|Zambia holds general elections every 5 years|
By Paul Shalala
They launched their campaigns and unveiled their manifestos for the next years.
The ‘big boys’ President Edgar Lungu and Hakainde Hichilema had a field day on Saturday as they pulled record crowds to show their popularity.
Social media was abuzz with photos of ‘mammoth’ rallies, over crowded venues and thousands of cheering supporters on the streets.
What went viral on social media were these images of supporters.
The real message was however missing from the conversations on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and everywhere else.
People were not talking about the manifestos that were unveiled.
Being the two major players in this year’s elections, the PF and UPND are of interest to the 6, 710, 455 registered voters.
Due to their bulky nature, these manifestos may be too long for the man on the street to read and digest.
But this blogger has summarised and analysed them.
Below is a short summary of the major issues in the two respective manifestos.
|President Lungu at the launch of the PF manifesto|
PF MANIFESTO 2016 – 2021
During the launch of the campaign at the Heroes National Stadium in Lusaka, President Lungu said the PF manifesto will ensure it continues with the developmental projects started in 2011.
President Lungu, who prides himself with a number of developmental projects done under his administration and that of the late President Michael Sata within the past five years, is running a campaign anchored on development where PF members are challenging the opposition to ‘Sontapo’ (Point) at what they have done for the nation.
Below are some of the summarised excepts from the PF manifesto as adapted from the launch speech:
HEALTH: We shall embark on making Zambia a Medical Hub. Instead of referring patients abroad, we shall transform selected Health facilities into Centres of Excellency where Zambian can access specialised services.
We will venture into a new era of the growing medicinal plants such as Itembusha and its associated Industries.
EDUCATION: On Education, Children will be equipped with the necessary skills by ensuring that there are enough Books, Teachers, Desks and Computers.
Learning Institutions will be fitted with State of the Art equipment and technology.
AGRICULTURE: We shall diversify the Agriculture and expand the livestock Sectors to ensure food security and make Zambia the bread basket in the region
|Part of the PF supporters at Heroes National Stadium|
ENERGY: With the PF government's massive invested in the energy sector, loadshedding is shortly become a thing of the past.
We shall complete and expand the projects we have started in Solar, Coal and Hydro
INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT: The Patriotic Front will continue with the infrastructure development as we are the only ones who can finish them because we have the experience and the tested capacity to deliver.
We shall empower Councils countrywide to build low-cost Houses in order to improve the living stands of our people and upgrade the Townships. Once re-elected, we will complete the remaining road projects
The UPND Manifesto 2016 – 2021
On Saturday, Mr Hichilema unveiled the party’s new manifesto which is anchored on economic revival.
|HH at the UPND manifesto launch in Kitwe|
This was at a rally held at Kitwe’s Freedom Park grounds.
This manifesto puts Mr Hichilema at the center of the 10 points and describes him as a ‘fixer’ who will use his economics profession to resuscitate the Zambian economy.
Below is the verbatim of all the Ten Points Plan as posted on the UPND website:
Point One: We plan to start with job creation and employment. From the first day in office, our Government will help Zambian companies to create jobs, by ensuring we start manufacturing most of the things we import. Isn’t it an embarrassment that we are importing toothpicks? Are you telling me we can fail to make toothpicks? We will promote investment, trade and economic growth, diversifying the economy and investing in under-developed sectors with huge potential for job and wealth creation such as tourism.
Point Two: We will be an attack on poverty and inequality, with a strong focus on youth and women. On day one we will start addressing youth and women empowerment. The women folk present here today, can’t you sow uniforms. So why can’t Government give you contracts to supply uniforms in Government schools? Youths are found making furniture at Nakadoli market. Why is Government importing furniture for their offices and not buying furniture from Nakadoli market? This is what we mean by empowering women and the youth when you give us a vote.
Point Three: We will be investing in our people through education. There is no nation in this world that has advanced without a population that has the right skills. The youths that will be making chairs and desks for Government schools will need education before they get skills to start making desks. Our women who will be supplying uniforms to Government schools need education first before they can learn knitting and tailoring. This is why we are saying education for all is a must. The waste we shall save from ending corruption in procurement of Government goods and services, by-elections and other areas will be invested in education. Now listen carefully here. In Zambia building a road costs 2 million dollars per kilometer, while in South Africa its 400,000 dollars. This means the money we pay for one kilometer, you can do 5 kilometers in South Africa. Why are our roads expensive? It’s because of corruption.
Point Four: The PF has failed to run the power sector resulting in load-shedding, limited and unreliable access and high costs of production. How are businesses supposed to operate under such conditions? Our plan is very simple, we are discussing with the private sector to build power stations from renewables. What do I mean colleagues? Zesco is broke that they cannot build new power stations, we will talk to our friends in the private sector to build power stations, and the power produced will be sold to ZESCO, that is how we will end load shedding.
|Part of the UPND supporters at the launch|
Point Five: We will improve competitiveness so that our local businesses can grow and create jobs, and new ones can start up. We will tackle areas such as heavy regulation, the high costs of transport and trade, access to finance and power supply.
Point Six: We will focus on aggressively cutting Government waste. We are not going to have 71 ministers in our Government the way our friends did. We are going to reduce on the number of ministers and review their conditions of service. A minister gets 800 liters of fuel per month, that is about 500,000 kwacha for the entire cabinet. By the end of the 5 years of PF we will have spent over 29 billion old currency on fuel for ministers. This does not include the free phones, cars, housing and many other things we provide to them. We cannot continue making a few people rich at the expense of 14 million Zambians.
Point Seven: We will develop our agriculture sector. Our job once you put us in power is to reduce the price of mealie meal. How will we do this? We will increase farmer support in both input provision and reduce the unit cost of production. In this country a farmer produces about 40 bags of maize per hectare when it is possible to produce 100 bags with the same inputs. What farmers need is a robust extension service system so that they can produce more by improving their management of fields. Once this happens then the price of a 50kg bag of maize will come down and with it mealie meal. We will also help farmers diversify their crop to produce other foods and grow produce for neighbouring countries.
Point Eight: We will end the flip-flops and policy inconsistencies that are costing people jobs. In this place over 10,000 miners and their affiliates lost employment. And the PF Government looked on as our people were losing jobs. From the time the PF took over they have changed mining tax policy three times, scaring investors away. What we are doing immediately you give us the instruments of power is to instill confidence in the economy. As a responsible Government we will rather lose a bit of mineral royalty than see you lose your wages and your livelihood.
Point Nine: Building a healthy nation, cannot be compromised on. Colleagues, people are going to hospitals that have no medicines and doctors. We have a shortage of over 13,000 nurses and yet we have thousands of young people looking for jobs – another PF miscalculation. Meanwhile, the high maternal mortality rate remains a stain on the conscience of our nation. Immediately we take office we are reforming procurement of medicines in hospitals. The money we will save from a reduced cabinet and corruption will be used to hire nurses, doctors and buy medicines. We have already spoken to people that are willing to come and set up mini water plants in places like Chamboli so that you people can have access to piped water.
Point Ten: Good Governance. Zambians under PF are living in fear. If you say something against the Government or the President, then you are threatened with arrest. Police are being misused by the PF. People have to apply for permits to have church meetings. We are taking over Government to ensure that Zambians can enjoy their rights. We will immediately repeal the Public Order Act. We are also going to embark on reforming the Anti Corruption Commission and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) to make them independent bodies to pursue corrupt elements. There will be no sacred cows in a UPND-led Government. We need to fight corruption to the bitter end, it has made us poor and I am telling you now, anyone who is corrupt will face the law. Corruption is a cancer that needs to be aggressively tackled.
With the above manifestos, Zambians can now start analysing the two parties based on what they are bringing to the table.
Of course without disadvantaging the other ‘third parties’ who are yet to unveil their manifestos, this blogger will endeavour to analyse and summarise each and every party manifesto as and when they are released by the respective parties.