PF threatened by newly-registered Socialist Party’s grassroots mobilisation approach, says Fr Luonde
By Staff Reporter
THE recently-registered Socialist Party says it is becoming a target of the PF leadership’s Frederick Chiluba-led MMD Zero Option-style political slander because the Leftist-oriented formation was a major threat to the ruling establishment and its funders.
Commenting on the sustained accusations and attacks against the Socialist Party, which was only registered in October last year after more than a year-long validation struggle with the Zambian government, Fr Richard Luonde, the party’s spokesperson, said such attacks were not new on the local political scene and that they will not go away soon.
“The sustained accusations and attacks on newly-formed Socialist Party as reported in the Daily Nation are not new on Zambia’s political scene and will not go away soon. The newspaper in its calculated approach, interviews targeted individuals and this reflects that the paper is not alone in the project,” Fr Luonde said in an interview. “The ruling government has deliberately blurred the distinction between itself and the ruling party. It is worrying that the ruling party militia has assumed the role of the state and the alleged expose is calculated to stop the activities of the Socialist Party as was reported and quoted by the Mandevu PF leadership. The ruling militia wants to use this alleged data to cause mayhem.”
He said Zambia’s recent politics was characterised by unfounded allegations and accusations often targeting personalities and entities considered a ‘threat’ to the ruling establishment and its financiers.
“Threat here refers to potential government through the electoral system. In February 1993, the MMD government-owned Times of Zambia reported that a plot by the former ruling party, UNIP, to overthrow the government, referred to as Black Mamba or Zero Option had been uncovered,” Fr Luonde recollected. “26 citizens that included late Major Wezi Kaunda and Cuthbert Ng’uni had been arrested and charged with capital offences. However, no evidence was provided in court. The government insisted the conduct of the 26 posed a serious national threat.”
He noted that the PF government also had the misfortune of being accused by the United Party for National Development (UPND) of training militias in Sudan, which too, according to the Socialist Party, lacked evidence.
“It is clear that Zambia’s political landscape provides for rumours more than anything else and grossly bent at discrediting political opponents and it is often serious when the accusations comes from the ruling party and government acts quickly as there is no distinction between the two for their survival,” Fr Luonde pointed out. “The recent accusations on the Socialist Party [of Zambia] as reported in the Daily Nation, albeit falls under the description above, unfounded rumours. Socialist Party will not escape these accusations and history shows that they have been levelled at seriously organised parties of the time. Socialist Party should pride itself of this strength.”
Fr Luonde further said the Socialist Party has also come with fresh breath or ideas of political management with leftist orientation that is growing in Europe and other areas where the pangs of capitalism have hit hard.
“One need not be a rocket scientist to appreciate the inroads of socialism in the 21st century. The party organises itself through grassroots recruitment where the people own the party and not the political elite. This is of fundamental importance to the growth which has not been seen in Zambia,” he continued. “The people are trained in political ideology and political management to avoid them being potential political mercenaries as experienced from the ruling PF and other political parties.”
Fr Luonde said those in the Socialist Party will not be apologetic for being socialists influenced by the Marxist-Leninist ideologies as well as those of other progressives.
“We make no apologies that we are socialist! Our fundamental values are anchored on Equity, Humility, Honesty and International solidarity,” said Fr Luonde. “Our existence functions around Justice, Equity and Peace. The party abhors violence of whatever kind. The struggle continues.”