Joint Statement of the Economic Liberation Association (Zambia) and the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, 01.08.2017, www.thecommunists.net
1. Zambia is currently under a state of emergency that has been for all purposes and intents, designed, declared and calculated to stamp-out and suppress decent on the growing oppression of the Patriotic Front (PF) government on the people. The leader of the opposition United Party of National Development (UPND) is currently over 110 days in prison on trumped-up charges of treason - a mere traffic offense that was crafted by the state security apparatus no doubt, to induce and entrap the opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema.
2. Powers of the police and other security wings has been increased without limits as provided for under Chapter 112 of the laws of Zambia - Preservation of Public Security Act which is a carry-over law from the colonial era when it was used by the British to oppress freedom fighters and suppress meetings of the nationalist movement. Today, it is being used to stamp out opposition rallies, meetings, processions and even press briefings.
3. President Edgar Lungu has been declared as sole candidate for the 2021 coming general elections by his party central committee. This declaration is in direct conflict with the Zambian constitution which limits the tenure of a president to TWO TERMS, and Lungu is in his second and final term after he finished the last term when he took on from late president Sata Michael who died in office, leaving Lungu to serve the final year and half. However in January 2016, an amended constitution was enacted, and in it, is a clause which could have justified a third term, but it cannot apply in retrospect since Lungu was already serving at the time it was enacted. What is at play is a possible manipulation of the constitution should the constitutional court rule in favor of Lungu and his party to allow a third term, and under the dictatorial regime of Lungu, the court which has his appointees serving as judges is almost certain to rule for a third term. The population is opposed to a third term due to the PF's brutality and mismanagement of the economy which has led to more hardships.
4. Zambia is in massive debt. Official figures put it at 7.2 billion dollars, which represents roughly a 200% increase from the 3 billion that was inherited from the MMD regime when PF took power in 2011. However our independent figures put the debt at over 12 billion dollars, and this keeps rising. The country is currently negotiating a 1.2 billion dollars economic rescue package from the IMF which of course has come with its own conditions of austerity, among them the removal of fuel and agricultural subsidies, increase in all sorts of taxes and levies, a sharp rise in electricity tariffs by 75%, wage and employment freezes, and reduced budgets to social services. Still on the cards is the privatization of the Nations electricity supply company ZESCO, to be unbundled and sold off to private foreign investors as generation, transmission and commercial operations. Negotiations are still underway, and the IMF keeps stalling over the loan until the conditions are met, plunging the country further into poverty.
5. Over 86% of Zambians live in abject poverty – on less than a dollar a day. Government statistics put the figure at 56%, and OXFAM reported 66% in 2016, clearly, the discrepancy is meant to cover a shocking and shameful reality. Unemployment and dependency levels stand at over 80%, the doctor to patient ratio is 1 - 100,000. Majority of Zambians have no access to decent food, education, healthcare or shelter. 70% of the population is composed of youths. Improvement in the social welfare of workers and the population at large is that of the working poor – leaving on pay-check to pay-check, and hand to mouth. Loss of employment spells starvation and poverty.
6. Such is the summary of the situation in Zambia as affects the people's lives. Only a revolutionary movement with a revolutionary agenda can save the day. The socialist program for the revolutionary liberation of the Zambian popular masses includes the following demands:
* Expropriation of Land without Compensation! Reclaim and repossess all Zambian lands owned and/or controlled by foreigners/foreign investors. Our land is ours, and as such must be re-distributed to our people as a matter of right, and economic empowerment. Sale of land to foreigners is criminal.
* Nationalization of Our Stolen Mines! We must take over our oldest and biggest billion dollar industry - Mining. All Zambian mines stolen by so-called foreign investors through dubious deals must, and shall be retaken. In order to ensure that the mines are operated in the interest of the people and to avoid corruption by managers, the nationalized mines should be put under the control of the workers employed.
* For a Public Employment Program, discussed and controlled by the workers and the poor! Such a program should ensure that the country's wealth is utilized for the needs of the country and that all people in need will get a job.
* Free Quality Education and Healthcare for All! We must guarantee free education and healthcare as a human right and reality for all Zambians. Government must and will bear the full cost of such critical social services from the hefty taxes it imposes and collects from citizens, and those that it lets slip out in form of tax evasion & 100% profit externalization by foreign multi-national companies.
* Decent Wages and Pensions for All! We must protect our people and workers from destitution, poverty and employer exploitation by updating out-dated labour laws, upgrading the minimum/living wage, guaranteeing full employment and job security for all as a human right, complete with decent wages, good conditions of service and guaranteed pensions for all workers.
* The Right to Decent Food, Housing and Social Protection for All! We must ensure that no Zambian starves and lives in pathetic slum conditions. Access to decent and affordable food, housing units, clothing, water, sanitation, clean energy and social protection must be made available by the state and affordable to all Zambians as a human right.
* Cancellation of IMF and World Bank Loans! Debt is slavery! It is an instrument of the imperialist financial institutions to exploit semi-colonial countries like Zambia and the whole of Black Africa. We must cancel unnecessary borrowing and burdensome loan repayment conditions to the IMF and World Bank which currently make it impossible for us to allocate resources to poverty reduction and national development. We must endeavor to make ours and future generations debt-free.
* Down with the Imperialist Domination! Zambia, as well as Black Africa as a whole, is dependent on and exploited by the imperialist monopolies and the Great Powers. European, American and Chinese corporations are enriching themselves at the back of the Zambian workers and oppressed. We fight against these imperialist powers and support all measures which help to gain full national independence (expropriation of foreign corporations, expulsion of foreign colonialist settlers, cancellation of foreign debts, stop of cheap imports which are ruining local peasants, etc.). Zambia shall be free again!
* For a Workers and Poor Government! As long as Zambia is ruled by governments which serve the capitalist class and the imperialist powers, the people will continue to live in poverty and exploitation. Zambia will only be free if these servants of the imperialist masters are no longer in power. Hence we fight for a democratic and socialist revolution which brings a government of the workers and poor to power – a government based on organs of workers and popular power. Such a government will expropriate the super-rich, expel the imperialist corporations and nationalize the key sectors of the economy so that these can serve the interests of the people. It will open the road towards socialism.
* Internationalize the Revolution! For a Free and Socialist Black Africa! We are aware that liberation can not be long-lasting secured if the revolution remains isolated in a single country. Hence we support the liberation struggles of our brothers and sisters in other countries who are fighting like us against capitalist exploitation and imperialist domination!
Long Live the Revolution! Aluta Continua!
Economic Liberation Association (Zambia): http://www.elazambia.org
Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Brazil, México, Venezuela, Israel/Occupied Palestine, Yemen, Tunisia, Turkey, Aotearoa / New Zealand, Germany, Britain and Austria), www.thecommunists.net