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Monday, 15 July 2013

Is the opposition dying?

Yes. According to Goodson Banda (PF Lusaka Province Chairman) :

“By 2016, the opposition will be no more. Zambians have demonstrated that they don’t need opposition parties anymore, what Zambians want now is development. From the 12 seats in Lusaka, we now control 10, our friends in opposition only control 2, even in school, if a student gets 2% out of a possible 12%, that student could be said to be dull. So the opposition in Zambia is dull and Zambians have rejected them.”
I think the "dull student" would correct him and say its 17% out of a possible 100%. The student may also disagree with him that Zambians don't care about opposition politics. We all do because Zambians like other growing countries don't just want jobs they also want democracy. A vibrant opposition is key to safeguarding those liberties.

But I agree with him that that PF look unchallenged for 2016 as long as they choose an "okay" candidate. They have already got rid of the difficult policy decisions out of the way. So there should be no major policies to hurt the public between now and 2016. A safe and non-divisive pair of hands should be able to secure another term after Mr Sata goes. Provided the roads, health and education infrastructure are delivered properly.

The reason is simply that there's no opposition in Zambia. The opposition is very fragmented and incapable of uniting. They have good people but too many egos. Some have invested too much money to let others lead them. But even if they did combine, the recent Feira result shows an overwhelming defeat. Unless the opposition coalesce now, they won't stop PF in 2016.

A key uncertainty is whether there will be 50% + 1 in 2016. The draft constitution should be ratified by then but it's unlikely to be fully implemented by 2016. Some of the proposals are quite costly and require thinking through. It is even possible that the referendum may take place in 2016 at the same time as the elections to save money. That argument could be quite powerful to resist.

Chola Mukanga | Economist | Writer
Copyright © Zambian Economist 2013

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