Today, I continue to point out what I deeply believe needs to be urgently addressed for Zambia’s current socio-economic malaise to end. As I do so, I am also cognisant of the fact that other many alternatives and perspectives exist from amongst fellow Zambians.
While others, as I have observed over the years, choose to attack personalities, I have always chosen to counsel incompetence in public personalities and not personalities in themselves. This I believe is the fairest way to engage even when deep down I know that our deeper (individual) personalities have huge implications on our competences—both inner and outward. Public figures (and indeed private ones) will therefore do better to inculcate stronger and firmer inner personalities and adequacies to overcome all forms of challenges in their courses of duty to emancipate the masses from abject poverty and deprivation.
Last week, I demonstrated how the President Edgar Lungu-led government had not performed using study findings of the Mid-Term Evaluation Report commissioned by government itself in 2019. The evaluation was undertaken to assess progress made against the targets as prioritised and set out in the soon ending Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP 2017-2021). Last week, I emphasised the need for every Zambian to concern themselves with such national development progress results and matters.
Zambians should always remember and note that the national development plans (NDPs) are the official master plans to transform our country developmentally—both in rural and urban areas. NDPs are the grand blueprints for country transformation. That is why every Zambian has a requirement and mandate to hold successive governments and political regimes strongly accountable on how they deliver development to improve people’s wellbeing.
After a close and keen interrogation of the Mid-Term Evaluation results, I came to a solid conclusion that the Edgar Lungu-led government has for all its period of rule lamentably failed to perform. The failure is now on the wall—in black and white. Institutions of governance have collapsed beyond what any citizen would dream of; weak economy that cannot give any positive hope to its citizens; the social sectors are in calamitous need; youth unemployment continues to surge monthly leading to more and more delinquencies among our young people; our social fabric and cohesion gets eluded daily’ and many more socio-economic ills. The so-called democratic dispensation, which was constitutionally supposed to be our collective way of practicing ‘division of labour’ has worsened under the Edgar Lungu PF-led government than in any other regime in the past.
Let me further demonstrate how this regime has cheapened Zambia’s growth and development prospects during its rulership. Again, I stick to the results of the Mid-Term Review of the 7NDP. But behold, today I address myself to the Edgar-Lungu PF-led government’s inadequacies under the Diversified and Export-Oriented Agriculture Sector Outcome of Pillar I (Economic Diversification and Job creation). Additionally, I take this opportunity to invite you to my future analyses/articles on this subject matter. My upcoming weekly articles will demonstrate further reasons of my conclusion and loss of hope for a better Zambia under the Edgar Lungu PF-led government.
The 7NDP has five pillars as I indicated in last week’s article: Economic diversification and job creation; Poverty and vulnerability reduction; Reducing developmental inequalities; Enhancing human development; and Creating a conducive governance environment. It is of serious concern that most of the outcome indicators under the Diversified and Export-Oriented Agriculture Sector recorded predominantly ‘off track’ performance. Gross value-added percentage growth rates in agriculture-related activities ‘indicators’ (agriculture, forestry & logging, fishing & aquaculture) were all ‘off track’ while the livestock products indicator lacked data. Equally, indicators under the share of targeted export agriculture commodities in total exports also recorded more ‘off tracks’ in maize, soya beans, sugar, palm oil, cashew nuts, cattle, pigs and goats.
Even more saddening regards progress on all indicators under the ‘proportion of farmers utilising climate-smart agricultural technologies and practices’ which had unavailable data (Crops-Conservation Agriculture, Crops-Drought tolerant varieties, Crops-Irrigation, Livestock & Agroforestry practices) except for Aquaculture which was miserably reported to be ‘off track’. In the same vain, the indicator on total production of crops (MT) was ‘off track’ for crops such as maize, cotton (seed), sugar, cashew nuts, groundnuts and millet while ‘partially off track’ for soya beans and paddy rice.
As though the above were not enough, more other indicators under the Diversified and Export-Oriented Agriculture Sector were assessed as ‘off track’ or only ‘partially on track’. It was ALL ‘off track’ for the indicator on Total production of Livestock (population) by type (cattle, goat, pig, sheep, poultry). While there was a good performance of ‘on track’ for incidence of major livestock disease outbreaks indicator (i.e. East Coast Fever, Trypanosomiasis & Crop diversification index), the one on Contagious Bovine Pleural Pneumonia (CBPP) was off track. Further, the worst performing indicator was the one on ‘Average yield per crop (MT per hectare)’. Except for the Processed Agricultural Exports in Total Exports (%) which was ‘on track’, the rest were ‘off track’—maize, cotton (seed), soya beans, rice (paddy), sorghum, millet, burley tobacco, virginia tobacco and groundnuts. Mixed beans was assessed as ‘partially on track’.
It was not possible to assess progress on a number of crops due to data which was unavailable during the Mid-Term Evaluation (cassava, sugar, cashew nuts). Data was also not available for the proportion of farmers accessing finance (gender, region, socio-economic level) indicator (%). As a result of these very poorly performing outcome indicator results for the Diversified and Export-Oriented Agriculture Sector, the 7NDP Mid-Term Review gave an Overall Outcome Rating of ‘Off Track’. These negative national development performance results denote a big shame, to say the least, for mother Zambia!
Fellow Zambians, even when we would love and admire the PF regime, the above (disturbing) performance of our 7NDP does not inspire any well-meaning citizen. Zambia obviously can do much better with a focused and committed leadership to truly transform our sinking economy (if not already sunk & unsustainable). This is the true picture of why things in Zambia are hard today. Take a close look, all these indicators are domestically controlled and our government (the Lungu-led) has not shown capacity to support Zambians to grow the sector through sound policies and conducive environment to do business. This government simply has demonstrated lack of capacity and know-how to run a thriving economy whereby revitalising a Diversified and Export-Oriented Agriculture Sector has failed lamentably in the entire 10 years of PF’s rule.
To remedy this, I think the starting point is to admit that the PF government has failed the Zambian economy for a straight decade. Second is to ask: why must Zambians re-elect the Edgar Lungu-led PF government on August 12 to continue in the same trajectory of damaging the economy?
Aluta continua for a Zambia whose performance indicators in national development plans (NDPs) will begin to inspire all citizens and development partners for more hard work due to transformational national political leadership in the country. In Part 3 next week, I provide additional evidence on why I have concluded beyond reasonable doubt that the Edgar Lungu-led government has not performed.
The author holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Monitoring and Evaluation and is a lecturer and researcher at the University of Zambia, Department of Development Studies. For comments and views, email: email@example.com.