DURING elections, world over, politicians resort to all sorts and forms of tactics to woo voters. They use various campaign strategies and modes to ensure their individual and political party success at the expense of their rivals.

This is the situation obtaining in Zambia as we head towards the August 12 elections. Some political party leaders are showcasing their success stories in terms of their achievements.

Others are parading what they claim to be their opponents’ failures. Yet still, others are using the time to promise heaven on earth. Others have engaged in character assassination and violence.

Such politicians are merely whipping the intelligence of the voters.

 Except the long standing Forum for Democracy and Development of Edith Zwelani Nawakwi and Wynter Kabimba’s Rainbow Party which have thrown their weight behind the Patriotic Front, the rest of the political parties have gone into the campaign fray with all guns blazing and all cylinders on full throttle.

Some people have argued that the tangle in this year’s elections will basically pit the PF and the UPND, but it would be folly to rule out the Socialist Party of Fred M’membe, the Democratic Party of Harry Kalaba, Andyford Mayele Banda’s People’s Alliance for Change who did quite well in the 2016 elections, beating some seasoned political parties. Sean Enock Tembo’s Patriots for Economic Progress is another party to watch out for; plus, several other contestants.

One can say that the PF has entered the August 12 elections political arena with a basketful of deliverables. The PF has launched a blistering campaign parading its enviable record of successful nationwide infrastructure development, remodeled social service and agricultural inputs delivery scopes, youth and women empowerment and other paradigm shifting fronts that have transformed Zambia’s socio-economic landscape. This is all clear for all to see.

However, the Patriotic Front needs to also come out with how they intend to resolve the high youth unemployment, inadequate college and university scholarships, unstable foreign exchange rate, spiraling inflation rate, the challenges that mining contractors face at the hands of foreign mine owners who prefer foreign contractors to Zambians.

The PF must spend time convincing Zambians how, should they be re-elected, they hope to resolve these challenges; to give hope and inspire the electorate. This is what Zambians want to hear – how their chances of economic empowerment and survival will be rekindled.

The United Party for National Development has brought into the political arena a record of experience in election campaigns and political insights.

The UPND has managed to retain the position of main opposition in Zambia’s democratic system since 2011. The UPND has launched its August 12, 2021 campaign with blistering roadshows and door to door engagements, truncated by legal suits against what they perceive to be infringements on their democratic right to free and fair elections.

The UPND has now and again petitioned against various acts, including the 2016 presidential election results, that they have argued have disadvantaged their democratic progress.

They have also argued that the Zambian government and the Police Service have not acted fairly towards UPND members’ human rights.

Yet, Zambians want to hear how the UPND, should they be elected, intend to sort out the present socio-economic challenges. The UPND, like Seer 1 has argued on social media, has told Zambians that once elected into power, within hours the Zambian Kwacha will appreciate from K22 plus down to K5 per US dollar!

Indeed, though possible, this would be like a magic wand, but the UPND should go further and tell Zambians where the stash of dollars will come from to dramatically change the Kwacha-Dollar exchange parity within hours of the presidential swearing in. This is important to convince the voters unequivocally.

The UPND should also bring out its formula for tacking youth unemployment, increasing scholarships and resolving all other national challenges affecting Zambia presently.

Harry Kalaba and the Democratic Party have been on the political scene for some time now. They have traversed the length and breadth of Zambia since the formation of their party in 2018. In the words of party president, Harry Kalaba, the DP has refused to “join an alliance to escort another party to power;” opting to go solo into the 2021 elections.

Fred M’membe’s campaign style and tactics appear to be defying the odds. His party has spread all over the country quite rapidly and their campaign messages appear to be permeating the political membrane of the electorate quite well.

This is a party to watch in this year’s and future elections. Fred M’membe’s socialist orientation seems to be quite well poised to do well with regard to youth voters.

Therefore, the current election campaigns should be thrust on resolving the present economic malaise, how to defeat corruption wherever it rears its ugly head and how to assure a sustainable socio-economic front for all Zambians and their posterity.

The central thrust of the 2021 election campaigns should be premised on reducing the cost of living, avoiding Covid-19 super-spreader political rallies and not whipping the intelligence of the voters with character assassination and violence which do not add value to people’s livelihoods.

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