Southern Africa Development Community business forum chairperson Dr Charles Sinkala says political tension has slowed down the rate at which investors are flocking to Zambia.
In an interview, Dr Sinkala said Zambia’s political situation was confusing to investors and as such, they were skeptical about investing in the country.
“Zambia has been in this tense atmosphere since the last elections. Now investors look at the stability of the government, the policy of the government. That attracts investment. If you have got a shaken policy of government, including having political issues such as the ones we are experiencing currently in Zambia, the President and the opposition UPND leader failing to come to terms, they got issues from both sides. But one must realise that politics is a competition of ideas, not personality or interests,” Dr Sinkala said.
“Crushing each other politically on the streets, that does not solve the problems which are facing the Zambian people. In fact, it is scaring away investors. It’s difficult for the President to work with an individual like that. So, the investor who comes here and they see the government is shaken, they are scared of investing into the country. They wonder that ‘what if the laws will change because there is instability?”
And Dr Sinkala said a research carried out by the SADC business council found that the tense atmosphere in Zambia had made citizens lose interest in productive activities including voting.
“The research we did on the political environment in Zambia shows that Zambia’s political environment is getting below average. This is because people are losing interest in politics because of the conduct of the current politicians. We are saying that politics in Zambia are currently very dangerous and people have lost interest such that even if the vote happens, you know like I talked about earlier campaigns do not end,” said Dr Sinkala.
“People are losing interest in a lot of productive activities. Investors want to be sure and so do citizens. What if there is going to be war? If you want to put US$400 million into the country, you want to be sure that you won’t lose that money because of the political environment taking place in that area. It’s a threat to an investor, so all these are affecting the business environment in Zambia. That is very dangerous. These are concerns for investors. So, things like these are causing people to lose interest in politics. Now when people lose interest the ultimate result is that we will see low turn out on voting days and then we will have a President chosen by the minority.”