M’membe’s approach is the way we want our politics to unfold – ZCTU

LET those who claimed to be PF unions not change now because there is new government, says Zambia Congress of Trade Union secretary general Cosmas Mukuka.

And Mukuka says Zambians are tired of political prostitution stressing that, “if you believe in something stick to it until you go into the grave.”

“If it is communism it should be communism in that line. If it is socialism, scientific socialism like for Fred M’membe [of the Socialist Party], that’s a very critical approach because that’s what we want,” he said

In an interview, Mukuka said revolutions should take a sober minded approach.

“So the turbulence… it could be those affiliated to ZCTU… because ZCTU and its affiliates took a stand on the health insurance which was being rushed and commencing wrongly. We took a stand on the Bill 10 where we did certain demonstrations not to have it enacted. We went to the constituencies to do that together with our affiliate unions and we are making a common resolution to that effect,” he said. “So the issue of individuals cannot be institutionalised. So what I see from those doing revolutions, they are the same leaders…most of them lost elections in different unions and most of them might have been disciplined in different unions and now they are emerging because the government has changed and then they want to seek sympathy. I think what we need to do for the people of Zambia especially those that are trying to push for enjoyments of liberties is not to generalise accusations on the teacher unions. What is clear about it is that the whole movement is commenced wrongly because each and every union has its own constitution.”

Mukuka said if one was a member of Zambia National Union of Teachers, they should invoke the clauses in the ZNUT constitution and attack their leaders based on that constitution.

“If one is member of SESTUZ they can also commence in line with that constitution. Now when you create confusion… my appeal is that that movement should not be entertained because a group formed out of confusion has no specific approach,” he said. “If members of specific unions can start addressing issues based on their constitutional line that can be logical. It’s like you call for a revolution, like if you’re youths for a revolution in a certain compound against a parent when you are not even born from there, that’s hooliganism. This idea of taking advantage of the change of government for you to start pushing like you are more clean than others should not be entertained. That’s why we call for politics of ideology now.”

Mukuka said it had been ZCTU’s prayer to always start thinking of the ideological system where if one believes in the labour party which addresses labour and employment issues they should focus their attention to support such a party in that line.

“If it is communism it should be communism in that line. If it is socialism, scientific socialism like for Fred M’membe, that’s a very critical approach because that’s what we want,” he said. “Fred M’membe’s thinking of socialism is the way we want politics to unfold. Socialism in that order, so we want to see parties come. Like the UPND should reorganise themselves into a pro-poor approach and address it the way they have started, address it in that line and then coin their manifesto to suit a certain ideology. So the PF should also coin their manifesto to suit a certain ideology so that at the end if I say I belong to… like the way churches operate you and me are interacting but I don’t know which church you belong to.”

Mukuka said there was a common denominator of being citizens enjoying the civil liberty and rights which has brought “us together to interact”. “Similarly, it’s the way political parties should behave. Similarly, it’s the way people should think meaning that that’s the way to go. So I still feel that’s an empty noise which can’t be taken anywhere. There is no legal basis. We saw a situation where unions were formed in the past (historically). There was one union in the teacher unions you will notice that under PF, one union used the same approach. It said it was a PF born union for the teachers,” he recalled. “In the Civil Service set up there was another union that was born recently to say they were a union formed by the government and they were driving the government agenda. For the teachers there was one and the PF sponsored such individuals that called themselves PF driven unions. Now the PF has come out, what has happened to those unions? One, they remain registered as trade unions though they use a window of the PF. Now they are registered trade unions, how are they going to trade? But we saw they were even the first ones to buy space in the newspapers and TV congratulating the new government – that’s hoodwinking a process and that’s what we don’t want now.”

Mukuka said if such unions said they were PF oriented and believe in the PF ideology, “even now they should not change”.

“They should say we believe in the policies of the PF and we shall continue supporting PF as a political party with its ideology,” he said.

Mukuka said now because the PF had no ideology and the parties that are coming in do not fit the ideology, it can only take one to change one chitenge for another.

“These are the politics we are tired of in Zambia. So I think going forward…people going by the thinking of ZCTU so that we don’t promote political prostitution. If you believe in something stick to it until you go in the grave. If you believe in socialism, that’s why I was trying to thank my brother M’membe of the Socialist Party, that’s the thinking we want. Another one should go on and bring in another party. Not just to be political prostitutes. If you believe in your church, stick to that until maybe marriage changes you to go and join your husband,” said Mukuka. “And going forward that grouping should not be entertained. That grouping is illegal. That grouping doesn’t have specific members. If they want to stage revolutions let specific members that belong to specific groups invoke constitutions where they belong. That’s a logical way in which we want Zambia to be governed and let those who claimed to be PF unions not change but continue.”

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