Friday, June 21, 2024

Sweet Potatoes, Water melons sour PF campaign.

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By Nkonkomalimba Kafunda

Zambia’s ruling Patriotic Front faces an uphill battle of herculean proportions as it attempts to convince a disenchanted populace, to give it a third five year mandate in Africa’s second largest copper producer, at elections scheduled for August 12, 2021.

The reasons for the massive countrywide disillusion are as varied as they are valid. For starters basic needs such as food, though widely available have become unaffordable. With inflation way above the targeted 6-8% and now at 24%, according to the governments own Statistics Agency , a currency that has lost over 150% of it’s value in the past ten years the PF has been in power, the people a convinced it is time to change the driver as the bus takes an uncertain route riddled with hunger, destitution and abject poverty.

The country has an external public debt of around US$12.7 billion dollars ostensibly borrowed for infrastructure projects but with no tangible benefits to show, leading t opposition front runner Hakainde Hichilema to quip that the money was either misused, misapplied or it shows on our national balance sheet but never came here at all.

The country in November last year became the first to default on its obligations in the Covid era in Africa. The debt is shrouded in mystery. Apart from the $3 billion Eurobond whose last payment is due in 2025, little is known about the massive Chinese debt which is estimated at about 45% of the total debt stock to an extent that when Eurobond holders asked to availed with information on the country’s total indebtedness, as a condition to restructure the bonds, they were asked to sign non disclosure agreements a request they wisely declined.

Allegations of high level graft are ubiquitous but arrests and prosecutions seldom. Two serving ministers have been acquitted in almost comical circumstances, in one case a chief prosecution witness, an investigating officer from the country’s largely compromised Anti Corruption Commission told the court that he did not know whey the erring minister was in court as the whole case lacked prosecutorial merit, in his opinion. As a result of such cases and other abuses the people have lost confidence in intuitions of governance, the judiciary top among them.

Unemployment is another problem. Official figures are hard to find but observers put it at about 70%. Most young people are now informal traders selling anything from mobile phone money transfers and talk time to secondhand clothes.

Furthermore, the pandemic has recently resurged killing countless citizen as the healthcare system has been overwhelmed at all levels. Oxygen, drugs and medical personnel are all in short supply.

The ruling party, however, seems to have a treasure trove. Money and donations ranging from buses for youth clubs to sewing machines for the women folk are liberally distributed. The people gladly receive the goodies in what has become known as the watermelon formula, in reference to the green colour of the ruling party and the red of the main opposition. The recipients are green on the outside but red deep down inside and will vote in that fashion. Additionally, The PF sometimes can be it’s own worst enemy. Remarks by the party Chairman that Zambians should eat sweet potatoes if they can’t afford bread have endeared the party to no one. Instead they have been taken as a marks of arrogance from a party in the lap of luxury, exuberance and extravagance mocking voters wallowing SAin poverty and pauperism.

31 COMMENTS

  1. It’s one of the most famous quotes in history. At some point around 1789, when being told that her French subjects had no bread,
    Marie-Antoinette (bride of France’s King Louis XVI) supposedly sniffed, “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”—“Let them eat cake.”
    With that callous remark, the queen became a hated symbol of the decadent monarchy and fueled the revolution that would cause her to (literally)
    lose her head several years later. But did Marie-Antoinette really say those infuriating words? Not according to historians. Lady Antonia Fraser,
    author of a biography of the French queen, believes the quote would have been highly uncharacteristic of Marie-Antoinette,
    an intelligent woman who donated generously to charitable causes and, despite her own undeniably lavish lifestyle,…

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  2. It is inaccurate to see doom and gloom everywhere in the country. The traffic jams are omnipresent, implying fuel shortages have been eliminated. Queues for essential commodities have completely disappeared. Basic commodities are available everywhere. The Covid-19 pandemic has created new problems. These Covid-19 related social and economic will also be eliminated as soon as possible. The impact of the drought on the social and economic situation in the country was drastic but here again the recovery has been beyond imagination. Take time to impress vampires and vultures. Take time to scare investors. Take time to listen to your voice.

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  3. When The die is cast, Hallucinations become an order of the day, to those who hallucinate it is often in their grey matter to think that their utterances do make sense when in the actual sense it is the opposite. Zambians are not a people to be taken for a ride, they understand the seasons. ” East Kandolo if bread is a luxually,” what an insult!

  4. Yawn!!! Lies and propaganda. The one who faces uphill battle is one who has lost election over 5 times. I am kz and winning elections come naturally to me. Don’t believe me? Wait for August

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  5. When i see massive construction of personal houses, I praise GOD for allowing PF under ECL to rule this Nation. My vote PF.

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  6. This song that PF has messed up the economy by looking at the exchange rate, higher prices of food stuffs, inflation and high unemployment levels and debt stock need to be put in the right context.
    Yes PF inherited some reserves to the tune of US 3 billion and very low debt of about 1.5Billion and inflation and exchange rate below 10%. I’m not very certain about these statistics but l think they should be somewhere close to what I’ve stated. However it’s critical to note that the economy was not strong even with the statistics given because there was no strong export base to support growth of foreign reserves and increase employment levels. With the external shocks endured in the last 8 years like climate change, low copper price, serious drought and floods, army worms and now…

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  7. covid, Zambia would still find itself in this position with wiped out foreign reserves, high debt stock this time for consumption and high exchange rate, high unemployment levels , inflation and high cost of living. In fact had PF not made a serious attempt at restructuring the economy through infrastructure development, opening up the economy and reforms in revenue collection system ,the situation would have been worse and would probably be talking of inflation and exchange rate of about 50% and ZMW50/ 1US $.

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  8. Within 5 years they have become so rich and arrogant that they have bought helicopters …you have become poorer and they are telling you to eat kandolo.

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  9. kz and the ignorant private citizen, note that iam one of the first people to support sata and PF at its birth , though sata was really creditable at all, as he is the one who promoted the Chiluba thirdwith a view to chase every one and take over from Chiluba, but Chiluba brought in Levy.
    The truth is PF and Lungu has totally failed to manage this economy due to fools around him like yourselves bakandile , also that he is a bad lawyer , as this is a third term he is pushing which he will note gate , also that the economy can speak for itself and continued lack of vision and economic mismanagement , which only the ignorant fools , not wise men , youth and women can support , look at the majority poor civil servants and police who live by lies and corruption

    wait and see

  10. #1  Dr. Makasa Kasonde (Private Citizen)
     July 2, 2021 At 7:58 am

    “……Queues for essential commodities have completely disappeared. Basic commodities are available everywhere……”

    Ba Dr,
    The writer clearly states inflation at 24% , what do you think will happen to the prices of those commodities that are everywhere ???

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  11. # 5 David

     “……With the external shocks endured in the last 8 years like climate change, low copper price, serious drought and floods, army worms and now………”

    Almost all past governments have faced those problems at one time or another , however no other government has had so much money at their disposal to improve the economy of Zambians like the PF government has , yet every economic indicator is and has been negative

  12. High exchange rate has obviously created a challenge for debt servicing and mainly affected import traders and general increase of goods because we’re an import oriented country. However there is growing number of cross border traders that have targeted the DRC Market and supplying agriculture related products and this has helped to cushion the impact created by the external pressures on the economy.

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  13. #9 Spaka
    I think it’s not fair to compare 20 years of MMD to 10 years of PF the dynamics are different. What we see as bad economic indicators are a product of structural imbalances in the economy that are historical in nature once exposed to the serious external factors l have alluded to earlier as well as a product of work in progress expected when you’ve a major shift in the manner you manage the economy. PF has embarked on transformational agenda in building a robust and resilient economy and the results can not be seen now due to unprecedented pressures exerted on the economy as well as bad work culture we have been accustomed to for long.

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  14. @David, In fact the opposite is true that PF are working on short term than long term. For Example, what is the correct price of fuel given all the economic indicators? What measures have been put in place for the long-term turn around of all that the economy is experiencing. The roads constructed are worn out even before any industry is created in Nchelenge. Look at the policies in mining sector, they are all short term, try to get as much tax from foreign mining firms rather than consider the long term measures that will increas jobs and production. Nowander with the highest copper prices ever, the country cant see the benefits through FDI and stable exchange rates

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  15. MMD inherited almost nothing, built roads, primary schools,secondary schools, colleges, hospitals and left 3 Billion in reserves and 2030 vision for Zambia. PF in 15 years…

  16. It’s most disappointing seeing comments that try to imply are intelligent yet they only bring out the worst of people’s alignment to a government that is failing it’s people. It’s even more disappointing to have someone pride himself to be an election fixer because that is his game. There’s no end to the level of puppeting in this country. Fifty-seven years after independence and we should be debating about bread and sweet potatoes? That shows you the level of mediocrity we’re still dealing with.

  17. Zambia is country of pretenders. All who are above 40 and grew up in the village or high density of towns ate kandolo and cassava as bf. Children carried same kandolo to school for break time. We need to come out of the cacoon and face reality. Why should we be conditioned all main meals must have nshima as part of menu? Why should we be conditioned that breakfast must consist of bread as part of menu? The gist of the matter is to look at alternatives. No wonder we can’t even grow vegetables in our backyard gardens to cut down on household expenditure and when the going is tough we blame govt.

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  18. # 14 David

    No one disputes the need for infrastructure built by PF , the transformational agenda as you put it ………

    But we said , and have always said , this transformational agenda needs to be sustainable. Half of those roads and buildings should have waited while projects to cut imports , drive exports and creat jobs should have been made a priority.

  19. NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CLUELESS HYENA KAIZA and this Dr. Makasa Kasonde (Private Citizen)…same birds…SAME SAME SAME…. Who ever taught these LUNATIC MISFITS how to purchase BUNDLES and BLOG did a DIS-SERVICE TO HUMANITY!!!

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  20. Mutulangóma ARE YOU ALSO JOINING KAIZA and Dr Makasa… Why are you dodging the fact that PF has messed up the Economy. That is the issue. Sometimes it only takes just a BIT of intelligence before you comment

  21. @ Dr Makasa – very strange ‘analysis’ you present, curiously devoid of the real issues. The article is referring to basically the lack of power to purchase for many, not the availability of goods (mostly imported as it were, as we are a ‘retail’ country) The indebtedness, the high unemployment rate, which invariably affects the purchasing power and enhances poverty. The lack of accountability as seen from several Auditor General’s reports year after year. Hardly anyone brought to book – yet billions gone missing. Revenue collection has increased over the years – including through the so many Toll Gates (many of which are not necessary but used for ‘fundraising’.) But this collection has not tallied with expenditure on essential services like health and education. These are what to…

  22. This should be by choice not because one cannot afford bread. We eat Kandolo even when we can afford bread. But to be told to substitute because someone has messes up is another thing. Your children should eat cheap staff because that is all the parent can afford not becaseeu the parent has taken the salary to jamerson, that is immoral!

  23. @17 Bululu

    MMD didn’t build any colleges, hospitals or roads worth talking about. Even the reserves were not as a result of serious industrialisation drive, it came about as a result of debt forgiveness and high copper prices. MMD left the reserves of about $3 Bilion and lower exchange rate but with a weak and small economy to withstand major external shocks. Just US alone has printed over 3trillion to cushion the social economic impact caused by corona. Other major economies have used relief packages to reduce the impact of this unprecedented challenge just to demonstrate that you need a very strong economy to record serious growth and pull the population out of poverty. For instance PF had to import power to the tune of US1Billion in 2015 drought when the kariba had dried up yet in…

  24. 20 years MMD couldn’t expand the power generation capacity yet they knew about the impending power crisis.

  25. #26  David 
    July 2, 2021 At 1:52 pm

    “…20 years MMD couldn’t expand the power generation capacity yet they knew about the impending power crisis…”

    Not true ,

    Kariba rehabilitation and batoka were MMD creations which were in the pipeline……..

  26. # 20 Spaka
    There is no dispute that PF had overborrowed for infrastructure generally and corruption is rife l suppose but we needed to do this and also reform the sectors including tax revenue mobilisation. You’re not able to see the positive outcome of the reforms because the external impact has been too much to show favourable statistics however the situation would have been worse in my view had they not attempted to restructure the imbalances that have inhibited real growth over the years.

  27. What did we expect being governed by drunkards, from the top, to minister’s, advisers, PSs, MPs, mayors, DCs, Bank governors, Parastal managers etc etc. Everything of them is a drunkard. No skopo.

  28. Be careful with sweet potatoes in Zambia. The bembas dont only eat them they use them for satire. Sata was once called a sweet potato that doesnt stretch because he was too conservative

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