By Mainda Simataa, (General Secretary of Economic Liberation Association Zambia), 17.10.2017 www.elazambia.org
Zambia Not Free: Still A Copper Colony
With over 83% of all Zambia’s foreign exchange revenue coming from proceeds of the copper mining industry (which is all privatized); but yet only a miserly 3% finding itself in the Zambian Governments’ coffers, nobody in their right frame of mind can doubt that Zambia is still colonized economically and politically, but that Zambia is veritably one of the the most corrupt and resource exploited nation on earth! The users of our chief raw material – copper, are still the greatest beneficiaries, along with their political local puppet elites!
The Paradox of A Rich But Poor Nation
Zambia is a rich poor nation, therein lies the paradox; a nation successful at failure! Founded in the early 19th century as a copper mining colony (Northern Rhodesia) and beholden to arch-imperialist – Cecil Rhodes of the British South Africa Company BSAC, Zambia continues to serve as nothing more than a farm for the harvesting of its rich copper resources. Also, Zambia’s rapidly growing but chronically unemployed and thus impoverished population serves as an industrial reserve army of cheap slave labour to oil the wheels of the now expansive and expensive mining industry, and other related industries.
Privatization: the Open Wound that Will Never Heal!
Today, since 1991; the Zambian people have been dispossessed of the mines which they once owned as of 1964, and are now possessed by abject poverty, ignorance, disease and gross inequality. The poverty stats in Zambia are not only shocking and heart-breaking, but also record-breaking – poverty stands at over 83%, with reserved estimates by Oxfarm (2016) putting them at 63%…and the government Central Statistical Office CSO, down-playing or totally denying the existence of poverty in Zambia! Zambia has been re-colonized, albeit indirectly.
No Economic Diversification without Re-Nationalization of the Mines
It is a known fact that all other industries in Zambia serve and revolve around Mining. Mining is, in a sense, the center of our economic universe, it is the mainspring of our economic well-being. Without it, we are out of orbit and headed towards a meteoric crash!
That is why any talk of diversifying the economy to other industries at the moment – and this diversification being away from and independent of our copper cash cow, must be treated as utter buffoonery, nonsensical rubbish, and sky-high stupidity coming from the well-paid spokesmen of capitalism in Zambia. Such is the talk of mining looting cartels who continue to rob our nation of the billions of dollars derived from our mining industry. Such talk must not be entertained, and it must be denounced! Instead, talk of re-nationalization is what should dominate national discourse and prick the conscience of the nation.
It is well known that in Zambia, all other industries, including commercial agriculture which is equally and highly dominated and monopolized by foreign white-settler farmers (SA Boers and runaway Zimbabwean white settlers among others), is simply a means to support and supply the core industry – mining.
Banks, road and rail infrastructure, energy and telecommunications, and the little that exists of local manufacturing, are all tied to the mining industry. That is why when the mining industry shakes even slightly, the entire Zambian economy suffers!
Yet the Robbery Continues – Who is benefiting?
For over 100 years now, our national mineral resources continue to extracted and exported to foreign industries and markets – USA, Europe and Asia, yet the proceeds of these exports never return to our country, except in the form of so called Donor Aid, which is in any case, 10 times less that what is actually stolen out of our soil. This is the great robbery of Zambia which has spanned over a century, and the final end-users and beneficiaries of the loot are the same capitalistic Anglo-American forces we are supposed to have ousted at independence!
But it is much worse now, because new looters have entered Zambia’s mining industry by the thousands: the Chinese and Indian capitalist class, and the Lebanese mafia have struck gold in Zambia; and as usual, the pro-capitalist Political parties in power and those waiting their turn to loot in the opposition, all continue to collude and connive with these foreign forces to further loot the nation.
So What is to be Done? When, and by Whom?
Ultimately, the continued loss of Zambian ground and all the mineral resources under it will continue to spell doom and poverty for the vast majority of Zambians. The ones to pay the highest price are the youths who consist over 70% of the population.
Therefore, to rescue themselves, and to rescue the nation from economic extermination, it is this young group that stands to lose a lot, that must do the fighting for its own sake and survival, and it must do so now! To fail in this liberation task is to give up all sovereignty and hope of true independence, it is to resign ourselves to defeat and assign ourselves to slavery once again. But we must not tire, retreat nor surrender, we must mount a revolutionary fight back!
Our struggle must start somewhere, and the re-nationalization of the mines is the best place to start for all the reasons outlined above, and much more than there is room to write about here. The fight for the mines is, in essence, a first fight for the heart and soul of the nation! If we win the mines we can have everything back, but if we fail, we shall have nothing at all.
Stop the Wheeling out of our Copper!
Stop the centuries old looting of our Wealth!
Economic Freedom is Coming Tomorrow!