By Nkonkomalimba Kafunda.
Now that the legal issues over President Edgar Lungu’s eligibility to contest the next elections have been exhausted and settled, it is now time to focus on the job at hand and concentrate on availing Zambian voters with the information, the truth required for them to make informed decisions as they cast their ballots on August 12.
What constitutes truth, in this case, depends on what side of the political divide you belong to. Unfortunately, this divide is largely determined by the availability of bread and who is doing the buttering, and in what quantities.
Clearly, those with government contracts which they would not have in a meritocracy are overly desirous that the status quo is maintained. The enforcement of the rule of law fairly and equitably will take them back to the poverty they have managed to run away from using corruption, thievery, skullduggery, and all other means available to them.
That’s not all. Possibilities of being involuntary guests of the state for uncomfortably long periods of time are causing sleepless nights, what with the momentum the main opposition has come with.
On the other side of the divide are those who cannot afford bread and by extension do not need butter as that is an unnecessary condiment if Kandolo is your staple. This long-suffering majority are only asking for equitable, transparent, competent government made up of selfless men and women of integrity. While achieving utopia is an implausibility, this dystopia of excess and exuberance on hand and poverty and pauperism on the other can be mitigated.
Infrastructure projects using borrowed resources have had an adversely negative effect on the lives of Zambians as debt repayment has been taking up larger and larger chunks of our budget limiting the money supply in circulation. further reducing the amounts available to the people for life’s basic necessities and forcing the government to reduce budgetary allocation to sectors such as education, health, and social protection.
Prices have escalated without a corresponding increase in incomes causing yet more havoc in homes reducing frequency of meals for most families, generally making life a mere existence, a perpetual series of struggles against never-ending ever-increasing turmoil.
Should PF continue? Here are price adjustments and performance indicators in the first five years Mr. Lungu’s presidency. I have deliberately used pre Covid data so that the pandemic is not used as a scapegoat
- Petrol: January 2015, K7.60 January 2020, K17.80 134% increase
- US Dollar: January 2015 K6.45 January 2020 K15. 00 133% depreciation
- Mealie Meal: Zanuary 2015 K68 January 2020 K170 135% increase
- External National Debt:January 2015 $4.7 Billion January 2020 $11.2 B 138% increase
- Inflation: January 2015 7.81% January 2020 13.9% 80% increase
However, there is hope. The election result trajectory since 2011 is cause for opportunism.
In 2011 UPND Alliance leader Hakainde Hichilema had 506,763 votes representing 18.54% of the vote. In 2015 Mr. Hichilema had 780,168 or 47.16% against Mr. lungu’s 807,925 or 48.84%. In 2016 He had 1,760,347 or 47.63% while President Lungu got 1,860,877 or 50.35%.
Now with the inroads made in previous PF strongholds suffering from the same pangs of hunger as the rest of the country the election, if held under free and fair conditions is set to be a landslide victory of epic in fact Mammoth proportions for the Alliance. The PF has been emboldened by people especially chiefs and some members of the clergy, receiving their gifts of money, food, alcohol; and clothing as they campaign but this as they should well know, is their own ‘don’t kubeba’ working in reverse. They should always keep in mind as the heartily disburse these goodies to grinning multitudes that behind every smile there are teeth.