We wish to appeal to all contestants in the January 20, 2014, presidential election to conduct their campaigns in a manner that preserves the peace which our great nation has come to be renowned for. On our part, we will not be fielding a candidate for 2015 because we want to reserve our energies and resources for the general elections slated for September 2016. We will, however, participate in the 2015 election by raising issues which we believe will help the electorate make informed choices.
The first issue we would like to raise is the need for all candidates to moderate their promises with realism. Whoever wins the January 2014 election, will only have 20 months in office before being faced with another electoral test. Realistically, that means they will only have one budget cycle to implement their promises. The pressure to gain competitive advantage over rivals through making unrealistic promises should therefore be avoided. We advise that in outlining their long term visions emphasis should be placed on what they intend to achieve in the 20 months after the election. Promising all things to all people will only create a crisis of unfulfilled expectations which will surely return to haunt the victorious party in the September 2016 general elections.
Second, we believe that in between the 2015 and 2016 elections, whoever will be elected into office should explain how they intend to complete the constitution making process, address the perennial problem of the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) late payments to farmers, finance the infrastructural development projects that government has already embarked on, and improve the management and utilization of public resources. We believe these are some of the key issues that presidential hopefuls and their supporters should be debating about.
Last, but not the least, we would like to caution contestants not to mortgage Zambia to foreign interests out of desperation to raise campaign funds. The sovereignty of Zambia should never be compromised by candidates seeking electoral victory at all costs. Zambia is not for sale. Voters should therefore question candidates’ sources of funds wherever extravaganza is detected.
Dr. Fredrick Mutesa
Zambians for Empowerment and Development (ZED)