By Nation Reporter
THE rise in political violence will hinder the country’s ability to attract investment, disrupt job creation and economic development plans, Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers (ZUFIAW) president Ackim Mweemba has said.
Mr Mweemba warned that Zambia risked losing its coveted status as a peace haven in Africa and scare away investors if political violence was not going to be stopped.
He told the Daily Nation that the peace which Zambia had enjoyed for over 50 years was admired by other countries in the region and should, therefore, be jealously guarded.
“If this situation is left unchecked, we shall find ourselves in the midst of turmoil with nowhere to run to. We have known peace since independence and we cannot afford to destroy this peace because of political differences, Mr Mweemba said.
He said investors had favoured Zambia in the past due to the fact that the country provided a safe environment for investment and growth, which had in turn helped economic expansion and citizens had been able to find employment.
Mr Mweemba said the economic opportunities which Zambia had were being jeopardised with the political violence currently obtaining.
“Investors take into account political stability when making investment decisions. The empirical analysis of investment inflows shows that foreign investors will take political violence into account when they make investment decisions.
“As long as firms have no perfect foresight of all political violence-induced risks, their investment plans shall not be implemented,” he said.
Mr Mweemba said violence provided information regarding possible future government intervention or market disruption, causing a downward revision of the expected stream of revenues.
He said unanticipated incidents of political violence forced investors to consider their flow of investment in order to ensure the sustainability of their investment such that a country may no longer be chosen as an investment site or the amount of future investment could be reduced.
“We have the collective responsibility as a nation to come together and remedy this situation for the sake of our country’s development. Political party leaders, especially Patriotic Front leader President Edgar Lungu and United Party for National Development leader Hakainde Hichilema must rise above board and stop this barbaric act being perpetuated by the youths of their political parties,” Mr Mweemba said.
Mr Mweemba said he was confident that if President Edgar Lungu and Hakainde Hichilema took a bold stance against violence and judiciously dealt with the perpetrators within their ranks, the violence would come to an end.
He said leaders had the responsibility to control the individuals they were leading because the violence was reflecting negatively on them and their political parties.