By Sean Tembo
1. As Patriots for Economic Progress (PeP), we wish to remind the Zambian people that as they make their decision on who to vote for in the 12th August general elections, the ability of a given political party to properly manage the economy should be a major consideration. That is because sound management of the Zambian economy is what will create employment for the people, it is what will create business opportunities for the masses, it is what will convert Zambia’s potential into actual wealth so that citizens can lead decent lives.
2. As Patriots for Economic Progress, we wish to remind the Zambian people that the failure of the ruling Patriotic Front political party is evident for all to see. Under the deficient leadership of the PF, the Zambian economy has shrunk from a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about US$29 billion in 2011, to a GDP of approximately US$19 billion in 2020. The cost of living has skyrocketed with the price of most basic commodities such as cooking oil, electricity units, sugar, milk etcetera, being unaffordable to the majority of our citizens whose salaries have remained stagnant. Indeed, the only group of citizens who are thriving today are those who are closely affiliated to President Edgar Lungu as they are given inflated tenders by the President, as well as access to collect money from markets and bus stops, which ends up in their individual pockets instead of the bank accounts of city councils. Every genuine Zambian should have no doubt in their minds that the PF has failed this nation.
3. As Patriots for Economic Progress, we further wish to remind the Zambian people that if we seriously need to turn around the fortunes of this nation, then the main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) and its leader Mr Hakainde Hichilema should not be an option. Just like the PF in 2011, the UPND today have no plan for this country. The proposals for turning around the Zambian economy that have so far been proffered by the UPND leader lack substance and are incapable of implementation. For example, his proposal to borrow about US$3 billion from the International Monitory Fund (IMF) and put this country on an IMF package, as his first order of business if elected President, will only further plunge this already heavily indebted country into further debt, as well as take away our sovereignty and place it in the hands of the IMF. The UPND’s proposal to subsidize the cost of production as a solution to the ever increasing prices, is untenable. Our treasury currently has no money to even meet our debt repayment obligations, witnessed by the recent defaults, so where would Mr Hichilema get the money to subsidize the cost of production in the entire economy? Besides, we tried subsidies in the KK era and they failed. They are simply not sustainable. Additionally, Mr Hakainde Hichilema’s questionable conduct when this nation gave him an opportunity to serve it during the privatization process means that he is unlikely to stop the current plunder of national resources, but would instead promote it, albeit to a new set of beneficiaries. Those who cannot be trusted in small things cannot be trusted in big things. Mr Hichilema failed to acquit himself properly as one of the Negotiating Chairmen of the privatization process and instead of putting the interests of the nation first, he put the interests of his pockets first. Therefore, it is unreasonable for any genuine Zambian to expect that the man who put the interests of his pockets above the interests of the nation when the nation called upon him to play the small role of Negotiating Chairman during the privatization process, will suddenly have a change of heart if elected President. There is no doubt in our minds that an HH presidency would be disastrous for this nation.
4. As Patriots for Economic Progress, we further wish to remind the Zambian people that the majority of the other so-called political leaders that have mushroomed in the past few months, leading a myriad of small parties, are former thieves in either the MMD administration or the PF administration. After they stole enough money to start their own political parties, they today want to portray themselves as saviors. We know that they are former thieves because their so-called businesses only thrive while they are serving in Government, and when they are no longer in Government their businesses crumble and they become overnight paupers. It is therefore fair to conclude that their businesses thrive on theft of public resources. The Zambian people must not allow themselves to be hoodwinked by these charlatans.
5. As Patriots for Economic Progress, we wish to take this opportunity to remind the Zambian people that we are the only political grouping that has consistently and continuously developed and presented alternative solutions to the management of the Zambian economy through our Alternative National Budgets for 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 as well as an Alternative 7th National Development Plan in 2019 and more recently an Alternative Economic Recovery Plan last month. The Zambian people must be reminded that our model for Zambia’s economic management leverages on efficient utilization of our existing potential in sectors such as agriculture, tourism, mining etcetera, by putting Zambians in the forefront in the development of Zambia. The PeP model does not rely on borrowing money from the IMF or implementing unsustainable subsidies, but rather on the sealing of tax and non-tax revenue leakages so that all money that belongs to the State should end up in the national treasury and not in any individual’s pockets. If true development is what the Zambian people want, then the Patriots for Economic Progress and its leader Mr Sean Tembo should be their only option. Any procrastination will result in serious regret sooner rather than later. Vote wisely on 12th August.