The 11th August, 2016 Presidential election is being contested by nine (9) political parties namely: Patriotic Front (PF), United Party for National Development (UPND), Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD), United National Independence Party (UNIP), Rainbow Party (RB), Green Party (GP), United Progressive Party (UPP), Democratic Assembly (DA) and People’s Alliance for Change (PAC).
Each of the political parties taking part in the Presidential race has a Party Manifesto to sell to the electorate and the general public. Time and space permitting manifestos of the political parties in the Presidential contest would be succinctly discussed. Let us look at the PF Manifesto.
Patriotic Front Manifesto 2016-2021
The vision of the Patriotic Front (PF) for the next five (5) years – 2016 to 2021 is to make Zambia more industrious, prosperous, peaceful, stable, united, democratic and inclusive society, under the motto of One Zambia, One Nation.
In education development the PF in Government, in the last five years (2011-2016) scored unprecedented achievements in all the eight sub-sectors – Early Childhood Education; Primary Education; Secondary School Education; Youth and Adult Literacy; Teacher Education; Skills development; Science, Technology and Innovation; and University Education.
To improve the quality of Early Childhood Education, between 2016-2021 the PF Government shall establish community-based Early Childhood Education Centres; train, recruit and deploy more Early childhood Education teachers annually. To enhance the quality of primary school education, the PF Government in the next five years shall recruit and deploy more teachers; upgrade the 510 mud and grass thatched Government and Community schools into fully-fledged primary schools; construct more teachers’ houses and improve retention of teachers in rural areas.
At Secondary School Education level, the sub-sector has undergone the most visible transformations in the last five years. The Junior Secondary School Education priorities from 2016 to 20121 shall include upgrading of the remaining 1,800 Basic Schools into Day Secondary Schools; sustain the Fast-Truck upgrading programme for teachers in Mathematics and Science; Produce and distribute mobile laboratories and computers alongside other teaching-leaning materials; rehabilitate all old Secondary Schools constructed during the First Republic and strengthen Vocational career pathways.
The Senior Secondary School Education priorities by the PF Government between 2016-2021 include the continuation with the training of Mathematics and Science teachers and Diploma and Degree levels; strengthen the Vocational Career pathways; expand the sub-sector to absorb the 120,000 Grade 9 graduates failing to enter Grade 10; Amend the 2011 Education Act and review the National Policy to create opportunities for apprenticeships for those who choose non-academic paths.
On Colleges of Education, the PF Government priorities from 2016-2021 shall be to ensure that colleges open new programmes outside teaching; satisfy the catchment area demands and expand them in order to meet the demand for teachers in the country. To address the challenges of Youth and Adult Literacy over 2,353 Adult Literacry Centres have been established throughout the country with an enrolment of over 37,648. The PF Government shall from 2016 to 2021 implement robust programmes to liberate the youth and adults trapped by illiteracy and consequently strangled by poverty. With regard to skills development, the PF Government in the next five years shall expand enrolment in the TEVET institutions of the two-tier systems at Grade 10; expand the capacity of the institutes and the teaching staff and review the 1996 TEVET Policy.
Science, Technology and Innovation sub-sector is another area of attention by the PF Government.
The National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research and the National Remote Sensing Centre has been equipped with state-of-the art research and development facilities and remote sensing equipment worth over K30 Million. From 2016-2021 the PF Government shall expand research and development institutions; amend the Science and Technology Act of 1997 and review the 1996 Science and Technology Policy.
The PF Government attaches great importance to University Education. Nkhrumah, Mukuba and Chalimbana Colleges of Education have been upgraded into universities. Construction of Robert Kapasa Makasa has been completed while Paul Mushindo and Palabana Universities is on-going. Construction of universities at provincial level has started with Dr. Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba University in Luapula Province and King Lewanika University in Western Province respectively under-way. Student hostel accommodation expansion at the University of Zambia, Copperbelt University, Mulungushi University and Evelyn Hone College is on-going.
To meet the social needs of university education, the PF Government in the period 2016-2021 shall construct universities in each province (Eastern, Northern, Southern and North-Western Provinces); launch the University Student Loan Scheme to replace the Bursaries Committee; capacity build the Higher Qualification Authority and the Zambia Qualifications Authority and upgrade institutions of higher learning to enable them continue attracting students and researchers from other countries.
The period 2011-2016 of the PF Government saw significant strides and improvements in the quality of health services being provided to the Zambian people, especially in the areas of infrastructure development, disease control and in curbing maternal and child deaths. Zambia now has four fully-fledged tertiary level hospitals after Livingstone was upgraded to a teaching hospital joining Kitwe Central Hospital, Ndola Central Hospital and the University Teaching Hospital. The four tertiary level hospitals are fully equipped with modern diagnostic equipment such as computerised tomography (CT) machines and renal dialysis units needed to handle complicated cases.
Government has during the period under review constructed a total of 39 district hospitals and five of those are already operational. Further, the PF Government has built 266 health posts of which 170 have been operationalized. The construction of these health facilities has reduced the distance being travelled by members of the communities to access health. Maternal and infant mortality have declined. Under-five mortality rates have also declined due to increased investment in health infrastructure.
On health service delivery, the PF Government from 2016-2021 shall ensure access to primary health services within a 5Km radius by continuing to build more health posts and hospitals; support the research and development of vaccines and medicines for communicable and non-communicable diseases; extend the modernisation programme to all the provincial hospitals and make Zambia a medical hub instead of referring patients abroad.
In the field of Human resource, the PF Government shall build a well performing health workforce and ensure that it is fairly distributed, competent, responsive and productive; continue to improve conditions of service and enhance retention strategies both monetary and non-monetary; and prioritise the deployment of health workers. The PF Government from 2016-2021 shall put in place a well-functioning health information system that ensures the production, analysis, dissemination and use of reliable and timely information on health determinants, health system performance and status; build a health system to ensure equitable access to essential medical products, vaccines and technologies of assured quality, safety, efficacy and cost effectiveness; invest in a National Social Health Insurance Scheme; and form a formidable team of leaders for health at all levels of service delivery.
The PF Government remains committed to its objectives of making the Agriculture sector the mainstay of Zambia’s economy. From 2016-2021 the PF Government shall pursue the following investments and policies: sustainable Rural Development by reinvigorating rural development and “taking the cities” to the rural areas through, but not limited, to establishing new districts in rural areas.
More health, education, electricity, communication, water and sanitation and related social infrastructure shall be developed in rural areas so as to reverse the rural-urban drift.
Agricultural Research and Development – through promotion of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the provision of research and development; establishment of a Research and Development Fund; construction of at least two Agricultural Research Centres in each province and development of linkages between Research Centres and institutes with extension staff. Agriculture Education – to rehabilitate existing agricultural training institutions; establish an agricultural training institute in each province; encourage the introduction of Agriculture related training programmes in all institutions of higher learning and facilitate and support the establishment of private Agricultural Training institutions.
(To be continues next week)
Agricultural Extension and Farmer Support – by increasing the number of frontline (extension) officers to a ratio of 1 to 400 farmers within five years from the current 1 to 700 farmers; facilitate the provision of refresher and retraining programmes for frontline officers; promote the coordinated provision of extension services by the private sector; utilise ICT in the dissemination of information on agriculture and maintain a database of all farmers in Zambia. On Agricultural Credit and Finance – support the establishment of savings and credit cooperatives and a cooperative bank to be owned by farmer cooperatives; support the establishment of private agricultural micro-finance institutions; support the development of out-grower schemes; encourage the registration of farmland so that it serves as collateral when borrowing and promote agricultural insurance.
Agricultural Input Supply – roll-out the voucher system to cover the majority of the farmers; promote out-grower schemes for the provision of inputs to farmers; review the farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) to make it more robust in empowering beneficiary farmer to eventually graduate from the programme; facilitate the local production and packaging of fertilisers and other agricultural inputs; promote the utilisation of conservation farming methods and promote diversification in agricultural production with particular emphasis to aquaculture and livestock production, particularly in drier regions of the country.
Agricultural mechanisation – procure tractors and front and back equipment for hiring to farmers; set up Farm Power and Mechanisation Centres in every district to be run by the cooperative movement to supervise and manage the utilisation of the farm equipment and promote the production of appropriate agriculture technologies and equipment in skills training centres. Management and Utilisation of Water resources – rehabilitate all non-functioning irrigation dams and schemes; procure irrigation equipment for onward lending to farmers through the Zambia Cooperative Federation; withdraw duty on all imported irrigation equipment; encourage Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in the development and operating of irrigation schemes and promote water harvesting techniques.
Access to land and land tenure system – establish at least one Farm Block of not less than 100,000 hectares each in every province; encourage their Royal Highnesses to avail their subjects and others appropriate sizes of land to enable agricultural activities at economic levels and establish and manage data base of all farm land. Agricultural Production and Productivity – the PF Government shall pursue sub-sector policies to increase production and productivity in fisheries, livestock, horticulture and crops.
Commodity markets and prices – promote the participation of the private sector in agricultural commodity markets; promote value addition such as milling plants run by the private sector and cooperatives as close to the production centres as possible; promote the export of value added agricultural commodities rather than primary commodities; maintain an open border policy for the export of agricultural commodities and only use the issuance of export permits to ensure national food security and maintain restricted importation of agricultural commodities that are readily available from local farmers and only use the issuance of import permits to ensure price stability.
On National and Household Food and Nutrition Security – food and nutrition security focuses on issues including affordable food prices; steady supply of food, and knowledge and skills in processing and preservation of diverse foods. To address these issues the PF Government shall promote diversification of agricultural production; promote food processing and preservation at the farm and household level; and promote nutrition education.
Local Government and Housing Development, Social Protection and Persons with Disabilities.
On Local Government and Housing Department the PF Government recognises the critical role of local government as an engine of delivering services, infrastructure and development of the communities. In the last five years, the PF Government established more than 33 districts across the country with the objective of bringing services closer to the people. To build on its success the PF Government between 2016 and 2021 shall improve service delivery in big cities such as Lusaka, Ndola, Kitwe and Livingstone through decentralisation by establishing townships management boards; improve service delivery in rural districts by establishing sub-centres; strengthen the capacity of councils with respect to, among other things, management efficiency, resource mobilisation, strategic planning, climate change resilience, etc. Establish water and sewerage utility companies in provinces where there are none in order to ensure improved access to public water supplies and sewerage facilities, and introduce a social housing scheme that will empower councils to construct low cost houses from government guaranteed loans and Public Private Partnerships.
Upon assuming office in 2011, the PF Government promised to develop a comprehensive National Social Protection Policy. That has been done and is being implemented to contribute to the well-being of all Zambians by ensuring that the vulnerable people have sufficient income security to meet basic needs and protection from worst impacts of risks and shocks. In the period 2016-2021 the PF Government shall continue to implement the National Social Protection Policy by increasing the budgetary allocation to the Social Cash Transfer Programme; rehabilitate and provide community development infrastructure such as welfare centres, community libraries and recreational facilities; and deploy qualified staff and upgrade skills of existing staff through in-service training.
On persons with disabilities, the PF Government recognises that disability and poverty are concentric circles linked in a cycle of exclusion and marginalisation. Exclusion from education leads to exclusion from labour markets and this in turn leads to greater poverty and depending on others for income and support. In order to protect the rights of persons with disabilities from 2016-2021 the PF Government shall ensure that the education system is inclusive at all levels to enable persons with disabilities realise their full potential and effective participation in society; continue to establish special schools for persons with disabilities to enable persons who by reason of their disability cannot be enrolled in inclusive facilities; provide persons with disabilities access to some range, quality and standard of free and affordable health care and programmes as provided to other persons; progressively establish in every district, habitation and rehabilitation centres for persons with disabilities; and carry out a baseline survey of persons with disabilities so as to determine the nature and extent of disabilities in Zambia.
Women in Socio-Economic Development; Youth in Socio-Economic Development
Between 2011 and 2016 the PF Government worked towards achieving the prescribed threshold of women representation in decision making as stated in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995); and SADC Declaration on Gender and Development (1997); and the Millenium Declaration and Development Goals (2000). To this effect many women in Zambia were appointed to positions of decision making in the Executive, Judiciary, Constitution Offices and State Security Institutions.
From 2016-2021, the PF Government shall continue to adopt the greatest number of women as Parliamentary candidates as well as at Councilor level; continue to domesticate international protocols relating to women and gender in development so as to enhance representation of women in decision making; enhance educational opportunities and promote the rights of the girl child; continue and introduce new programmes to eradicate Gender Based Violence, Child Marriage and Teenage Pregnancies; and promote programmes around sexual and Reproductive Health Rights and nutrition amongst women and girls.
The PF Government is committed to enhancing the role of youth in socio-economic development. With approximately 74% of Zambia’s population being under the age of 30, this country is one of the many youthful African countries. In the next five years the PF Government shall promote economic participation of the youth in national development through employment creation and entrepreneurship development; increase access to quality and equitable education and skills development relevant to the aspirations of the youth and society; promote youth participation in creative industries (art, culture and recreation) as a major source of livelihood; and mainstream youth issues in all government and private sector institutions for effective youth responsive programming.
Arts and Culture Development; Sports and Recreation
Since 2011 when the PF Government came to power, the increase in the budget support to the Arts and Culture sector has resulted in a marked increase in the number of Arts and Culture activities, including the construction of various infrastructure such as the Maramba Cultural Village, Masala Cultural Village, the Livingstone Art Gallery and Mwandi Cultural Village. Also under construction are the Arts and Culture Centres in Solwezi, Kasama, Mongu, Mansa, Chinsali and Kabwe.
In the next five years the PF Government shall construct a National Cultural Centre; compete the construction of Provincial Arts and Culture centres; enhance job creation in the sector through decentralisation; and promote research in Arts and Culture.
In Sports and Recreation it is an undeniable fact that for the first time ever, Zambia was in 2012 crowned the African Football Champion. It is important to build upon that achievement in football and other sporting disciplines. In order to promote sports and recreation, the PF Government shall in the next five years increase budgetary allocation for the construction, rehabilitation and upgrading of sports and recreation infrastructure; introduce incentives for private investment in the development of sports and recreation infrastructure; and promote the manufacture of sports equipment locally