By Mwine Lubemba
When Anderson Mazoka formed the UPND, I was pleased. Finally here was an opportunity to have an engineer as Head of State. I have always given Andy’s young man Hakainde Hichilema, the benefit of doubt. I’ve always assumed he is a believer in the free market when he says he is a wealthy businessman capable of turning round the economy. It never crossed my mind he could be power hungry— to the extent he would want to lie his way into State House at Whatever cost.
I’ve always thought Hichilema understands how countries and its people become rich and accumulate wealth.
I’ve always thought he would know the difference between Marxist-socialism and Andy’s free market capitalism. I’ve always thought the young man knows the two systems cannot work in unison.
I’ve always thought Hichilema was, like Andy, also a God fearing man. I’ve always thought he’d know Marxist-socialist are anti-Christ brutes who don’t believe in God. I’ve always thought wrongly.
I could be dead wrong, of course, because I’m not an economist. And to tell you the truth, I’ve no clue what’s taught in a political science class.
Nevertheless, based on common sense, I have no doubt in my mind that the UPND leader is either Marxist –socialist or he has no clue (just as me) what he wants to do with the economy should he be elected President this August. Hakainde must win this election or he is out of the Zambian political scene for good.
But seriously, how do we explain his alliance with the Rainbow Party that at first sight seems a paradox? From full page advertisements; the Rainbow Party is Marxist-socialist and Mr Wynter Kabimba is its supreme leader who has vowed to come and rule all of us into prosperity.
But, when is the last time (after Mazoka) you heard the UPND now in alliance with Rainbow party propose a program that would actually help private business grow and create more jobs? It’s never that.
It’s always a money grab through hidden taxes and regulations to force businesses and successful people to support programs for those who are failing in life. They never blame the individual for their own bad decisions.
They always blame big business and rich people. They’ve painted a conspiracy theory of billionaires, (excluding themselves), plotting to steal from the poor. It’s not true.
Just take a look at the list of policies the Rainbow want to pass and fund: universal free college for all sounds like a good idea, but like their friends in the PF have painfully found out- they had to turn the program into loans, it’ll mean more taxes on the rich to fund the programs, similarly, increased minimum wage to unsustainable amounts will merely translate into fewer jobs being created and this extended paid leave I overheard discussed, will also translate into unprofitable utilization of labour. This Hakainde/ Wynter alliance will merely offer us a host of programs meant to shift the burden of personal responsibility from the poor to the rich.
I also overheard a PhD political science colleague with the Rainbow party expound on his idea of universal pre-school- kindergarten for all. He’s sure this will help children who are most afflicted by poverty.
It’s based on conclusions from a study with his colleagues that, the average child from a high income family hears about 50 million words by the time he’s four in contrast to a child from a poor family who just hears over 15 million words. I’ve a problem with this study – the sampling was totally faulty – it followed only 50 families to conclude the findings.
Before our colleagues haphazardly throw billions and billions of kwacha at a real problem, we might want to make sure it has some impact on finding an actual solution.
But to the constituent UPND and Rainbow Party voter, free kindergarten is enough of a bribe to get their vote.
There’s also this free college for everyone. It’s part of Hakainde and Wynter’s plan as they run for president and probably running mate respectively.
I remember growing up and being told I had to work hard and make good grades and work part time to have pocket money at university.
This caused a bit of financial fear which I channelled into discipline and responsibility for my own education.
With the added help from my parents, a couple of scholarships from RST every year that I passed with good grades I graduated, it wasn’t a problem for me.
And like most students those days, I did not come from a financially privileged family.
Because elites like Wynter and yes even Hakainde, who’ve never actually worked in the real productive private sector environment supervised by tough Afrikaner Boers, they have no idea how their policies negatively impact the people they want to help.
Moreover, if you flood our colleges and institutions with students who otherwise wouldn’t go to these colleges and universities in the first place, then it will devalue a four-year degree.
What’s next—, free masters degrees for all students in Zambia because college graduates are falling behind?
They already are. And as the PF and past governments probably found out, despite their more money-more jobs programs—you can give a loser all the college credits in the world, and if they don’t learn personal responsibility or how to overcome adversity, then they are still going to be losers.
Oooh, in order to pay for all of these bribes, we have to find the money.
So, what better way to pay for these kickbacks than to turn to Zambia’s job creators and strip some of their wealth and revenue, and redistribute it into government run programs?
Now that everyone has a college degree, we can start working on the next crisis: not enough jobs for all these well-educated “useful idiots” who will require even more in government programs and taxes?
If you’ve read the Rainbow manifesto, there is the effort to increase the minimum wage to some undisclosed sum called a “living wage”.
Already there are several studies that point to the fact that the Shamenda minimum wage increases have already eaten into the profit margins of farmers, industries and supermarkets to half as a result of the K1, 200 and K3, 000 per month wage-law and yet Shamenda wonders why the corresponding prices of essential goods and services have gone up.
With the new proposal from the Rainbow Party, farms, stores and industries would operate at zero profit. With no profit, yet still bearing all of the risk, they’ll elect to close a couple of farms, stores and industries or increase prices.
In addition to low copper prices, many miners are shutting down because they can’t keep up with this ‘living wage’ being forced on them.
This may shock you. The average number of mine and mining related employees is over 60,000 – other data quotes even higher numbers.
So, for every mine, farm, industry and store that these Rainbow Party comrades will come to force out of business, they’ll give a few people a raise and cost thousands more their jobs.
And there’s this universal paid-leave initiative by the Rainbow Party.
This invented tragedy by our PhD colleague in the Rainbow Party asserts that parents should have more time to spend with their children once their baby is born.
I have an idea. Calculate career and family planning decisions, in advance, and budget for them. I’m not paying people not to work.
Perhaps I’m a mental retard. I thought the purpose of businesses in Zambia was to pay people commensurate with their skills and knowledge, make a profit and reward their shareholders for their risk.
But with programs such as extended paid leave, it appears these “never-had-a-real-job-folks” in the UPND/Rainbow alliance think that Zambian businesses are the community church charged with philanthropy and community service.
My belief is that a well-run, successful and profitable business MTN, Standard Bank, Airtel etc can in turn be a remarkable tool for community service.
But, as more businesses struggle to hit their margins as a result of government regulation, there will be less goodwill and more division from Zambian businesses.
The UPND and Rainbow alliance leaders must know that successful people are successful because they adapt to the circumstances around them. We’re sure that’s what Hakainde did to accumulate the riches he says he has.
Successful people find ways to succeed despite life’s challenges. Successful people use discipline to continue being successful.
It’s those in poverty, sniffing glue, and addicted on smoking weed and drinking kachasu, who are living a life without purpose or discipline who will continue to fail in greater numbers, because they ask the rest of us to pay more to take care of them because they’re too selfish and irresponsible to take control of their own lives and change.
I can imagine living another life in a socialist economy. The 27 years UNIP socialist experiment was slavery. This reminds me of Milton Friedman when he wrote:
“The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither.
The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both.”
Since privatization and introduction of free market, we’ve lived in a time where consumers have almost unlimited choices and every product you can imagine in the supermarket, socialism is an out-dated economic system that no longer fits with the world we live in today. Socialism requires the intervention and control of the marketplace by an overwhelmingly powerful centralized government.
It penalizes high achievers, rewards laziness and stifles choice—and as late Mathew Phiri would say: Don’t argue—I lived 27 years under socialism.
All Marxist-socialist policies require taking resources from someone who’s earned them and giving them to someone who hasn’t. Even programs that are supposed to be self-funding rarely are because the juice is never quite worth the squeeze.
The real reason we were and still are deeply in debt is because if the middle class was forced to choose between paying for what our government is spending or dramatically cutting back, our governments past and present would’ve been much smaller than they’ve been – and no wonder.
What’ve our governments done well so far? Do you trust RATSA the ZRA? ZNFU?
Are our Police any efficient than previously?
How does the service at UTH, post office or Zamtel and ZESCO compare to, let’s say private hospital, Air Tel or DSTV and MTN? Who wants to watch ZNBC-TV? Who wants a minimum wage job?
Who wants to answer to bureaucrats, jump through their hoops and do as he’s told by people who see him as a nameless, faceless slob dependent upon them for his livelihood? Who wants another PF Party SG and Justice Ministry under Wynter?
This is what socialism offers.
Socialism will take something from someone else who earned it and give it to you and in return, you will do what these socialists want you to do.
You want a people driven constitution? Well—we have it locked up in drawers. If you’re irresponsible, lazy, have a habit of making poor decisions or just need a master, this can seem like a good deal.
You can work a menial job and get paid more (as a minimum wage) than you’re worth! You can go to college, UNZA and CBU and you don’t have to pay for it!
Someone else will give you a place to live, and a meal and book allowance with free health care to cream it! In return, you just have to give up on your pride, your dreams and control of your own life.
People who can take care of themselves don’t need socialism and most of those who have difficulty taking care of themselves would still be better off under a more capitalistic system and you don’t have to be a political scientist or Nobel economist to know this.
The more capitalistic an economy is, the faster it grows.
The faster an economy grows, the more jobs and wealth are created—and the freer the people.
Some statistics show that eighty percent of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. In Zambia, 60 percent live on less than $2.0 per day.
Meanwhile despite this stat and based on the sales numbers of television sets, 96% of the poor in Zambia must surely own televisions, 93% have shelter and if cell phone subscriber numbers are correct then 81% of poor must have cell phones.
Ultimately, it’s the economic growth produced by capitalistic policies after privatization that has allowed Zambia’s poor to do so well compared to the poor in a more socialistic Zambia under UNIP.
Paradoxically, the more we move towards socialism in the name of “helping” the poor, the less poor Zambians will ultimately have.
That’s because the more regulations the UPND/Rainbow alliance will create, the more taxes and the more GOVERNMENT we shall have, and the slower the Zambian economy will grow—and the less free “we the people” will become.
Socialism requires a gargantuan government so it can confiscate property, control behaviour and manage an always growing list of programs to achieve “fairness.” Unfortunately, “fairness” can never be caught because human beings have different levels of talent, skill and effort.
The miner who spent 30 years working his way through the ranks to become a Shift Boss should be paid more than the new guy who just started yesterday.
The man who spent 10 years building his own successful business should make more money than his employees.
The man who invested every extra kwacha he had and does well should make more money than the fellow who used all his extra money on buying trendy bigger Hummer cars and nicer furniture for his house.
But socialists say, “Not so fast. Maybe those guys should make more money, but they’re making too much money.
We should control how much they make. We should decide how much of their money they get to keep. We should control how much of their money is given away and to whom.”
On the other hand, capitalism is freedom.
Capitalism says you should do what you want to do with your own time and either suffer the consequences or reap the rewards.
Sure, we might all cooperate to create and fund a strong military and a police service along with building sewage systems, roads, street lights and stop signs and a few other necessities, but beyond that, let everyone rise and fall as he deserves.
If you want to get a four year degree in humanism Part I, II & III studies at UNZA or CBU? Great, pay for it yourself. You want to live cheaply and work a second job so you can save up money?
You should be able to do that and someone else shouldn’t get the benefits from your hard work. If you want to spend your youth as a street bum selling pirated CDs, as a mini bus call boy all day and sleep in a plastic hut at night, you can do that, but no one else should be asked to help pay for your lifestyle.
Having real freedom means you get to make real choices and when that happens, some of those choices will work out better than others.
The only way to change that is to build a massive government apparatus that makes everyone poorer in return for reducing the amount of natural inequality that will happen when people are allowed to pursue their wildly differing hopes and dreams.
Okay–capitalism is not perfect, but it won’t bankrupt the country, it doesn’t reward failure and it can’t control you like socialism.
To the contrary, in a capitalist system, businesses benefit from voluntary transactions. Do you want to get rich in a capitalist system?
Find a way to give people what they want. If you’re just okay at it, you can make a decent salary. If you’re as good at it as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Aliko Dangote, you can become rich beyond imagination.
Do you want to get rich in a socialist system? Be well connected with Trafigura guys. Make friends or just pay off people who can give you government contracts. Make contributions to politicians so they’ll change the laws to help you and hurt your competitors. Get the government to take money from DBZ and give it to you as part of a bailout.
Which sounds more admirable? Which sounds healthier for our country?
When you give the government unlimited power to create “equality,” you also give it the power to tilt the playing field towards corrupt businesses that have every incentive to try to take advantage of it.
At the end of the day, socialism is for slaves who are willing to give up their freedom for promises that they’ll be given some minimal level of support no matter what.
On the other hand, capitalism is for people who want the freedom to rise or fall based on their own effort. If you know which type of person you are, then you know whether you should be a capitalist or a socialist.
Will Zambians believe they are immune to socialism’s cull on achievement and passively march with their fellow comrades to elect a president from the UPND/Rainbow alliance where freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction?
As socialism replaces capitalism, so it will replace the rich, then the middle class, and then no one will remain to stand up for the poor; because a government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.
This Marxist-socialist alliance will reward failure so as to create a dependence syndrome on government hand-outs by Zambians who are confused, are emotionally immature and lack the discipline to actually create the change they so desire in the 21st century.
Just a thought,