PF Media and Political Technical Committee Spokesperson Amos Chanda has asked Zambians to trust President Edgar Lungu because he always delivers on his promises.

And Chanda says although the PF leadership recognises the high cost of living, Zambia is not worse off than its neighbouring countries.

Meanwhile, Chanda says the PF has already secured victory in the rural parts of Zambia because farming inputs have been delivered on time.

Speaking when he featured Millennium Radio’s ‘Talk At 6’ programme, Monday, Chanda asked Zambians to trust President Lungu.

“The confidence in the PF emanates from the track record since 2011. The campaign and manifestos that were given have by and large been fulfilled. The bottlenecks and cost of doing business from one border to another for exports was exorbitantly very high because of the dilapidated public infrastructure. So the party put forward a plan that we are going to open up the country, create a conducive atmosphere for doing business, grow the economy and create road, rail and all transport infrastructure that will be a catalyst for development. On this front, the achievement has been phenomenal. In the social economic sector which is schools and hospitals, there has been a phenomenal investment in there. Almost 90 percent of the 650 health posts that the government said they would deliver have been delivered. New mini hospitals have been delivered and expansion in Secondary School places, colleges and universities,” Chanda said.

“So when you put all these things together, you are talking about tried and tested leadership that people can trust. They can trust President Edgar Lungu because they can see that the promises he makes, he delivers. They can trust him because they can see that under pressure or crisis, he will take you through with minimal inconvenience. We have had to go through one of the most challenging economic period, made worse by the COVID pandemic. I think the leadership at the top has demonstrated that the people can trust him individually as captain and collectively as entire Patriotic Front leadership.”

And said President Lungu confronted COVID-19 in a manner where the economy remained open but with stringent measures to prevent escalation of infections.

“The cost of living has been made worse. Commodity prices on the international market dropped and Zambia is a commodity price-driven economy. When copper prices went down, the foreign exchange earnings went down and therefore, the imports became more expensive and there was less foreign exchange to get in imports. There was less to invest in machinery, agriculture, mining, processing and across all far sets of the economy. Just when the country was recovering, the global pandemic came through and it disrupted the supply chain routes globally,” Chanda said.

“Therefore the cost of living almost without exception in most of the emerging economies has gone up. Within the developed countries, there are inbuilt mechanisms to cope with those stress levels but for an import-dependent economy, you ought to prepare for this bad patch. It was very clear right from the start that the President was not going to close down the economy. He took a very wise decision to confront COVID in a manner where the economy remains open but with measures stringent enough to prevent the escalation of infections. So the cost of living is high. The government, President Lungu and everybody in the leadership recognises this but we are not worse off than our neighbouring countries.”

Chanda said the investments in the energy sector would help generate income to service debt.

“You will borrow into the market, borrow responsibly and invest in production. So borrowing per say is not a bad thing. It is whether you borrow to invest in production or consumption. The 750 megawatts power station at Kafue Lower Gorge, will expand power supply. This is a single biggest investment in the power sector since independence. Power was being rationed and mines were not functioning at full capacity. Eventually there was going to be a shutdown unless very bold decisions were taken to invest in there and Zambia is now moving from a deficit position into a surplus position. Some of this power, because it is excess, will be exported into deficit areas so that the country will earn foreign exchange. I am very certain that from 2021 to 2026, some of this power supply to other countries will be part of the money raised to even help service the debt,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chanda said the PF had already secured victory in the rural parts of Zambia because farming inputs had been delivered on time.

“I know the winning threshold is 50+1 votes. Instead of being misunderstood, all I can tell you is that within the first round, the PF will achieve the winning threshold without any problems. I have seen change and I can tell change when I have seen one. I have not seen it. Since PF came into power in 2011, have you ever heard of a single member of parliament for the opposition UPND in Muchinga, Eastern, Luapula or even Copperbelt and Lusaka Provinces? That is something short of a magical summersault. The PF was present in other strongholds and it went and got the seat in Nalolo and Mongu, but where will that victory come from? In more than 60 or 70 percent of the country, since 1998 when they were formed, the UPND is older than PF but they have never had a seat. Where will that come from? Let us not talk about the North or East of the country, let us not divide the country into those geographical descriptions. Let us talk about Lusaka and Copperbelt. The PF is not a party of Lusaka and Copperbelt exclusively. These are strategic urban centers but it is also spread across other provinces,” said Chanda.

“So we want to know that to govern a country of ten provinces, and you barely have support beyond three provinces, how is it possible that you can secure victory? PF is a party that spreads all over and since then it has maintained its support base both in Lusaka, Copperbelt and slightly more than half of Central Province. So we have not seen any changes whatsoever in the demographic profile of these provinces. So we cannot foresee where this projected victory in social media groups is coming from. The PF has maintained the support in rural Zambia by injecting more resources. So when you see that more victory is in rural areas it is because fertilizer has reached them already. The 2021/2022 farming season is over in terms of distribution of inputs so there is a guaranteed vote there. The infrastructure development you are seeing in Lusaka will translate. People can see so they will respond. Both the middle and lower class the PF has catered for all this. This is why President Lungu is confident that the winning threshold of 50+1 will be achieved without going for a rerun.”