President Lungu is headed for victory in the 2016 election because he is in a better and stronger position than he was in 2015. The PF is has gone in this election as a strong and united front than was the case last year when Guy Scott ripped the party apart due to his devastating moves to impose his own PF candidate through an illegal convention.
President Lungu has demonstrated his strong leadership during this period he has been in office. This is a period that has been very turbulent economically.
Zambia suffered external economic shocks coupled with a drought that affected power generation and distribution. These had catastrophic consequences on the Zambian economy such as low power supply to the mines and consequently low copper production in a period of low international copper prices and low demand for copper by China; pressure on the Kwacha due to the strengthening US Dollar and low forex earnings as a result of low demand for copper coupled with low prices at the London Metal Exchange; loss of jobs in the mines and certain productive sectors. Load shedding affected households and productive industries in the interim.
These are challenges that President Lungu managed to handle in a very realistic and timely manner.
The Kwacha has remained stable throughout the year; power generation has increased as more and more power stations are opening up.
This has resulted in reduced load shedding at both household and mining/industrial level consequently reducing the cost of production. A number of jobs in the mines were saved and those miners that lost jobs were provided with farmland as a way cushioning the negative impact of job losses and subsequently promoting agriculture. There is no better empowerment than land ownership in such circumstances.
President Lungu has had enough time to campaign compared to last year when he only campaigned for about 20 days and with very little resources. In the 2015 election, HH was in a one-man horse race for almost three months with a lot of resources at his disposal having been heavily bankrolled.
Compared to RB’s presidential bid in 2008, Edgar faced a lot of challenges.
RB was advantaged as he was a Vice-President, acting President and subsequently MMD Presidential candidate under a very united and formidable MMD.
RB was already known to the Zambians by virtue of the positions he held before running for presidency.
However, RB narrowly won the election as Sata and the PF had continued to gain ground from one election to another. The UPND seem to equate HH’s performance in 2015 to that of late President Sata’s performance in 2008. UPND goes on to think that the Sata’s victory 2011 after narrowly losing to RB in 2008 will be replicated by the HH in 2016 after losing the President Lungu in 2015.
The UPND seem to be taking a kindergarten analysis of the prevailing political environment: They dynamics are not the same as UPND has not grown in anyway and the demographics with respect to registered voters do not favour the UPND.
The UPND forget that the narrow defeat they suffered was from a new PF President who was contesting elections at presidential level for the first time and under very prohibitive circumstances orchestrated by Guy Scott resulting in a weak and fractured PF.
The dynamics are different in this year’s election; President Lungu has marketed his leadership prowess to the Zambians profoundly well. So, it is wrong for the UPND to equate Sata’s narrow loss to RB in 2008 and thereafter defeating RB by Sata in 2011 to the present situation. The facts at play are very different, HH is facing a very strong and united PF that has delivered development to the people.
The PF is well-organised with a clear, saleable and acceptable campaign message unlike the HH and his running mate who are focussing on attacking President Lungu instead of constructively critiquing the PF manifesto and selling the UPND manifesto.
The PF remains the most attractive and formidable party to most Zambians especially in Lusaka, Copperbelt, Central, Eastern, Luapula, Muchinga and Northern.
This explains why most PF members who were not adopted to contest elections under the PF at various levels accepted the party’s decision and rallied behind the adopted candidates.
However, others who were not adopted opted to contest as independent candidates knowing that standing on UPND is worse than standing as an independent candidate.
Most independent candidates are campaigning for President Lungu. This clearly shows that HH is not a marketable and saleable candidate beyond Southern Province. Too bad for HH, UPND, GBM, Miles Sampa, Guy Scott and their crash-landed anti-Edgar Lungu crusade as the writing is on the wall: President Lungu continues as President till 2021.