Professor Oliver Saasa says the manner in which the arrest of opposition UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema was done created some anxiety on the global money market because Zambia is known to be a relatively peaceful country.
American based Bloomberg business news channel reported that yields on Zambia’s $1 billion Eurobonds due April 2024 rose 15 basis points to 8.04 percent by 11:14 a.m. in London on the night that Hakainde was arrested.
Commenting on the development, Saasa said it was an expected trend.
“It naturally happens, but it generally speaks to the extent that the global market is watching. The behavior of the political players may actually tilt favourably or unfavourably, either way depending on what has happened. That was natural and in my view, it was an expected reaction. It is just like when we failed to conclude the deal with the IMF, some level of nervousness was registered,” professor Saasa observed.
“The manner in which the whole thing was conducted brought some disquiet, especially the police presence because that is usually not expected of Zambia. We have enjoyed a certain level of positivity and stability and I think we are still enjoying that. What happens now, depending on the charge, how the validity of the charge would appear in the eyes of the global community – whether there is unfairness both in terms of the charge itself or the manner in which the case is handled – all those ultimately influence market behaviour.”
The professor of economics was however quick to point out that this was not time to place blame on anyone.
“This is not the time for finger pointing. This is not a blame game but we’re at a stage where we need to talk as a country,” said Saasa.