HICHILEMA’S CABINET IS THE WORST IN ZAMBIA’S HISTORY: it is now possibly committing economic genocide – Part Two- Azwell Banda

HICHILEMA’S CABINET IS THE WORST IN ZAMBIA’S HISTORY: it is now possibly committing economic genocide – Part Two

By Azwell Banda

Last week Friday, in Part One of this article, I said today, in Part Two, I may discuss, using a sample of Hakainde’s cabinet and some of his praise singers, what I wrote about last Friday.

I stand by what I said last week, about Hakainde Hichilema’s cabinet: without exception, they are all the epitome of mediocrity, incompetence, backwardness, lack of patriotism, and absolute lack of political acumen to read the mood of the masses, as politicians. They are a mean, selfish, cold and calculating lot, for themselves as individuals, as a collective and for their paymaster. They have demonstrated utter contempt for the majority of Zambians and their hunger, mass unemployment, poverty and the extreme social, economic and political injustices and inequalities the majority of Zambians suffer, every day.

Further, I maintain that even the most neurotic praise singer of Hakainde and the UPND can no longer deny that Hichilema and the UPND are fake, thieves, corrupt, autocrats, and have a very short shelf-life, in government. Like most cognitive dissonance patients, Hichilema’s praise singers, precisely because Hichilema has not created an alternative cheaper economy for them, and therefore Hichilema has failed to shield them from the hunger and mass poverty everywhere in Zambia, Hichilema’s neurotic praise singers are forced to confront the reality of how rotten, mean, selfish, cold and calculating Hichilema and his cabinet are as they too suffer the same excruciating hunger, unemployment, poverty, social, economic and political inequalities the UPND government has unleashed in Zambia.

Fundamentally, I stated that Hichilema and the UPND, while in the opposition, used the devious and treacherous strategy of lies and false promises to win the elections. In government, they have contemptuously abandoned this strategy and are now blaming suffering Zambians for creating their own misery because Zambians are lazy, love free things, breed uncontrollably, lack entrepreneurial skills, do not invest, are ignorant and need knowledge and wisdom presumably from Hichilema, and have a wrong mindset, among the
many inferior human attributes Zambians suffer from. Zambians now confront the true philosophy and ideology of Hichilema and his UPND: they are a cold, cruel, extreme right-wing, proto-fascist, conservative, slavery extolling, pro-colonialism, pro-conservative capitalism, pro-imperialism, and are unashamedly and openly puppets of the West.

Hichilema promised Zambians a great cabinet. The world has fundamentally changed, with the US/NATO and their Western allies’ war against Russia in Ukraine, and the rise of Russia itself, India and China as super powers who have made it clear the era of US/NATO and Western domination of the world is over: they are demanding a multipolar world and recognition and respect from the West of their histories, economic and political systems. This means essentially that the Western liberal paradigm and its White Supremacism, racism, colonialism and neo-colonial, capitalist and imperialist organisation and domination of the world is over.

And yet Hichilema’s minister of finance Situmbeko Musokotwane is a die-in- the wool neoliberal dinosaur. The US and its Western allies long buried the so called “Washington Consensus” and today they are busy nationalising the debts of their banks, protecting their key economic and strategic sectors from being overtaken by Russia, India and China in particular, and are advancing the idea and practice that economic sovereignty is national security, no “free trade” nonsense. Musokotwane meanwhile is religiously following and preaching failed neoliberal hogwash.

Musokotwane has lost Zambia vital revenues from the mines, through his indefensible and reckless mining taxation policies and all the goings on in the large mines currently on sale. And yet more than at any time in our history, today Zambia needs every cent it can get from its minerals. He has also lavished maize exporters the removal of government duty on maize exports. He has over generously removed tax from the imports of several mining equipment and technologies. His latest budget has promised relaxed labour laws in special economic zones.

The immense negative and deadly impact of the austerity measures he has unleashed upon Zambia are there for all to see: prices of fuels, food, electricity, transport and rent have all risen rapidly since he became minister of finance. He has become the foremost neoliberal evangelist whose sole political responsibility is to explain away, to “clarify” the economic suffering his government has so savagely unleashed upon Zambians.

You need both the qualities of an idiot of a special type and an educated moron to think, act and behave the way Mtolo Phiri, Hichilema’s minister of agriculture has done, thus far. Of course, like all of Hichilema’s ministers, it is safe to assume there is always something personal for them, in everything they do, which involves large sums of money. They are all capitalists, you see. This man, Mtolo Phiri, is a ball of moronic contradictions. His is a unique
version of incompetence from the rest of Hichilema’s cabinet.

As things are right now, we have no clue, in figures, of how much food the country needs, to feed its near 10 million Zambians who urgently need relief food, and not just maize. In the midst of a hunger
Tsunami his government has cooked up, Mtolo Phiri is celebrating expensive “winter maize” from commercial farmers, completely unconcerned about the price of mealie meal from such pricy maize, for the majority of Zambians among whom the economically active are largely unemployed and most belong to the impoverishing informal sector, which accounts for more than 90 per cent of our GDP. The less said about the chaotic and painful bungling, and suspected massive corruption, of government farming inputs for poor farmers, the better.

Zambia is a mining country. Hichilema could not have chosen a better sycophant in a minister of mines than Paul Kabuswe. This man has the most abiding devotion at insulting the majority of Zambians while simultaneously coldly brushing aside the real concerns of the mass of the people of Zambia. Hichilema chose Paul Kabuswe very well, in another attribute: Kabuswe consistently showers unqualified zombie like adulation on HH. It is him who mostly appears as if he has suspended both his consciousness and conscience, and sublimated these into lavishing fake praise, glory and honour to his Great Leader, Hichilema. I am 100 per cent sure Kabuswe will, like Hakainde Hichilema, do jail time, at some point in time, for the crimes committed while in office. The shambles in our mining sector are a testimony to the enduring unfitness to hold cabinet office, of Paul Kabuswe.

Some had wrongly hoped that Jack Mwiimbu, minister of home affairs and internal security, with his legal education, law practice and many years in the opposition in which he also distinguished himself as a fake fighter for “democracy”, “constitutionalism” and “the rule of
law” would make a great job of his cabinet post. He has turned out to be the worst of the ingratiating, fawning, and right-hand men of Hichilema in committing the very crimes and constitutional vandalism he pretended to hate and fight, when in the opposition. He will be remembered, among many bad things, for aiding and abetting the efforts by his party and government to destroy the Patriotic Front, for presiding over the violation of the constitutional right of opposition parties to assemble peacefully, for sustaining the unconstitutional application by the police of the Public Order Act, for being made to sing, prematurely, eulogies for his Master and Lord, Hakainde Hichilema at the KKIA, over the abominable IMF secured debt restructuring process. More than anybody else in Hichilema’s
cabinet, surely, this man’s inability to disassociate himself from the unconstitutional and criminal conduct of government must weigh very heavily on his conscience.

The less said about Cornelius Mweetwa the better: perhaps it is the illusions of grandeur and television cameras and being frequently sought after by journalists, this man should have been kept where he was, instead of replacing hapless and helpless Chushi Kasanda, as chief government spokesperson. He has rapidly collapsed into a heap of unbelievable rubbish. Even his language sounds disjointed, his sentences irrationally strung together, and he lies with his eyes wide open. Somehow, Cornelius confirms the importance of a possible ministerial induction course, before commencing duties, once such a one is appointed a cabinet minister.

It is hard not to be infected by the sheer beauty, physical strength and stamina of Silvia Masebo, minister of health. She is such a bundle of ministerial energy if only this was knowledgeably, wisely, competently, diplomatically and effectively channelled to mobilizing and allowing the many health professionals in Zambia inside and outside her ministry to pull their resources and weight behind the task of transforming our public health sector, she would be such a great minister. Alas, she is a busybody who steps on everyone’s toes, insults everyone, and achieves nothing much, in the end. It could be that she loves being in the limelight, all the time, mostly for bullish reasons. Zambia’s public health sector is marking time and going backwards, with Silvia Masebo at the helm.

One would expect a new minister of education from a political party which promised to heal the divisions of a very hungry, poor, tribalism infected, explosively divided country to be very careful and wise, and avoid feeding negative stereotypes, of any people, in such a country. Hichilema’s minister of education Douglas Syakalima, when presented with evidence that Luapula Province is the most impoverished of the Zambian provinces, blamed the victims for being poor. In October 2023 Syakalima told parliament that the poverty in Luapula and low enrolment rates even after free education has been implemented were as a result of the poverty of the minds of the people of Luapula. Hate speech could never be so blatantly clearly made. Syakalima essentially labelled the people of Luapula primitive
Neanderthals incapable of appreciating the value of education and consequently they inevitably must be the poorest province in Zambia. His decision to label Luapula thus when it shares similar poverty statistics with Western Province may be part of the UPND strategy of using region and geography, as tools for governing.

By his own admission Elijah Muchima, minister of lands, has failed to root out corruption in our land administration. But, as the cost-of-living crisis intensified, and the majority of Zambians were groaning with hunger and complaining about how expensive life had become, Muchima went beyond the confines of his ministry to assume the function of a government spokesperson. “The cost of living has not risen at all. Who says because of removing street
venders?” Then genius Muchima answered, himself: “That is total nonsense. There is no hardship. People are used to easy life like they were doing it in PF, where people were getting money anyhow, and throwing it away”. Then he says: “This time, work hard, and get your money. The President wants people to be doing something.”

Muchima told the media all this as a response to our eminences in civil society who had demanded that the government should explain what it was doing to address the soaring cost of living that was causing great hardship to Zambians. We see here that Muchima is essentially restating the argument that “poverty” in Zambia is “poverty of the mind”, thus “nationalising” Syakalima’s insult to Luapulans. Apparently only lazy parasites, and these must be largely Patriotic Front people, are complaining about hardships in Zambia today, says Muchima. Apparently UPND supporters and praise singers are thriving: they are not looking for freebies.

We see that Zambians are being bullied to suffer silently by the UPND government because if you complain, you are accused of being just lazy, lover of free things, uncontrollable breeder, lacking in entrepreneurial skills, you do not invest, are ignorant and need knowledge and wisdom presumably from Hichilema, and have a wrong mindset, among the many inferior human attributes you suffer from.

I can go on, and on, and examine the conduct of the entire “Dream Cabinet” of Hakainde Hichilema and it will be found that they are all cut from the same cold, incompetent, selfish and unpatriotic neoliberal cloth. Those I have left out are no better than those I have discussed. Some are worse. Every king or false idol must have their own enablers, intellectuals, academics, choirs and other cultural workers whose job it is to defend, manufacture consent among the masses, and sing praises for the king or false idol. I will find time to present a few of such scum, for Hichilema and the UPND, this I promise. As this cabinet continues to live in their own fantasy “dream land”, Zambia is burning, with hunger, and anger.

Send comments to: banda.azwell@gmail.com.

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