Professor Bizeck Phiri says campaign messages that political parties contending to participate in the coming general elections should address programmes that are feasible. We agree.
Who can disagree with this after the Patriotic Front election campaign message of “more money in your pocket” has left big holes in people’s pockets?
Indeed Zambians have for a long time been cheated by politicians with election campaign promises that could not be fulfilled.
The Patriotic Front promised less taxes but it has ended up introducing more levies on the people than any other political party in the history of this country.
The Patriotic Front promised better roads but today, after 10 years in power, the country is characterised by more broken roads. Look at the Serenje-Nakonde road! Look at the Kasama-Mpika road! Look at the Lusaka-Mongu road! Look at the Kaoma-Lukulu road! Look at the road to Dundumwezi! Even the Lusaka-Ndola road is broken! And here we are just pointing at some of the high ways. There are many roads in every province that are in a very bad state.
And they shouldn’t deceive anyone about the main Lusaka roads. These are a gift from the Indian government trying to help us decongest the country’s capital city. They couldn’t even trust this corrupt government and give it the money to do these roads. They are supervising everything themselves.
The Patriotic Front has failed to address the problem of water and sanitation despite making passionate promises in the run up to the 2011 elections. They were all the time talking about toilets but they have to honour their promises.
They used to talk about high fuel prices of the Rupiah Banda regime, but look at where fuel prices are today!
And indeed as Prof Phiri says, when the prices of commodities go up, the people on the ground are the ones that suffer the most. Today many people cannot afford minibus fares and are walking long distances. And bus operators are facing serious difficulties surviving in the business – the number of passengers they are carrying has drastically reduced.
And as Prof Phiri correctly observes, “It is one thing to talk about a programme which sounds very nice on paper but not implementable. Policies that the political parties will be talking about should be things that they can implement. Politicians should look beyond themselves and focus on the people.”
Even on the issue of peace, the Patriotic Front has failed to deliver. It is the most violent political party in the country today. It even has a home affairs minister whose main vocabulary is that of threats. And wherever he is doing political work there’s violence.
Will Zambians continue to allow the Patriotic Front, or indeed any other political party, to cheat them?
There’s need to scrutinise the promises the Patriotic Front made and take them to task on those which have not been fulfilled. As for the opposition, there’s need to take them to task on how they are going to implement or deliver the things they are promising.