FRED M’membe says while the Lenje and Soli people of Lusaka and Central provinces are hosting many people from other parts of Zambia, no care and respect are shown to them as hosts.
Dr M’membe, the Socialist Party presidential candidate, also says: “we are One Zambia, two nations – the nation of the haves and the nation of the have-nots.”
He also argues that, “The first socialist was Christ Himself. If you follow the teachings of Christ, your ending will be socialism. They say all roads lead to Rome [but] I can say all honest political roads lead to socialism.”
He was speaking on a virtual rally interview for Central, Lusaka and Eastern provinces, anchored by party spokesperson Rehoboth Kafwabulula last Thursday.
Dr M’membe was asked to speak about his primary concerns for Central and Lusaka provinces.
He said the “humiliation, debasement” of people in the two provinces is too high.
“The Lenje, Soli people who occupied this space of our country have been humiliated, debased. They have lost their culture, their land. They have taken their land – starting with the colonial authorities – they displaced them,” Dr M’membe regretted. “The farms you see in Lusaka and Central provinces are not owned by the Lenje or Soli people who inhabited this part of our country.”
He asked where the Lenjes are, what they are doing and how they are living.
“Nobody cares about that! Their language is in jeopardy, their cultural heritage is threatened, their own existence is no longer there. They have no land, no jobs – they have nothing,” Dr M’membe said. “How much can we ask of our people? Even the farm labouring jobs are not there for them.”
He added that even the mining that is taking place in Central Province is not there for them.
“Go to Serenje, Mkushi [and] see how they have been thrown out from their land – the Lala, Swaka people there. There is mining there of manganese and other minerals; what are they benefiting?” he asked. “There is commercial agriculture; most of their land has been fenced now and they can’t even go and collect firewood. Where do they belong? A socialist government has to ensure that these people get what belongs to them.”
He said there is need to “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.”
“Give to the Soli, Lenje, Swaka, Lala people what belong to them – what their Creator gave them. Give them a sense of dignity. Let them count!” Dr M’membe said. “We are here in Lusaka today living as their guests. Do we have respect for the people hosting us? Do we care about how they live? Do we even know them? Do our children even know that this is Soli, Lenje, Lala, Swaka land?”
He indicated that the generosity of the Soli, Lenje, Lala and Swaka people could only be compared to the Lamba people on the Copperbelt.
“Then you say the Lenje people are lazy! The Soli people are lazy! They don’t want to work! Who told you that they don’t want to work? Who has given them jobs and they have refused?” Dr M’membe wondered.
For people in Eastern Province, Dr M’membe explained that a native from that part of the country, commander Nsingo, is the greatest hero of the Socialist Party.
“We draw our inspiration from the Ngoni’s resistance to capitalism. They are the only people in our homeland who fought against a capitalist army. They are the only people who resisted vigorously with an army and they fought to stop capitalist penetration in this country. to stop capitalist sale of their land, minerals,” he noted.
“They are the hardest working people in this country. And I say it with absolute honest and sincerity. But poverty is persisting in Eastern Province.”
He is alarmed at the fact that the more people of Eastern Province work, the more-poorer they become.
“How do you explain that? It can only be explained by one word – exploitation. The socialist government will stop that exploitation,” Dr M’membe said. “Let those hardworking people of Eastern Province benefit from the sweat of their labour. They are not asking for aid from anybody.”
Dr M’membe also argued that: “we are not One Zambia One Nation.”
“[But] we are One Zambia, two nations – the nation of the haves and the nation of the have-nots. We have to struggle to create One Zambia One Nation,” he said. “This is not the One Zambia One Nation that Dr Kenneth Kaunda bequeathed us. We have turned that into a two nation country. We can sloganeer about One Zambia One Nation but it’s leading nowhere. It can’t unify our people when inequalities are growing and nothing is being done about it.”
Earlier, Dr M’membe was asked about how he defines socialism.
He explained that socialism is about human dignity, about fraternal love for other human beings and about: “love thy neighbour as you love thy self.”
“If we love other fellow human beings the way we love ourselves, there will be no inequality that we are seeing today in the world. There will be no other human being trying to humiliate another human being,” Dr M’membe said. “There will be no human being trying to exploit another human being. There will be no human being trying to degrade another human being. There will be no wars; it will be a planet full of love, solidarity, honest and humility.”
He added that if one truly loves their neighbour, they would not want to see them go hungry, to see them naked, ill-clad and do nothing about it.
“This is what Christ taught us. This is what we are taught in James 2; faith without deeds is worthless. Socialism is about living to the principles that Christ taught us, bequeathed us,” Dr M’membe said. “Socialism is about ensuring that the material needs of human beings are met. Christ never left our material needs unattended to. Although he came to save us so that we can go to heaven, Christ paid a lot of attention to the material needs of human beings and He never left them unattended…”
He further said one cannot divorce the spiritual needs of a human being from the material conditions under which they live.
“The first socialist was Christ Himself. If you follow the teachings of Christ, your ending will be socialism. They say all roads lead to Rome [but] I can say all honest political roads lead to socialism,” noted Dr M’membe. “Any honest person, any politician who loves one another will end up as a socialist. Today the Pontiff of the Catholic Church, the Pope, is being accused of being a socialist. Not a bad accusation, anyway. He has made it very clear that today’s enemy number one of the Catholic Church is capitalism, for the degradation of human beings.”