Here is one major campaign issue
Get ready to hear a lot about roads! Roads constitute one of the PF government’s two trump cards in this year’s elections – the other one being the constitution – and it will waste no opportunity pointing out that it has been constructing roads and other infrastructure left, right and centre. In fact, its spokesman, Chishimba Kambwili, has just announced that the PF government has spent over $7 billion on infrastructure since it assumed office in 2011, making it sound like a good thing. Not necessarily. New roads may bring development, they may not – it depends. The problem is that government embarked on its ambitious infrastructure programmes without the money to fund them. Instead, it borrowed extensively, putting Zambia in its current economic squeeze. Driven by the personal ambitions of the PF’s first president, Michael Sata, the infrastructure programmes were initiated in a rush without proper planning, meaning that we now have many roads built at bloated prices, sub-standard quality and leading to places that seem to be of political rather than economic significance. My own road, Mungwi Road in Lusaka, had its patchwork of potholes filled in about six months ago. Yet, motorists are already back at playing a dangerous asphalt version of connect-the-dots between the potholes. Let’s hope that this won’t be the fate of all the other roads.
Camilla Hebo Buus, Editor Zambia Weekly