12 August: A Watershed Moment for Zambia’s Political Future

By

John Moono

12 August is being heralded as the most important day in the political history of independent Zambia. It is a watershed moment for Zambia’s Political Future. The country goes to the polls on the aforementioned date to elect the President, Members of Parliament, Mayoral/ Council Chairpersons and Councilors. The stakes seems very high about the forthcoming elections.

The Presidential Election has attracted 16 candidates with Patriotic Front’s Edgar Chagwa Lungu who is the incumbent seek re-election after the Constitutional Court ruled on the eligibility case which was petitioned by Chapter One Foundation and Sishuwa Sishuwa. His main rival as it was in 2016 is Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development (UPND). This will be the third time the two are rivaling each other for the top job with Lungu coming out on top on two occasions in 2015 and 2016 respectively. The winning margin of 2016 by the Patriotic Front remains to be seen if it will be replicated or the tables will change for the losing party in 2016 the UPND. Both parties are confident of scooping the elections with the Patriotic Front projecting that they will win by 70% because they feel they have delivered according to the expectations of the Zambian people.

It must be stated that often times many have predicted a tight race this time around. Edgar Chagwa Lungu has come of age as a Politician and he seems so calm and stable as he trods around the country selling his manifesto to the people of Zambia which is anchored on infrastructural development. His government has embarked on massive infrastructural development which has come at the detriment of the economy. The economy of the mineral rich Southern African nation has been negatively affected with the inflation rate standing at 24 % in the month of June. The government has however attributed the high cost of living and high food prices to the negative consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic which has ravaged the world. Edgar Chagwa Lungu in his message to the people argues that once these projects are done, Zambia will reap the benefits of good road network as the wheels of the economy will be moving faster than before. He says his government has brought real change which the people can attest to. Incumbent President Edgar Chagwa Lungu feels he is tried and tested leadership and that Zambian needs should not disturb his developmental agenda he and his party have embarked on by voting them out. President Edgar Chagwa Lungu maintains that their development agenda is aimed at encompassing all Zambians regardless of their background and orientation.

His main rival Hakainde Hichilema has premised his campaign message on rebuilding the economy and has enjoyed some considerable large following countrywide. Hakainde Hichilema maintains that the Patriotic Front are not the right party to drive out Zambia and Zambians out of the economic col de sac the country is currently embroiled in. He too can be said to have come of age as a Politician and seems ready to take the mantle of Presidency. His choice of the running mate was the first step in the maturity in his Political Antics when he decided to go for the less fancied yet loyal servant to the party Mutale Nalumango over more fancied and experienced Political Players who are part of the Alliance partners. This was clearly shown with the Chipata debacle where he was detained at the Airport for close to 2 hours but negotiated with the police in a calm and composure manner that won him some admiration from the public. He pictured a different side of him than what happened in Mongu in April 2017 where his motorcade rivaled the Presidential motorcade which resulted in him being charged with treason. Hakainde Hichilema claims this will be his last chance at the Presidency and if he loses it would be the sixth time he has lost. He would obviously be under pressure from within the party structures to give chance to others to lead as well.

Projections by many Organisations that have conducted opinions polls seen to suggest that 90% of the votes would be shared between the two main rivals and the rest of the 14 candidates would have to settled for a share in the remaining 10%. No opinion poll has so far projected a re-run but with the considerable amount of support both are enjoying, a re-run would be likely. However, such projections were made in 2016 elections but it ended up producing an outright winner which was for the first in the his of the country that a Presidential Candidate have polled the 50%+1 threshold.

The two main rivals in the Presidential Election have shown alot of maturity in handling hostile situations that have beseeched them during this campaign trial. The only blip in the campaign trail has been the talk of Political Violence that has seen some people lost life and others been badly injured. Both have vehemently maintained that they do not condone acts of Violence. The die has been cast and with less than 10 to go before the Zambian people hire and fire individuals who be charged with the responsibility of being stewards of National Affairs. It is still difficult to call which party would get the keys to the National Residence of the President which is the State House.

Come 12 August, are Zambians going to choose to continue with the Patriotic Front or they will decide to go with the United Party for National Development. This remains to be seen . The die 🎲 has been cast.

Published by MyWritings

A Writer, A Diplomat in Waiting, Climate Change Advocate and a Football Administrator

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