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Hichilema has lowered the bar sold us to IMF

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Azwell Banda

“It is an IMF wildest dream team. Complete with a puppet and liar for a president”

After our August elections, and what has been happening after the more than deserved humiliating defeat of Edgar Lungu and his choir of thieves, I have found myself wondering what it means to be a Zambian.

I know about the Zambian Constitution, citizenship and all that stuff.

A case is being made that to win elections in Zambia all you need is to have the capacity to fool Zambians by promising everything you think they want to hear you say, knowing full well that most of the rubbish you will be saying may not even be doable.

You should be courageous as you lie, be prepared to spend some nights in jail or police cells, and make sure that you ride roughshod on the weaknesses of the governing party of the day.

Rumour, speculation, conspiracies, conjunctures, and plain simple lies will do: Zambians will drink every toxic drop of this drivel from your mouth.

Finally, of course try and look the part – be presidential and yet a “man of the people” kind of conman.

Somehow be “Christ-like” in your prophetic lies about the good things that you will never shower Zambians with once they unleash you on the government to steal.

Now, I know and I have said it already that people everywhere and not only in Zambia will always be the foolish victims of deception and self-deception in politics, and they always will be until they have learnt to seek out the interests of some class or other behind all moral, religious, political and social phrases, declarations and promises.

I have also already said that champions of reforms and improvements will always be fooled by the defenders of the old order until they realise that every old institution, however barbarous and rotten it may appear to be, is kept going by the forces of certain ruling classes.

What I have never experienced, and did not fully understand, until the election of Hakainde Hichilema (HH) is that apparently the majority of Zambian voters are not just “foolish victims of deception” but that we are also quite moronic and stupid too!

Those who hold this view count among them extremely well Western educated zombies. In my daily life I am usually told by people who are ignorant of my interactions with ordinary workers (many with absolutely no formal education – I have taught in international schools of mixed audiences from different continents and countries, races and backgrounds, of all genders and ages, and with varying degrees of exposure to formal education!) and have rarely encountered this moronic, stupid mental inability to understand the world as it is.

“The Zambian voter is simple, childlike, has no time for big words or ideology, stick to the everyday common problems, promise them what they want to hear like little children waiting for their Christmas toys and gifts and of course attack the party in power with all manner of things” and you may just be rewarded with the presidency of Zambia, I am told. Really?

Sadly, the ‘Bally will fix it’ slogan perfectly captures this mass mental and intellectual suicide.

Do we hate to think so much about who we are, our history and why we are where we are that we are forever looking for a messiah to do the job for us? Is this what explains the tag ‘Christian nation’ when we love debt? Our poverty is also a poverty of true scientific knowledge about the forces that have shaped the world, and control it today, and keep us backward and poor, so that only they can continue to be advanced and rich. We must arm ourselves with this history, if we want to be free. No Bally can fix this, believe me.

After several years of detailed theoretical work in the origins of classical political economy, Karl Marx published the first volume of his magnum opus, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, in 1867. Marx, quite poignantly said the following about the racism, xenophobia and violence of this period of the origins of capitalism:

“The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalised the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief momenta of primitive accumulation. On their heels treads the commercial war of the European nations, with the globe for a theatre. It begins with the revolt of the Netherlands from Spain, assumes giant dimensions in England’s Anti-Jacobin War, and is still going on in the opium wars against China, &c.

The different momenta of primitive accumulation distribute themselves now, more or less in chronological order, particularly over Spain, Portugal, Holland, France, and England. In England at the end of the 17th century, they arrive at a systematical combination, embracing the colonies, the national debt, the modern mode of taxation, and the protectionist system. These methods depend in part on brute force, e.g., the colonial system. But, they all employ the power of the State, the concentrated and organised force of society, to hasten, hot-house fashion, the process of transformation of the feudal mode of production into the capitalist mode, and to shorten the transition. Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. It is itself an economic power.”

No one, historian or social scientist, has ever written a fuller and better description of the origins and the force that sustains capitalism than this brilliant explanation. This historically true account blew away the lies that wealth was a product of the entrepreneurial, discipline, frugality and risk-taking behaviour of rich people or capitalists. Wealth is the violent savagery unleashed by one kind of humankind on another!

We Zambians, ourselves, are a product of the violent history of dispossessions and displacements of slavery, colonialism, and neo-colonialism. Perhaps our childlike mannerisms are a by-product of this history too – we have been groomed to act the fool to survive. Our fear of authority certainly is.

Important to us today is that Marx was very aware of the savagery and inhumanity of the  processes associated with the origins of capitalism, and correctly understood the indissoluble link between the origins of global capitalism slavery, racism and xenophobia. Armed with this knowledge, it is not surprising at all that after a massive protest vote against extreme deprivations and poverty suffered by the majority of the masses of Zambia, and against the thieving and corruption of the PF, the IMF must, in under three months, secure a deal for a loan with government officials on the condition that the agreement is based on the Zambian authorities’ plans to undertake bold and ambitious economic reforms.

What are these ‘bold and ambitious economic reforms’? We know some of them. Kill INDENI. Withdraw subsidies from fuel and electricity. Generally, remove government interference from the operations of the markets in Zambia and free up fiscal space to meet debt obligations at whatever cost to the Zambian people! The neo-colonial native is not fully human, you see.

The IMF staff expressed their gratitude to the Zambian authorities for their open, committed and constructive engagement (their own words), at selling Zambia’s economic and political freedom to choose our own policies and protect our sovereignty, to the IMF. And so it has been, even during the days of slavery, there were some among us who caught and sold us into the arms of slave traders.

We have been here before. Many lost their jobs. Families disappeared. Many have died. Millions of street children litter the streets of all our towns. Orphans loam our streets uncared for. The IMF policies produced a Lungu.

In Kenneth Kaunda and Frederick Chiluba we did not have ingratiating zealotic followers of liberalism and the enslavement of the IMF than HH’s current economic management team.

It is an IMF wildest dream team. Complete with a puppet and liar for president.

The question is, are Zambians really that moronic and stupid that they will never learn not to elect their worst butchers into government? We shall see. Zambia can and must be free. I fought the IMF under Kaunda and Chiluba, and I paid a heavy personal price for it. I am happy to do it again. My freedom is priceless. Comments are very welcome.

The author is a founding central committee member of the Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party headquartered in South Africa; he also serves as the strategy, research and policy advisor to the national leadership of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), and is writing books on Labour, Politics and ‘youth life and politics’ in Southern Africa. You are most welcome to send your comments and opinions to: [email protected]

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