UNZA lecturer Professor Bizeck Phiri says PF should not relax in response to their by-election victories because the general election has completely different dynamics that could result in a possible loss.
The PF emerged triumphant in at least three of the recently held ward by-elections, relegating the UPND to an embarrassing defeat in their perceived strongholds.
In an interview, Professor Phiri, the political historian, however, observed that the ruling party’s by-election victories last week did not guarantee that it could scoop this August’s general election.
“I have seen politicians when they speak, for them, it’s an indicator that they are going to win, they are positive that they are going to win. There are a lot of things that are happening in the nation, how these things are being addressed is what is going to determine how citizens are going to vote in the 2021 election. Our history has indicated that it is not always that you are in power, then you will win the election. The ruling party should not relax; it’s not automatic that the ruling party will win,” Prof Phiri said.
“There are a lot of things happening this time around: COVID-19 is one issue and it has brought about a number of other challenges. We have a lot of people to that are unemployed; a lot of youths are unemployed; a lot of people coming out of school are unemployed; those that are graduating from college and universities are unemployed and most of these people, as you observed I think from your profession, you saw the crowds some of these people have not participated in the by-elections you are talking about. So, there is a lot of things that need to be taken into account.”
He observed that the new voter’s roll could also influence the outcome of the August, 12, 2021 election.
“We are going towards elections and we have just had registration of voters so the 2021 election will be conducted under the new voter’s roll. There are new people, some of them who have never registered before among the people that are going to vote,” he added.
“These by-elections were held under the old voter’s roll so there are quite a number of issues that go into the analysis of that. You have to look at how many people voted; what are the numbers in terms of the new and old voters roll,” he said.
And he urged the opposition political parties to take note of the serious issues in the nation.
“Let’s wait and see how the situation goes, particularly as it affects the people on the ground. There’s a lot of hunger, a lot of unemployment and all these are challenges that will reflect that will determine how people are going to vote come 2021 August general election. But also, there are other political parties, who are participating, those political parties; what is it that they are doing, what manifestos are they sharing with the people that they say, ‘if we are elected, this is what we are going to do,” said Prof Phiri.
“Similarly the parties in the opposition, they also need to continue working hard and demonstrate to the people on the ground that they are capable of doing better than the party that is in power today. See, it is not just about saying, ‘we can we can do better,’ but what is that you can do that people can bank on? It’s not about destroying what the current government has done, but how are you going to build on what is already on the ground that is the kind of message that citizens of this country would want to hear and that is what is going to direct them to say, ‘okay, I think we can vote for this party because it is saying they are going to build on to the next level.”