THE Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) says it’s unnecessary for the PF to present a manifesto to convince the Zambian people to vote for them, saying the people will judge them by their failures or successes in government.
The PF was set to unveil its 2021-2026 manifesto yesterday.
In an interview, FODEP Executive Director George Chimembi said it was the opposition that needed to worry about a manifesto while the ruling party needed to do self introspection.
“FODEP is of the view that PF has carried out a sincere introspection of its performance and how its policies have impacted on the Zambian people, prior to releasing its new manifesto. We are of the view that PF should have not released its manifesto to sell its policies to Zambians before the forth coming elections. We think that this is something that should have been left to the opposition parties, they are the ones that desperately need to sell themselves by way of releasing manifestos. We think that the PF should have been showcasing its economic fortunes and how these have added value to Zambian households,” he said.
“The PF can’t use a new manifesto to convince Zambians to side with it because the PF pro poor policies can be of value in terms of their impact on people’s lives. People can easily talk about the PF’s failures or successes in terms of the cost of living, employment, access to health and other social sectors.”
He added that the PF economic performance left much to be desired.
“Zambians can also assess the PF’s policies in terms of infrastructure development, rural electrification and mobile phones connectivity in the rural areas. However, we wish to note with concern that overall the PF’s economic performance leaves much to be desired. The new manifesto must convince Zambians what measures they have put in place to restore macro-economic fundamentals which will bring down the high cost of living, the high food prices, uncontrollable inflation, the free falling of the Kwacha to convertible currencies as well as dealing with the unsustainable debt burden,” Chimembi said.
Chimembi further noted that the insensitivity by the PF toward vibrant and critical civil society is what was killing the party.
“Largely what we think has killed PF is its insensitivity, it’s very insensitive to critical voices and a vibrant civil society. In a democracy, we need a vibrant citizenry which is alert and which can hold those that are elected to account. How does the PF transform the media, especially the public media instead of stifling the voices of the people through the media and through laws like the cyber security and cyber-crimes law? They should allow more freedom of the people so that people can articulate and participate in the governance of the nation,” he said
“Stakeholders also want the PF to articulate policies that are consistent, because in the past, the so-called pro poor policies have been inconsistent. Largely, the economy has collapsed due to the inconsistency in the policies of the PF. So then Zambians would want to see a manifesto that will articulate policies that will be implemented consistently and these policies should give hope to citizens. Especially if the PF can articulate policies that can truly diversify the economy so that it focuses more on agriculture, tourism, and the water and energy sector,” Chimembi said.
He further said that the new PF manifesto needed to also contain measure which would be put in place to fight corruption.
“What measures is the PF going to put in place to fight corruption, we think the fight against corruption must be prioritised, issues of fundamental human rights of citizens must be respected. PF must articulate how they are going to do this in their new manifesto including restoring political and civic space so that citizens can freely and constructively interface with government. Zambians also want to see how the PF intends to put its governance house in order, there is a lot of disorder in terms of governance,” noted Chibembi.
“Zambians also want to see how PF will manage the extractive industries with the acquisition of the 100% shares in Mopani, but also how does it deal with the KCM wrangles with the owner and the newly discovered gold deposits in North western province. What benefits are going to accrue to the average Zambian?