SOCIALIST Party leader and 2021 presidential candidate Fred M’membe says the formation of the leftist party is not about him becoming President.
Dr M’membe said on Wave FM Radio that human beings tend to make fools of themselves when they think so much about positions they should occupy in life and politics.
“Let me correct the impression. This is not about me, it is not about me wanting to be president. To be truthful, I am not interested in being president. It took my party more than one year and four months to convince me to take up the leadership position in our party,” Dr M’membe said.
He said it would be wiser to aspire for a modest, simple or even anonymous place in life and politics.
“If you have a close look or if you have a true measure of the power of people as individuals, you will realise that it is so fragile and such a small thing that it really does not make sense to magnify the role or any individual no matter how intelligent, brilliant or able they may be. Moreover, there have been more intelligent and meritorious figures in the course of history,” Dr M’membe said. “I think that human beings should never draw away from the honest call they seek and let themselves be influenced by position, by being president. That’s what I have always felt and always thought. I have always thought this way.”
He said he has never been tortured or concerned himself with positions he should occupy.
Dr M’membe said the position and glory of an individual was not worth the sacrifices of so many people.
“For the position, being president is not important. It is a secondary thing, a very secondary thing because it doesn’t seem honest for me to ask an atom of sacrifices from others for the purpose of me being president, me basking in the glory of being President. Therefore, we should be unassuming and limit ourselves in doing our small duties to the best of our abilities, and in fact, if you look at our abilities, they are very limited. That’s how I understand my role in life as a revolutionary,” he said.
And Dr M’membe said if consistently practiced, political honesty is the road that leads to one’s mind and will – the socialist ideal.
He said all progressive thinking leads to socialism and that his government would be one anchored on honesty, equity, humility and solidarity.
“Ours is a socialist programme, our government will be a socialist government and a socialist government is a government that will promote justice, equity and peace. It will be a government anchored on honesty, equity, humility and solidarity,” he said.
Dr M’membe explained that under the Socialist Party, there is nobody with too much power.
He said even if power was vested in a certain office in the party or state apparatus, the Socialist Party believes that it should be shared with others.
Dr M’membe said the Socialist Party believes in collective leadership and not individual governance.
“We do not believe that one person can change society. We do not believe that a president can change society. We believe that it’s a collective genius, collective effort that will bring about the changes that we are seeking in our country and homeland. So whatever the powers are vested in the President under this Constitution or any other constitution that we may have, will be of little effect on us because power will be shared,” he explained. “It will not be one man sitting in his office deciding what the Cabinet should be. Even if I am elected President, it’s not me sitting alone to choose or constitute a Cabinet but it will be the collective effort of the leadership of the party.”
Meawhile, Dr M’membe said there were many contentious issues in the current Constitution and even in Bill 10 that the PF government is trying to use to change the existing Constitution.
He, however, said whatever constitution the country would come up with, there was nothing like the best or worst constitution but what was needed was consensus.
Dr M’membe said there has to be maximum consensus to whatever constitution the country wants to come up with as people have the right to govern themselves in the way they want and deem fit.
“What they want and deem fit must be a product of consensus and arriving at consensus from a population of 18 million people is not an easy thing. It is time consuming, requires a lot of effort and sometimes can be expensive but it’s a necessity that must be done because avoiding reaching consensus with others may lead to more and more problems, more and more differences,” he said.
Dr M’membe advised that the focus now should be channeled to the many problems that affect the majority of Zambians such as living conditions.
He said addressing the living conditions of Zambians should be the most important priority of any government.
Dr M’membe said the biggest challenge of the current government and governments to come was moving Zambians away from the high levels of poverty.
He lamented that the country had 76.6 per cent rural poverty, which he said was too high.
Dr M’membe said Western was poorest province with poverty levels of 82.2 per cent with Luapula the second poorest with 81.1 per cent.
Further, Dr M’membe lamented that today Zambia was the fourth hungriest country in the world after Madagascar, Central African Republic and Chad.
He noted that Zambia had everything it needed to prosper and to feed its people.
Dr M’membe wondered why a country with so many hard working people and water bodies should fail to feed its people.
“We have the third poorest province, Northern Province with 79.7 per cent poverty levels, at number four we have Eastern Province with 70 per cent, then it is followed by Muchinga Province with 69.3 per cent then we have North-Western Province with 66.4 per cent and Southern Province with 57.6 per cent, Central Province with 56.2 per cent, Copperbelt which is highly urbanised 30.8 per cent, Lusaka, the provincial capital, with 20.2 per cent…these are very high poverty levels,” said Dr M’membe.