It is that our elections last year, on August 12, were a vote of protest against the chronic hunger, extreme poverty, widespread unemployment, grotesque inequalities which are the conditions of more than 70% of Zambians. Certainly, the Patriotic Front (PF) and its president Edgar Chagwa Lungu had become little gods terrorizing all those who did not worship them, flouting their ill-gotten riches, destroying all credibility in our governmental institutions which had survived 30 years of neoliberal decadence. ; many Zambians wanted them to leave the government. But, who are elections and liberal democracy in Zambia for?
We must all defend our human rights and fundamental freedoms. They are not gifts given to human beings by politicians in government; they are what define and give meaning to human life. Without them, even with a full stomach, a human being is not complete. To think freely, to have or not to have a religion, faith or belief, to freely express thoughts and opinions in any form, to come together with others to further legal goals, to associate with others to promote common social and political interests. objectives, to move and settle freely anywhere, to vote, to be eligible for any office, to obtain employment, etc., are, all taken together, indivisible fundamental human rights which every human being has simply because he is human.
Having a name, citizenship, family, community, education, job, housing, food, clothing, air, water, health, culture, recreation and all other material and immaterial resources essential and necessary for a full life are all basic human rights that every human being should have. Governments must promote, guarantee, defend and promote these rights for all human beings. Taken together, combined, all these human rights and many more contribute to a full human life; a life lived in conditions where justice, peace, and therefore happiness and love can flourish among human beings. Take away even a small fraction of any of these rights and injustice, ignorance, inequality, poverty, unemployment, anger, hatred, violence and wars and many of these evils suddenly appear in human societies.
These fundamental rights come neither from the East, nor from the West, nor from the South, nor from the North. They are neither African, nor European, nor Asian, nor of any race. They are simply what makes every human being human: take anything away from any of them, and you sow the seeds of all kinds of evil in human societies.
We now know that in every human heart beats the desire to live a full life with all the basic human rights described above, and most sane human beings want justice, freedom, peace and love. . They want a life lived in happiness. Most human beings want to be recognized and respected as fully human and truly alive. This is not possible if one of their basic human rights is taken away from them by other human beings or governments.
It takes an incredibly unique mentally retarded person not to understand that it is impossible to have and enjoy, as an individual, all these rights alone, outside of human society, in isolation. It is impossible to be fully human and live alone. Human beings only consummate all their fundamental human rights in communion, in a community, with other human beings. If we keep in mind that to be human means to have all of these rights without any of them being diminished, it means that we can only be truly alive and fully human when we live in a community of beings humans who have all these rights, without exception! We Zambians know very well how unhappy one is on the inside, if one is successful alone in a family of poor members. You can decide to physically isolate yourself from all your family members to avoid sharing their problems with you but you cannot erase them, every second of your life, mind, consciousness and conscience. It just erases the possibility that you, the only successful one, are truly happy all the time. It’s a very simple basic truth: only those who are truly selfish and unempathetic, and therefore truly evil, can live happily surrounded by poor struggling people.
We humans are also defined by the living conditions of other human beings, no matter how close or far those other human beings may be to us. From birth to death, we need each other, all fully human as they have all their fundamental rights intact, to truly live a happy, full and enjoyable life together. Being happy alone because only you have most basic rights when many don’t is what we learn in society, it’s not intrinsic to who we are. Supporting the false facade of so-called happiness and peace is what “liberal democracy” is, western liberal democracy.
Born around the same time in human history in the part of the world now called “Western Europe” where individuals could suddenly amass more wealth than kings and queens, “liberal democracy” is the belief centered on individual selfishness and private greed – it is the idea that the individual in society is supreme, largely the white male individual as well. This is the period in human history where white men who were not part of royal families started to be very wealthy and hated the idea that wealthy as they were they were always controlled and ruled by those who inherited wealth and political power by blood, through monarchies.
It is true that it is repugnant and simply false the idea that because you were born into any royal family, including the British royal family, you are different, as a human being put it, from a beggar or a street child in Lusaka! You are all human beings, and to be at peace, if you have a conscience, you must fight and remove the living conditions that make many children available for begging in Zambia. “Liberalism” was also born to assuage the sense of guilt of selfish, greedy, evil human beings who amass wealth at the expense of other human beings. The Queen of England, you see, is no more or less human than the dirtiest ash-mouthed street urchin in Lusaka, Zambia, no matter what the Queen thinks or feels: those are all two human beings, both desiring justice, peace, love and happiness: they are equal!
On August 12 last year, the majority of poor Zambians actually voted to abolish conditions that diminish the life of anonymity for being a street child, denial of economic and social citizenship because one is poor, the absence of a functional, happy and loving family because everyone is always hungry and because no one around them has a job, nor can find one. They voted to belong to a peaceful productive community and for education, decent housing, enough money to buy clothes, clean air, quality drinking water, access to quality health, culture, recreation and all other material and immaterial resources essential and necessary for a full life: Zambians voted for all basic human rights.
Unfortunately, and sadly, Zambia is a faded version of a carbon copy of “liberal democracy” – we can never be original because the true liberals of the world – the billionaires of the world – have already curved the Earth for them- themselves and relegated us to a parasitic existence on the crumbs that fall from their tables after making massive profits on our natural resources and cheap labor. Our elections are a way to select from among us those who can best oversee us, as a poor but resource-rich country and economy, on behalf of the true liberals of the world: the global millionaires and billionaires.
Certainly, the national political climate is less violent and some of our political rights that were taken away from us seem to have been restored. Many parents are happy that their children can go to primary and secondary school without having to pay school fees directly. The young people among the more than 40,000 people employed in our public health and education sectors must be happy too. There is the expanded value of the Constituency Development Fund – it ignites hope in many young hearts; if only they can access it.
But, sadly, our version of “liberal democracy” designed to enrich the few through the votes of the many remains our singular obstacle to unleashing our collective national genius and our potential to give every Zambian a full life.
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