Photo: Supporters of the Socialist Party of Zambia. Credit — Dr. Fred M’membe
The Party for Socialism and Liberation strongly condemns the brutal attack on April 8 against a public meeting organized by the Socialist Party of Zambia, and the subsequent arrest of party president Dr. Fred M’membe on false charges. The assault, carried out by members of the ruling United Party for National Development, came amid an election campaign. This is a cowardly attempt to suppress the rising popularity of the Socialist Party of Zambia, which fights for the rights of workers and the poor.
The U.S. government views Zambia as an arena to conduct its strategy of “great power competition” against China. This includes using Zambia as its base for the recent “Summit for Democracy” – a soft-power tool designed to sharpen the new Cold War atmosphere around the globe. The “World Liberty Congress”, a regime-change operation with ties to Western intelligence circles, is also attempting to use Zambia as a base to train activists to overthrow anti-imperialist governments in Africa, Latin America and elsewhere. As long as the UPND government is on its side in this perilous new Cold War, the United States is happy to turn a blind eye to the violent political repression it carries out despite its empty rhetoric about “human rights.”
The Socialist Party has been a resolute voice against Zambia becoming a pawn in the game of U.S. imperialism to control the world for a tiny elite. Their clear voice is undoubtedly dangerous to the ruling party, who hopes to confuse the working class and peasantry.
Absurdly, the police arrested the victims of the attack, not the attackers. The day after the assault, police announced that M’membe along with Saili Chita and Daniel Mumba would be charged with assault, with an additional bogus firearm charge leveled against M’membe. He explained:
“The UPND cadres who attacked us are not being arrested, they are not in any way being questioned…I was myself assaulted in front of police officers, I was threatened in front of police officers at the police station. This is the type of policing we are seeing today … ”
The UPND government of president Hakainde Hichilema has ignored the well being of the people of Zambia in the interests of big corporations and western governments. Violence and repression is its only option to prevent alternative political forces from challenging its power.
Clearly, the Socialist Party of Zambia’s program of pro-people development is considered a danger to the entrenched power of the elite. We demand an end to the physical and legal attacks on the Socialist Party, its members and leaders.