Opposition Green Party president Peter Sinkamba has asked the Government to consider tabling a motion in parliament to put a moratorium on elections until 2021.
Reacting to the bloody violent scenes shown in some sections of the media connected to the PF, UPND and the Police ahead of the February 12 Sesheke parliamentary by-election, Sinkamba said politics of violence is politics of poverty and must be stopped.
"It is so disgusting to see those violent bloody scenes in some sections of the media connected to the PF, UPND and the Police. Politics of violence is politics of poverty. It should be nipped in the bud. That's why we call upon the PF Government to consider tabling a motion in parliament either this session or the next one to put a moratorium to by-elections until 2021," Sinkamba said.
"First of all, since the advent of multi-party politics in 1990s, by-elections have largely been extremely violent compared to General Elections. This is evidence enough that by-elections are undesirable in our nation. In life, there must come a time for one to say, enough is enough and change strategy. I think time has come to say bye-bye to by-elections. Let's close this chapter and move on. After all, there is only two years remaining before the 2021 General Elections. So, even if a vacancy falls in parliament or council, there is nothing really tangible that you should expect from the person elected in the remaining period which will add value to the electorates. I don't think that any drop of blood is worth shedding for such a worthless opportunity."
And Sinkamba says political parties must expend their energies on showcasing grand ideas which could turn around the economy of Zambia and uplift the poor majority from the jaws of poverty.
"Instead of spending our energies on shedding blood of our fellow Zambians, let's dedicate that energy towards generating ideas that could turn around the economy of Zambia and uplift the poor majority from jaws of poverty. Let's showcase our party ideas. Let's show how our ideas are better than PF's policies and strategies. Let's fight intellectually not through pangas and guns. Let's be a beacon of civility in the sub-region and we can demonstrate civility if only we fight and triumph intellectually and not shedding blood," he said.
Meanwhile, Sinkamba says if Finance Minister Margret Mwanakatwe succeeds in getting an IMF bailout package for Zambia, there was a likelihood of Zesco being privatized.
"The IMF works with a letter of intent written by the government receiving the programme. This letter requires prior actions, quantitative performance criteria, and structural benchmarks to be approved by the IMF Board. The first two are not particularly controversial. However, structural benchmarks do contain a lot of sensitive structural economic reforms, often leading to privatization, labour reform, etc.
Since a significant component of Government indebtedness is a result of loans to ZESCO, privatization of ZESCO is likely to be part and parcel of the letter of intent. I see no way that Government will demonstrate to IMF how it will overcome the ZESCO debt besides privatization," he hinted.
"Besides privatization, the IMF alternative is reducing or removing subsidies and increasing the price of utilities. Such measures seek to boost government revenue and raise export earnings by making the country's products cheaper, while raising the prices of imports. This strategy is unlikely [and] no option for Zambia at the moment because power in this country is already too expensive. Therefore, increasing power any further will only result into crippling the economy. So this strategy is unlikely to be a preferred option," he added and urged the Mwanakatwe to focus more on domestic resource mobilization, "especially considering the green agenda of legalization of cannabis for medicinal and industrial purposes" and to consider his party's public asset optimization strategies, especially with regard to getting rid of toxic assets.