Socialist Party changes strategy ahead of first national congress

By Staff Reporter

Dr Fred M’membe says the socialist party has trained a lot of people internally and externally over the last year and these are forming the party structures country wide ahead of the first national congress this year.

And Dr M’membe has asked Socialist Party members not to rattle slogans in his name because he is against personality cult leadership.

Addressing excited Socialist Party leaders from Western, Central, Eastern and Southern provinces at Samora Machel House in Lusaka recently, Dr M’membe, the Socialist Party’s 2021 presidential candidate as well as deputy general secretary, also disclosed that women constitute 70 per cent of the working class party’s membership base.

“We are getting into the second phase of our work,” Dr M’membe said. “We have trained so many people over the last one year.”

He explained that the Socialist Party would always emphasise that the recruitment of members must be accompanied by a process of exposing these cadres to an ideological course in socialism theory and practice.

“The struggle is not easy,” Dr M’membe told the attentive party comrades. “To recruit members we have to take them through the ideological course.”

Dr M’membe reiterated that he was not a politician and that most of the members of the Socialist Party were also not politicians but that all of them had to collectively learn the art of doing politics without being politicians.

“Whether we have the people to do the work or not, we have to do the work,” Dr M’membe continued. “We are a party of the working class that is contesting to seize state power.

You can’t have a revolution without the seizure of state power.”

And hinting at the Socialist Party’s first national congress, Dr M’membe urged party comrades to take the issue of branch formation seriously because well-organised branches determine the quality of the party’s central committee.

The Socialist Party (Zambia) does not have a central committee yet.

“Without branches there will be no central committee,” he said. “Socialist parties don’t choose their leaders like these petty bourgeoisie parties….Without branches you can’t have a good congress and without a good congress, you cannot have a good party.”

Dr M’membe stressed that a poorly-organised congress was a danger to any party.

“We can’t go to congress without preparation,” Dr M’membe said. “With this work done, we can go and organise the branches better.”

But Dr M’membe said he accepted to be the Socialist Party’s presidential candidate during the 2021 general elections as a revolutionary cadre and was therefore not interested in personality cult leadership.

“I don’t like personality cults,” he said after the gathering shouted a ‘Viva Fred M’membe’ slogan. “Never do slogans in my name.”

Dr M’membe said neither he nor the party’s general secretary and 2021 presidential running mate, Dr Cosmas Musumali, own the Socialist Party and should as such not be projected as the most important people within the party.

“Without people you are nothing,” he counselled. “Comrade Cosmas where he is there, he is nothing. Where I am here, I am nothing. What is important is all of you here….I don’t want anybody to rattle slogans in my name. We are not the owners of this party and sometimes, you can make us start thinking of ourselves as being important. It can go to someone’s head and they think ‘I am the most important’.”

Dr M’membe disclosed that this was the socialist ideological principle they embraced with Dr Musumali when they joined the anti-apartheid struggle through the African National Congress (ANC) at about the age of 20.

“Even at the congress, there will be no high table,” said Dr M’membe.

Dr Musumali who had been taking the provincial party leaders through training in branch formation also added: “The focus must be with the people. The real power lies with the people. So, let us be careful even in the slogans, songs.”

The Socialist Party will in the next few days on March 31 be marking a year since its ‘thunderous’ launch at Kingfisher Lodge in Lusaka’s Jesmondine area..