There’ll be no honeymoon for next president says Professor Chigunta

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lungu manhh manPROFESSOR Francis Chigunta says there will be no honeymoon for the incoming president because the Zambian economy is currently vulnerable to internal and external shocks.

In an interview, Prof Chigunta, a development expert and former political advisor to Rupiah Banda, said there would also be ‘a crisis of expectation’ after the January 20 presidential election owing to the multitudes of promises being made during this campaign period.

“The incoming president will inherit a country that is highly polarised along political lines; he’ll inherit an economy that is vulnerable to both internal and external shocks. So the plate is already full for the incoming president. There will be no honeymoon. They will have to hit the ground and immediately start running,” he said. “So on top of those promises, they have these economic and political challenges. And we are having another election next year, so there will be no room for excitement or resting. Their hair will quickly go grey. People are expecting too much so there will be a crisis of expectation as well.”

Prof Chigunta said the government must make the recorded economic growth inclusive.

“Growth is still on track despite some of the economic challenges the country is facing, economic growth is still buoyant at 6.5 projected for 2014. This is comfortably ahead of the projected growth of sub-Saharan Africa of 5.1 per cent and the global economy of 3.3 per cent. Economically, Zambia is doing well. But the challenge really is the type of economic growth that the country has experienced in recent years is not benefiting the majority of people. These have been left out of the growth process,” he said. “That’s where the challenge is and the Zambian government should make the growth process more inclusive and broad based and they should make the growth process more transformative because right now it is mono-economic, largely dependent on one export commodity and we should move away from that because it makes us very vulnerable to both internal and external risks.”

Prof Chigunta also advised PF president Edgar Lungu to re-assert his authority over the people surrounding him.

“I don’t know much about Edgar Lungu but those surrounding him need to be careful in the manner in which they are managing their candidate because as leader, he ultimately takes responsibility for everything so he should make sure that he re-asserts his authority over those who are surrounding him. He needs to come out more forcefully and publicly denounce that violence because that will send a positive signal to his followers that violence should not be used as a means to attaining political power,” he said.

Prof Chigunta also projected that Lusaka and Eastern provinces would be the key determinants in the outcome of the presidential election.
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