Socialist party interim general secretary Dr Cosmas Musumali says the cholera outbreak in Lusaka is reflective of a failed capitalist system.

He said the epidemic would only be contained if citizens had access to clean drinking water.

“This is all reminiscent of a failed socio-economic and political system. It is the system of periphery capitalism where greed, individualism, corruption, conspicuous consumption by the elite and marginalisation of the masses is tolerated, accepted and internalised. It is a system that is short term and reactive in dealing with the public health interests of the masses. Ghettoes of wealth for a few stand side-by- side with the squalor and poverty of the majority. Appropriate sanitation is deemed a privilege of a few. Where land use and city planning is systematically cast aside; boreholes and improvised sewer facilities are within close proximity of each other; faecal matters and drinking water combine in a highly dangerous way,” Dr Musumali said.

“The elite of the country forgets that it depends on the labour of the poor from the epicentres of the diseases to prepare food in the restaurants and hotels. It is the poor that work in the posh homes and take care of the off-springs of the rich. The Vibrio cholerae will therefore not remain in the slums of cities. It will visit the spaces reserved for the elite. When this happens, panic occurs. The vulnerabilities and short-sightedness of the system becomes apparent. A lot will be done today to stop this outbreak. And it will be stopped for now. However, it doesn’t require complicated modelling to predict that the next outbreak will take place before end of year. The fact is that we are tackling the tail-end of the disease. Cholera will be contained in Kanyama and the entire city when each Zambian has access to clean water and appropriate sanitation.”

He said this was not possible in Zambia under a capitalist order.

“This is not possible under the current Zambian capitalist order. The lack of distributional justice and equity is
inherent in the system. Changing one capitalist political party for another is not a solution. The whole system has failed Zambians and cholera is merely exposing this failure. At stake is also the country’s peace. People ravaged by cholera become
uncertain and angry. This can quickly turn into political discontent. As trading markets are closed and people’s liberties are constrained in tackling the epidemic, the whole political establishment is called into question. The Zambian ruling class
knows this very well. They are not only sending soldiers armed with gloves, brooms and shovels. A good proportion is armed for combat. Just to ensure that the masses do not seize the opportunity to protest,” said Dr Musumali.

“In as much as the Socialist Party welcomes the multi-sectoral efforts being undertaken to combat cholera, it should be made clear that those who have died are due to political neglect of the masses by the system. More innocent lives will be lost
for years to come as long as capitalism remains the socio-political and economic system in our homeland. Our struggle for Justice, Equity and Peace (JEP) through socialism is the only answer. Without the socialist values of Equity, Honesty, Humility and Solidarity, the lives of our people will continue to be sacrificed for decades to come.”