JAMES MUNDIA, Lusaka
As Zambia draws closer to the general election on August 12, politicians are heightening their campaigns hoping to put pieces together and woo votes.
There are 16 presidential candidates participating in the election, but analysts have narrowed down the contest to Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front and Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development.
But this year’s election has presented a challenge to the political landscape as candidates have been restricted to virtual campaigns or, at best, door-to-door solicitation of votes because of COVID-19 prevention measures.
That means while parties may have their billboards towering across the country, they will not directly interact with voters, which has somewhat reduced the fanfare associated with such an event.
As it has been in the past two elections, this year’s contest will be between President Lungu and Mr Hichilema, who were separated by about four percent in the 2016 general election.
So, what are the issues in this election or what factors will determine who emerges winner? Here is a peek into the two major political parties and how they are likely to perform in the elections:
LUNGU VS HICHILEMA: THE LAST CONTEST
Barring a constitutional change, this is the last time we are seeing the two leading candidates on the same ballot. A win for the incumbent means he will not be eligible for re-election in 2026 elections while an opposition victory similarly means the PF will adjust the leadership going into the next election. The last two have been in bruising “fights” separated by fine margins.
COVID-19 will play a significant part in the outcome of the elections. Firstly, the decision by the incumbent not to close key sectors of the economy at the height of the pandemic has certainly won the hearts of many Zambians, the bulk who rely on small day-to-day activities for survival.
Shop owners, marketeers, barbershop owners, street vendors and many other businesses have greatly benefitted from the CLICK TO READ MORE
JAMES MUNDIA, Lusaka