Socialist govt will create jobs in 2021 – M’membe

By Staff Reporter

The Socialist Party says addressing Zambia’s high unemployment attributed to machines replacing human labour can only be done by effectively growing peasant agriculture, which accounts for 85 per cent of the country’s labour force but contributes nine per cent to the Gross Domestic Product.

In a statement posted on the party’s social media pages on Wednesday evening, Socialist Party 2021 presidential candidate and deputy general secretary, Dr Fred M’membe cautioned that the country would be in problems if it did not address the serious problem of joblessness.

“We have a very serious problem about jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs! If we don’t sort out the problem of jobs, we are in problems. Young people are coming out of school; they can’t find jobs. They are coming out of colleges; they can’t find jobs. There is hope that, you know, with more foreign investment jobs will be created,” Dr M’membe said. “But there will be no jobs created by foreign investors. No matter how many foreign investors we bring into the mining sector, there will be no jobs. Things have changed. Those armies of miners we used to have, we will never see them again. Those jobs have been taken over by machines, excavators. One excavator wipes out 1, 000, 2, 000, 3, 000 jobs.”

He pointed out that there wuld never be a huge number of workers in any sector due to the introduction of machines.

“Equally, in commercial agriculture, we used to have huge camps of workers around a farm. We will never have those big camps of workers around farms, because one small tractor, one small combine harvester takes away thousands of farm workers’ jobs. Banks: we used to have full banking halls, full of clerks. We used to have teals from one end of the wall to the other and on each teal there is a teller,” he observed. “Today you go into the banking halls, they are empty. The jobs have been taken over by a machine, the ATM. The ATM doesn’t go on maternity leave. The ATM does not attend funerals; it has got no relatives. The ATM has no lunch break. The ATM doesn’t go on study leave; it simply works. It’s not possible for capitalism to address this issue of jobs.”

He elaborated that with the capitalist system’s incapability to address the issue of jobs, there was need to look outside this system.

“We have to look outside the capitalist system because the current unemployment rate is inherent in the capitalist system; production for profits and not to satisfy human needs. For us the solution will only come from peasant agriculture. And agriculture in general today, is only contributing 9 per cent or so of our GDP. But it is deploying or we have deployed 85 per cent of our workforce in agriculture, producing 9 per cent of the GDP. We have 6 per cent of our work force deployed in industry producing 24 per cent of our GDP. We have 9 per cent of our work force deployed in services, producing 67 per cent of the GDP,” Dr M’membe specified. “But services and industry can no longer take any people. The only sector that can take people is peasant agriculture, and by peasant agriculture, we are not saying everybody should be carrying a kambwili on their shoulders. I don’t mean the brother who is in politics, I mean that little instrument we use to plough, the hoe. We will also need people to produce vet medicines, chemicals for crops that will also create jobs in those sectors.”

Dr M’membe noted further that peasant agriculture would also need serious marketing for inputs and outputs.

“That will also create jobs in those areas for marketers, drivers, mechanics and other logistics experts. We will also need to produce manufactured goods out of farm produce. There is no need for cotton produced in Eastern Province just to leave the country and be processed elsewhere. We need clothes to start coming out of Eastern Province. We will need manufacturing industry; tailors, designers to start making clothes and we export clothes from the cotton grown by our people in Eastern Province,” said Dr M’membe. “So, you can see that more jobs will be created around peasant agriculture than just the tilling of the land. For us, that’s the way out. We need to put more and more resources, more and more attention, more and more effort into peasant agriculture. We are the third hungriest country in the world today, after Chad and Central African Republic. What does that mean? It means we are not utilising the resources God has given us in terms of land, water and a young population. Jobs can be created and will be created by the Socialist government in 2021.”