police were powerless when the elite-sponsored workshop was disrupted by the real “State” which was in control of national State institutions, including the President and the police.

“The frightening realisation hit me: it is President Edgar Lungu too who is captive to the thugs and not just the other way only! We have a criminal State operating openly,” said Dr Sishuwa. “The sooner we urban elites wake up to this ugly reality, the better for our safety! This, if it is true, is very horrifying: to restore sanity we have to blast the entire criminal State operation away, first by counter and stronger democratic force, then by institutional cleansing and hoping this leads to new cultures and behaviours.”

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