Fred M’membe addresses the issue of unemployment

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Socialist Party announces former Post editor-in-chief and managing director Dr Fred M'membe as it's 2021 presidential candidate

We have a very serious problem about jobs. Jobs, jobs, Jobs; if we don’t sort out the problem of jobs, we are in problems. Young people are coming out of school, they can’t find jobs. They are coming out of colleges, they can’t find jobs. There is hope that, you know, with more foreign investment jobs will be created. But there will be no jobs created by foreign investors. No matter how many foreign investors we bring into the mining sector, there will be no jobs. Things have changed. Those armies of miners we used to have, we will never see them again. Those jobs have been taken over by machines, excavators. One excavator wipes out 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 jobs.

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So the armies we used to have of mineworkers will not be there no matter how much foreign investment we pump into the mining sector. Equally, in commercial agriculture, we used to have huge camps of workers around a farm. We will never have those big camps of workers around farms, because one small tractor, one small combine harvester takes away thousands of farm workers’ jobs. Banks: We used to have full banking halls, full of clerks. We used to have tills from one end of the wall to the other and on each till there is a teller. Today you go into the banking halls, they are empty. The jobs have been taken over by a machine, the ATM. The ATM doesn’t go on maternity leave. The ATM does not attend funerals, it has got no relatives. The ATM has no lunch break. The ATM doesn’t go on study leave, it simply works. It’s not possible for capitalism to address this issue of jobs.

We have to look outside the capitalist system because the current unemployment rate is inherent in the capitalist system; production for profits and not to satisfy human needs. For us the solution will only come from peasant agriculture. And agriculture in general today, is only contributing 9 per cent or so of our GDP. But it is deploying or we have deployed 85 per cent of our workforce in agriculture, producing 9 per cent of the GDP. We have 6 per cent of our work force deployed in industry producing 24 per cent of our GDP. We have 9 per cent of our work force deployed in services, producing 67 per cent of the GDP. But services and industry can no longer take any people.

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The only sector that can take people is peasant agriculture, and by peasant agriculture everybody should be carrying a Kambwili on their shoulders. I don’t mean the brother who is in politics, I mean that little instrument we use to plough, the hoe. We will also need people to produce vet medicines, chemicals for crops that will also create jobs in those sectors.

Peasant agriculture will also need serious marketing for inputs and outputs. That will also create jobs in those areas for marketers, drivers, mechanics and other logistics experts. We will also need to produce manufactured goods out of farm produce. There is no need for cotton produced in Eastern Province just to leave the country and be processed elsewhere. We need clothes to start coming out of Eastern Province. We will need manufacturing industry; tailors, designers to start making clothes and we export clothes from the cotton grown by our people in Eastern Province. So, you can see that more jobs will be created around peasant agriculture than just the tilling of the land. For us that’s the way out.

We need to put more and more resources, more and more attention, more and more effort into peasant agriculture. We are the third hungriest country in the world today, after Chad and Central African Republic. What does that mean? It means we are not utilising the resources God has given us in terms of land, water and a young population. Jobs can be created and will be created by the Socialist government in 2021.

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1 COMMENT

  1. Mmembe, please tell us how you are going to achieve all those dreams. It is easy to say what you want to do, but how you do it matters most!

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