The year 2021 is almost over, and 2022 is almost upon us. Hang in there, do not drink and drive, avoid Omicron, do not walk the streets drunk, stay away from violent people and, please, avoid all other possible causes of human death and you will be in 2022!
For many years to come 2021 will be remembered as the year Zambians voted out the Patriotic Front (a political party, ironically, which has absolutely no patriotism for Zambia!) and bravely overcame the ghost of tribalism to vote Hakainde Hichilema and his UPND into government.
Every Zambian of goodwill, including many good strong supporters of the unPatriotic Front must celebrate this momentous electoral victory of the Zambian people over the forces of darkness which nearly plunged the country into civil war. The whole world of progressive forces sighed in massive relief as Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu bowed out of office, almost gracefully.
History must hesitantly record the fact that Mr Lungu played his part in averting a potential violent catastrophe in Zambia, by conceding defeat, and in fact thus far, by keeping his mouth shut. For this, notwithstanding the fact that he presided over a most rotten and violent political administration, Mr Lungu deserves his small due recognition in the history of the development of electoral democracy in Zambia. Sadly, to jail, he is certainly headed!
Extreme mass poverty and political rot saw Lungu record the highest post 1991 electoral defeat of any incumbent. Not even fraudster and corrupt Kambwili and his foul tribalist mouth could save Lungu. The UPND and Hakainde fared extremely well in the so-called PF strongholds, which is why Lungu lost so humiliatingly.
The years 2022 and beyond, all the way to the next elections, will see the contest between essentially two diametrically opposed political lines: on one hand, a rehabilitation of colonialism, capitalism, neo-colonialism and their Western European and US dominance in Zambia, through the supervision of our economic and financial policies by the IMF, World Bank and so called donors and on the other hand, the struggle to deliver on the actual needs and aspirations of millions of Zambians to secure their political and economic freedom and to smash the poverty that for so long has been the most pronounced feature of our country.
You have to be a dimwit of a special type, in this day and age, to imagine that the US, Western Europe, the MF, WB and donors can rescue any former colony from extreme poverty and over indebtedness. In their own countries, all of them, they have failed to fully liberate their former slaves. The global Black Lives Matter movement is living proof of this failure. It is neither in their political nor economic interests to do so. Our poverty is a perfect mirror and direct source pf their wealth and their violently engineered superior position to us. These self-evident truths are very well recorded in almost all good books of African political and social history written by progressive Africans.
Deeply troubling indications that Zambia may be courting its former enslavers, colonisers and neo-colonisers include the embarrassing trips HH has made to the US and Europe, and how celebratory, as “victories”, rubbing shoulders with leading politicians in these countries has been portrayed.
More damning has been the speed at which the IMF has been courted, and the profuse praise the IMF has showered on HH and his economic administration team. When your master praises you, know that you are serving none your interests.
Not to be outdone, the British High Commissioner in Zambia has joined the European chorus of showering praise at our new government administration. In fact, the European Union was first off the mark in welcoming the electoral victory of the UPND and HH.
Zambia is a constitutional and parliamentary democracy. HH and the UPND have every right to pursue their economic, social and political policies for the duration of their stay in government. Other Zambians are equally free to peacefully oppose them and campaign against them. Elections, feely conducted, should reveal “the will of the people” and decide who should, for the moment, govern Zambia.
Here is the challenge the country is confronting from 2022 and beyond: millions of Zambians, including myself, would love to see HH and his friends succeed and defeat our poverty and unemployment. Sadly, the path he has chosen, the path of the US, Western Europe, the IMF, WB and donors will never take us anywhere other than into deeper debt, poverty, misery and possible civil war, as we fight among ourselves for crumbs while the US, Western Europe, and donors reap millions in arms sells.
Here is our opportunity: the size of the poverty and protest vote HH and the UPND got means should we somehow find a way to trigger mass politics against our enslavers, HH and his friends in government can be, and will be, forced to address our concerns rather than those of our enslavers. An obstacle we face here is the cognitive dissonance (inability to accept hard proof of how things actually are, because of a strongly held belief) millions of voters of HH and the UPND are suffering from post the elections: they are unable to quickly recognise that unless they themselves now rescue HH from the talons and clutches of the US, Western Europe, the MF, WB and donors he is fast plunging the country into deeper debt, poverty, unemployment and excruciating inequalities.
Many Zambians know what the country has gone through with the US, Western Europe, the MF, WB and donors. These Zambians know just how dangerous and impoverishing the IMF can be to former colonies. It is time for these Zambians to stand up and be counted, to loudly sound the warning over the path HH and his UPND are taking the country. History will judge harshly all those who will keep quiet as the country hurtles towards its self-destruction.
There is a lesson to learn here: voting is not enough. Zambians must hold HH and his friends to account for all the promises they made!
Any compounding of the existing mass poverty, systemic and structural unemployment and extreme inequalities will lead to social explosions in Zambia. The year 2022 need not mark the beginning of the slide into oblivion of Zambia, it could be the year Zambians begun to force politicians they elect into office to work for them, rather than their enslavers. Should this not happen, we must brace for troubled times ahead!
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