Cosmas Musumali, general secretary and first vice-president of the SOCIALIST Party, believes that while the nomination of finance minister Situmbeko Musokotwane has been met with “euphoria” by many, it represents “business as usual” and would not help erase Zambia’s poverty.
In response to Dr Musokotwane’s appointment, Dr Musumali stated that the new finance minister had been welcomed with open arms.
“Many people have applauded President Hakainde Hichilema for an appropriate appointment. I would say that in some quarters there is even a sense of euphoria over his appointment looking back at the track record he left behind in the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) government.
“So firstly we should appreciate the fact that this is one of the first appointments the new president has made. Our economy is deteriorating by the day and it needs quick action.
“Dr Musokotwane is one of our best and most experienced economists, his appointment is therefore not surprising from what we know from the ideological orientation of the United Party for National Development (UPND), which is pro-big business, especially pro-South African, pro-American, and European multinational cooperation.”
Dr Musumali said that although Dr Musokotwane had “a bright spot” for big businesses, he was not pro “the poor part of our society”.
“Years ago we predicted that micro-economic instability coupled with poor governance would be the downfall of the Patriotic Front (PF) government, and we were spot on with that prediction. Today we are confidently able to predict the downfall of the UPND government.
“The UPND government will, in the medium term stabilise the economy through tight monetary policy
and a more prudent fiscal situation.
We expect increased foreign direct investment in this country. It may even set the economy on an average of five per cent per annum, but this will not be sufficient and it will also not be different from what was achieved by the MMD government.
“This was stability and growth that did not take the masses of our people out of poverty. It was the growth that favoured multinational corporations. It was the growth that favoured the rich, it was the growth that distributed the wealth of this country more to the rich.
“The disparities in terms of income distribution grew as a result of that policy. We are back to the growth, to the stability that severely marginalised the poor, our women and the youth.”
Dr Musumali said the UPND would be following the same policies.
“So let’s forget and ignore the rhetoric that is coming from President Hakainde Hichilema. Let’s listen more to what the finance minister is saying. He is talking about mining, he is talking about big businesses and, as we know, these are industries that are no longer creating sufficient jobs for our people. They are also not decisive in eradicating poverty in Zambia. They are not contributing the revenue that this country needs to improve our wellbeing. In other words, the UPND and Dr Musokotwane are for the rich, they are for big international businesses.
“The masses of our people who voted for the UPND in their millions hoping for a change will sooner or later realise they have been duped again.”
Dr Musumali said that in time the economy might seem to be doing well but that the Zambian poor would not benefit from it.
“The economy might seem to be stabilizing, but the masses of our people will have nothing in it and this is going to be the downfall of the UPND government. This appointment already shows us the direction this country will be taking.