Zambia’s currency, the Kwacha, is rapidly depreciating under the leadership of President Hakainde Hichilema, according to a statement from the Socialist Party. In an open letter to the President, party spokesperson Frank Bwalya accused Hichilema of failing to fulfill his promise of stabilizing the Kwacha after his election. Bwalya noted that Hichilema had claimed the currency would gain value immediately after his election, but instead, it has been in free-fall.
Bwalya argued that Hichilema’s focus on inspiring investor confidence was misplaced and that the strengthening of a local currency required reducing dependence on imported goods while increasing exports. He also stressed the importance of value addition on exports, which he said played a significant role in currency stability.
Bwalya’s comments came after he had previously challenged Hichilema’s claims on a live radio program, where he had argued that the suitability of a currency was not buoyed by investors’ confidence in an individual leader.
“In your response, you essentially maintained that confidence in your leadership was going to give the Kwacha a bullish character. You effectively branded my contribution as ignorant. Now that the Kwacha has depreciated further with you as president, I will not make the mistake of attributing it to lack of confidence in your leadership,” Bwalya said.
The Kwacha’s depreciation has raised concerns about Zambia’s economy, which has been struggling with high inflation and a high debt burden. Observers fear that the situation could worsen if the currency continues to decline.