Patriotic Front media director Sunday Chanda says the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is accurate in saying that President Edgar Lungu will win the 2021 Presidential election because the ruling party is still the people’s party of choice.

And Chanda has insisted that the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) must substitute its “injured” leader, Hakainde Hichilema, with someone else if the party is serious about forming government.

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) generated a report on June 12, 2019, in which it projected victory for President Edgar Lungu in the 2021 Presidential and general elections arguing that the opposition had lost its way since 2016.

EIU, however, stated that this victory was likely to be attained through eroding of democratic checks and balances by the ruling party and its supporters.

Commenting on this report in an interview, Chanda boasted that there had been a massive face-lift in the country since PF assumed power and therefore, the EIU was correct to predict that President Lungu would rule Zambia beyond 2021.

“Clearly, what comes out of this report, which has really hurt the UPND is that this is a unit which is not based in Zambia. This is a unit that is based in London. The scheme of the UPND is to discredit Zambia to international organisations and to think-tanks across the world. Their strategy with those that are funding them in 2021 is to injure the Zambian economy. Clearly, what the UPND and their sponsors have done is to target the financial markets. They’ve targeted the Eurobond and they would want as much as possible that investors lose confidence in Zambia. According to the UPND prescriptions, this works to advantage them in 2021 because if the economy is growing, then UPND and Mr Hakainde Hichilema will have nothing to talk about,” Chanda said.

“Anyone who has followed Hakainde Hichilema from 2006 to-date will realise that Mr Hakainde Hichilema has no message, the UPND has no manifesto and all they do is armchair criticism! But unfortunately, they are up against a President, who is 10 steps ahead of them and a government that is committed to ensure that it does not default on its obligations regarding the Eurobond as and when they fall due, and that we continue inspiring confidence in the investor community to ensure that rogue investors like Vedanta, when a decision has to be taken it has to be a firm decision in the interest of the Zambian people. That is why the Patriotic Front to this day, would remain the party of choice.”

He said the challenges in Zambia’s economy which were highlighted in the report were being addressed.

“The Economist Intelligence Unit expects the ruling Patriotic Front, led by President Edgar Lungu, to remain in power beyond 2021. And in its latest report for Zambia, the EIU states that our best-line forecast remains that Mr Lungu will win in 2021. Although this report cites some challenges within the Zambian economy, many of which are not unique to Zambia as a country. The Patriotic Front administration is concentrating on pushing back the adverse effects around the economy, coming up with austerity measures and ensuring that our development agenda remains on course. It is not an exaggeration when we say that Zambia’s landscape from 2011 to-date is no longer the same. Zambia has changed for the better. Anyone who is candid enough can move around this country and they will tell for themselves that the country is not what it was when the PF took over power in 2011. We know that for our friends in UPND, this is not important, and as much as possible, they would rather that the development that we are rolling out for the people of Zambia comes to a halt. The President and the PF has come up with timely interventions, including the implementation of austerity measures, to address the challenges that EIU has highlighted,” he said.

And Chanda said it would not be easy for the UPND, under Hichilema, to form government in Zambia.

“In the unlikely event that UPND ever forms government, it will be the most corrupt regime that Zambia would ever have because you cannot have a leader who boasts of having offshore accounts, a leader who has stashed millions of dollars, avoiding to pay taxes in his own country! So, the summary is that the Patriotic Front is winning 2021 because it’s maximising its strength. The UPND is losing 2021 yet again because UPND is amplifying its weaknesses,” said Chanda.