THE focus in this year’s election will be on the economy.
No doubt many Zambians will be confused by the wild predictions and interpretations by self-appointed economic gurus of what amounts to a bad and good economy.
There is no disputing the fact that the past 10 months have been difficult for Zambia. The triple tragedy of power shortages resulting in the dreaded loadshedding, the free fall of the Kwacha and the sharp decline in copper prices on the international market have combined to create unprecedented difficulties for the Zambian economy.
This necessitated President Edgar Lungu announcing extraordinary measures at his first press conference earlier this year to cut Government expenditure, halt the massive job losses in the mining industry and put the economy back on track.
Five months down the line the economy is showing strong signs of recovery: the Kwacha is stable, the mining owners are upbeat and recapitalising their huge investments and load shedding may come to an end soon.
We, therefore, share the view of former Minister of Finance Katele Kalumba that the Zambian economy is not in a crisis. The tough but imperative fiscal measures introduced by the Bank of Zambia to mop up unwanted liquidity in the banking sector are working and stabilising the Kwacha.
With the economic fundamentals now in place and another bumper harvest just around the corner, the economy is slowly coming to life again. It is predicted that by the end of the year Zambia will be back on course and heading for better times.
It is, therefore, important that political players take note of these realities and campaign on how to make the economy perform better and not that it is in a crisis because it is not. Zambians want to know how to grow the economy and create the much needed jobs that will put money in people’s pockets.
There is no doubt that the current high unemployment especially among the youth of this country is a time bomb that must be resolved by politicians who aspire to lead this country. The poverty levels too are unacceptable and must be tackled and eradicated.
These are the issues Zambians are waiting to hear how our politicians intend to tackle them. They need down to earth solutions and not wild predictions that poverty will go away simply by waving a magic wand.
So as our politicians take to the road on the long campaign trail they must be aware that the electorate faces major challenges that need workable solutions. It is not enough just so declare that someone will eradicate poverty and unemployment without stating how.
It is critical for political players to be rational in the manner they look at the performance of the economy. It is not enough, and correct, to talk about a crisis where it does not exist.
What Zambians need are solutions and not predictions of doom and Armaggedon.