ZAMBIA needs sustained investor confidence and conducive business environment to thrive and achieve her Vision 2030 of being a middle-income nation free of extreme poverty, environmental degradation and gender inequality.
According to the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), between January and June this year alone the country recorded investment pledges totaling a staggering K1.8 billion in various sectors of the economy such as energy, agriculture and manufacturing.
This is a huge plus for a small, land-linked nation such as hours and speaks volumes about our potential to grow our economy and create jobs that will put us on the trajectory for a prosperous, middle-income State in the next 15 years.
This is why it is critical for Zambians to heed the caution by ZDA that the country must sustain the reputation of being a haven of peace for these investment pledges to be realized and avoid actions and utterances that will not only scare away potential investors but jeopardize even those which have already been actualized.
The bad publicity generated before, during and after the elections is not what one would call conducive environment for business. The recent violence and the current polarized political atmosphere in the country, if not contained and defused as soon as possible, is bad for business.
Political stability and social cohesion are key to attracting investment and sustained economic growth. No investor would want to put his money in a country where political cadres rule the streets, party officials behave like a pack of hungry jackals and the courts are congested with unresolved political disputes.
It is incumbent upon the governing Patriotic Front leadership to do everything in its power to unite the country fractured along regional and tribal lines. The current political stalemate threatens the legacy bequeathed on us by the founders of this once great nation.
Never before has Zambia been sliced into two by an election as what happened on August 11, 2016. Today we have south-west and north-east Zambia. The heroes and heroines of the freedom struggle who founded this nation must be turning in their graves at this new political phenomenon.
This election has produced a polarized nation characterized by intolerance, divisive language, reckless news and social media and a new brand of selfish and abusive politicians who care very little about national unity and cohesion.
It is important that Zambians across the political divide unite and find a common thread to their differences. They must cast off their rigid political stances and rally behind President Edgar Lungu in finding a solution to what appears to be a hung election outcome in order to ease the tension and disharmony paralyzing the country.
To make matters worse some unscrupulous Zambians have taken advantage of the situation to exploit tribal and regional sentiments for their own advantage by appearing to be allied to either the ruling class or the opposition. These shameless money-mongers feed politicians on a daily diet of lies and innuendo, thus driving the already tensed rival leaders even further apart.
As Zambians await the outcome of the UPND petition, it is imperative for leaders to accept that the current tension is not of tribal or regional origin. It is a political crisis requiring a political solution. To wait until the Constitutional Court makes a ruling might be too late.
President Lungu might need to take the extraordinary step of extending an olive branch to his arch-rival Hakainde Hichilema to meet at a round table chaired by traditional leaders and the Church to show leadership and chart a new way forward.
When Zambia’s unity and bonding are threatened, there are no holds barred.