THE socialism system of governance should never be accepted in Zambia because it is associated with absolute power and dictatorship apart from being hostile to private ownership, the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) has warned.
EAZ president Chrispin Mphuku said the socialism ideology promoted dictatorship and that Zambians were not ready to revert to the era of chronic shortages of basic necessities and services which were characteristic of socialist systems.
Dr Mphuku said sustainable development was not possible under a socialist kind of governance because the system did not have respect for private property and that there was a danger that people could easily forfeit their hard earned properties and wealth to the State.
Responding to a Press query, Dr Mphuku said Zambia could not thrive under socialism because such a system, which Rainbow Party leader Wynter Kabimba is currently preaching and asking Zambians to embrace could come with the dreaded price controls which were common in the one-party regime of Dr Kenneth Kaunda.
He said politicians should avoid imposing socialism as a means of governing the country but should rather ensure that capitalism work ed by creating an indigenous class of capitalists in Zambia.
Dr Mphuku explained that the fact that Zambia was pursuing capitalist system of governance did not mean that the State should be excluded from participating in the economic affairs of the country.
He said while Zambia was promoting private sector ownership, there was need for the State to play its role in infrastructure development such as the construction of roads, rails and dams for its citizens.
“It is clear globally that socialist countries have failed to achieve higher development levels like that which has prevailed in capitalist countries. If we are to remain on this economic growth path, we should continue to uphold private ownership because it promotes private agents to invest and innovate which are the catalysts of the growth of the economy. Some of our politicians are claiming that capitalism has failed but let them know that the evils of socialism are worse than those of capitalism. Zambia should not go back to the era of price controls and shortages of basic necessities,” Dr Mphuka said.
He explained that socialism was direct control and management of industries and social services by political leaders while capitalism was an economic system and a mode of production in which trade and the means of production were largely privately owned
Dr Mphuka explained that a socialist state controlled prices of goods and services which made it difficult for entrepreneurs to initiate their own businesses.
He said the challenge Zambia had was not to impose socialism but instead ensure that capitalism worked by creating an indigenous class of capitalists in Zambia.
“This can be done by putting in place rules that will demand that a certain percentage of shares of enterprise must be owned by locals. Training in entrepreneurship also remains vital. The state can play a key role in opening up even investing in new areas that it deems critical for instance putting up a steel plant or a chemical plant that would appear unprofitable to the private sector but is strategically important for national development and economic growth,” Dr Mphuka said.
He said capitalist regimes often offered equal opportunity.
“Equity in capitalist regime is normally aimed at through progressive taxation which ensures that the rich pay a proportionately higher tax than the poor while at the same time government makes safety nets to give transfers or benefits to the unemployed and the poor,” Dr Mphuka said.