2016 elections will be tight – VJ.

THE outcome of the 2016 general elections is difficult to forecast and no political party should feel comfortable or confident of emerging victorious next year, veteran politician Vernon Mwaanga has said.

He said there were ‘‘too many imponderables’’ on the political arena that had the potential to affect the outcome of the 2016 general elections and political parties should therefore not consider themselves winners before the election date.

Dr Mwaanga said political parties should not ignore the old adage that politics is the art of the possible and that one week or even a month in an election period was a long time to change an election result as a lot could happen during the time.

Responding to a press query on the general elections next year, Dr Mwaanga said while politicians were free to say whatever they felt like including predicting their victory, citizens would have the final verdict on who they would elect to govern the country.

He explained that Zambians had become more enlightened and could not be taken for political rides and would certainly vote for leaders who would be able to find solutions to their daily social and economic challenges.

Dr Mwaanga said the country was going through one of the most difficult economic situations since the days of the one-party State with the Kwacha having hit its lowest ebb which had caused a lot of economic anxieties among Zambians.

He stated that Zambians were looking for leaders who could halt the depreciation of the Kwacha but that those offering themselves to take up the leadership of the country would have to work hard to make Zambians believe their messages.

Dr Mwaanga explained that the run-away depreciation of the Kwacha against the United States dollar and other major convertible currencies had reached economically alarming and frightening levels and that there was need to work hard to reverse the trend.

“All things being equal, Zambia will hold the tripartite elections next year whose outcome is still very difficult to forecast. There are still too many imponderables which have the potential to affect outcome of the election results next year.

‘‘No political party should therefore feel comfortable or confident of winning the general elections next year. Political parties should remember the old adage that politics is the art of the possible and that one week or month is a long time to change things,” he said.

Dr Mwaanga said as a result of the depreciation of the Kwacha, the cost of living had risen as the cost of food, consumer goods, services as well as fertilizer had more than doubled.

He explained that for the first time in decades, the country’s inflationary rate had hit double digits, standing at 14.3 percent which had negatively affected the salary increases for both private and the service workers.

Dr Mwaanga said the excessive load shedding as a result of the power deficit had negatively affected individual citizens as well as companies, thereby having a negative impact on the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The veteran politician stated that while the increase in electricity tariffs had the benefit of attracting foreign investment in the energy sector, the immediate effect on the ordinary people was that it would not be cost-neutral.