By Alexander K. Vomo
It is of a concern to us citizens of Zambia to hear that the ruling Patriotic Front government has challenged the US Embassy in Zambia to explain to the nation the sanctions UPND Leader Hakainde Hichilema was discussing in the United States of America on behalf of Zambia. PF Media Director Sunday Chanda says reports of sanctions on Zambia by the US through withholding aid must be explained as the ruling party is not aware of the said sanctions. If someone in the government paid attention to the sanction issue, you would understand that HH did not support any of that, and it was a question asked by a person in the attendance and this should not send the government in a panic mode. This did not come from the US government; how do you expect the US Embassy to help you in finding out what HH and his friends discussed on.
I would like to state that the Woodrow Wilson International Center in the USA is the official memorial to the US 28th president, Woodrow Wilson. More than just a collection of marble pillars and famous quotes, the Center is a living memorial, a gathering place for some of the best and brightest scholars and experts from around the world. Their work is the centerpiece of activity and informs the nation’s public policy debates with nonpartisan and relevant research and information. Democracy is built on the notion of an informed and active citizenry. The Wilson Center is engaged in the global dialogue of ideas. More importantly, the Center provides you with the tools and opportunities to join the national conversation. Woodrow Wilson center is a private entity it does not operate by the federal government of the United States of America.
Mr. Hakainde Hichilema did not go to the USA to meet with the 45th President of the United States of America ( Mr. Donald Trump) neither did he go to meet with US government officials, therefore this is very embarrassing to know that as a government you take petty issues to your head and asking the US Embassy to help you with such that does not help to sort out the issues we are facing as a country. The issue at hand is extremely time-sensitive than focusing on HH. As a government, you have a mandate to fix and worry about the economic crisis we are in right now than what did HH eat for dinner last night or where is he going next for campaign so that we can send the police to block him, all this is Tax payers money going to waste every time HH goes to campaign that you have to leash the police in uniform to block him.
As a government lets worry about how we are going to pay our civil servants, lets worry about how we are going to finish the infrastructures that we already borrowed money for but not finished up to now, lets worry about how we are going to put money in people’s pockets that we promised that if you vote for PF, you will have more money in your pockets in 90 days, up to now people are still waiting for their money in the pockets and this is years ago you promised us. This sounds like what the U.S. government promised African-American people after freedom.
The U.S. government’s first reparations plan to compensate African-Americans for the legacy of slavery was 40 acres and a mule a piece that was Gen. William Sherman’s promise to former slaves shortly after the Civil War ended in 1865. His order set aside land on the Georgia and South Carolina coasts for the settlement of thousands of newly freed families. But the promise was quickly recanted, and the land was taken back, with no other plans for reparations.
Since then, the issue has been revisited time and again by leading civil rights activists. In 1963, for example, Martin Luther King Jr., called Sherman’s promise “a check which has come back marked insufficient funds.” King called instead for “a check that will give (African-Americans) upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.” This is the check that us Zambians are demanding from you in office not the worry and the petty things about HH.
HH can not bring investors to Zambia and invest $25.8 billion dollars in his five years in the office, this is a political talk, for those who understand economics will agree with me that a lot of investors are now skeptical about investing in Zambia because of the political conflicts we are having right now, violence, unstable exchange rate and the bloated loans we have borrowed. The focus for the government should be on how to restore investor’s confidence, as well as strengthening political stability and inclusiveness, should be important areas to help prevent future negative cycles of conflict resurgence and economic shocks.
The government has been borrowing for infrastructure development with no plan on how they are going to pay back. Copper, which constitutes 70 per cent of its exports is not in our hands as a country most of it is owned by investors
Political conflicts and other potential problems that have risen in our country are the issues we have to focus on as a government. Right now our debt credit rating by Standard & Poor, Moody’s, Fitch and DBRS is very low we are at Caa2 with negative outlook this means that we are at substantial risks of defaulting our loans from IMF/World Bank as well as the Chinese Banks if we don’t work hard in building our economy back before these loans are due for payments by 2022.
The econometric analysis suggests that political conflict has a profound negative effect on the number of foreign direct investment (FDI) projects and, even more significantly, on their value. A reduction in political conflict and a return to political stability often result in improved economic performance. Conversely, economic growth and development are essential to reduce the risk of conflict.
These issues that slower economic growth could impact a country ability to repay its debts. The government has been borrowing for infrastructure development with no plan on how they are going to pay back. Copper, which constitutes 70 per cent of its exports is not in our hands as a country most of it is owned by investors, one of the reasons it will be hard to pay back what we owe, because we do not have a parastatal company that would generate that kind of money to put aside for repaying our loans. Not even ZRA collections can help pay these debts, there is little that is collected on imports by ZRA, if you go to the border post of our country you will see how those customs officers are living a lavish lifestyle with the money that is supposed to go in government coffers.
Plans to refinance these loans to cut the cost of debt service, will be the biggest mistake and refinancing will be extremely costly.