We entirely agree with UPND President Hakainde Hichilema that 2016 will be a very difficult year.
We agree but for different reasons.
We agree because inclement economic and weather conditions have dealt us a very unfair hand which has the potential of undermining the many gains this country has made.
We do not agree that the current circumstances are the result of mismanagement. The entire African continent is tittering on the cusps of economic reversal because of the rout in commodity prices of which we are the major providers.
The weather has also wreaked havoc with South Africa one of the most advanced agriculture countries is suffering serious losses of crops and livestock as a result of drought whose end is not yet in sight.
We agree entirely that Government must impose serious fiscal discipline to avoid budget deficits which will fuel inflation. This advice is in line with recommendations made by the International Monetary Fund mission which recently visited the country.
It is very important that we do not understate the effect of the global challenges that we face because doing so will be a great disservice to the nation, which must be given a full account of the prevailing conditions that have seen major currencies slide with negative assessments from rating agencies.
It is neither fair nor just to give Zambians unreasonable expectation of a miraculous recovery from weather and commodity price decline because these are beyond any political regime. Whichever Government comes into power after the elections must come to terms with these negative conditions which may actually worsen.
We believe that at this critical hour we should confront our challenges with a unity of purpose and emphasize the need for common action.
This means that the opposition must not demonize such measures as cost recovery tariffs for energy and other resources for which the country is paying very dearly.
And yes we agree that Government must provide more serious and rigorous oversight on the ongoing process of oil procurement. We certainly do not agree that the Government should be subsidizing fuel which could be purchased at more realistic prices from the international market without employing expensive middlemen.
We have the experience of paying twice the price of a commodity that would have been obtained from a primary supplier than relying on overpriced middlemen who are exploitative- a fact that we proved from experience.
It is common knowledge that oil prices have fallen to their lowest levels ever, therefore there is any suggestion that our Kwacha devaluation is responsible for high prices should be resisted.
Zambia does indeed face the toughest and greatest economic challenge in a decade and all Zambians have a duty to stand and contribute towards the resolution or amelioration of the challenges. Identifying the problems is one thing but finding and offering solutions is the toughest challenge for well meaning Zambians.