AT the peak of the 1991 elections, the late Frederick Chiluba knew what lay in store for him if he became president of Zambia.
At almost all rallies, Chiluba would ask the would-be electorate if they were ready to sacrifice, to which he got a resounding YES answer.
He knew for sure that campaign promises could put a leader in trouble if he fails to fulfil them, which is the case in most cases.
Zambians should remember that even the first Republican president Kenneth Kaunda was taken to task for promising Zambians that they would be eating an egg each and every day.
Now in the history of Zambian politics, no politician has made numerous feel-good promises like what we are hearing from one prominent leader who is promising heaven on earth.
Political scientists have defined an election promise or campaign promise as a promise or guarantee made to the public by a candidate or political party that are trying to win an election.
Though many studies have revealed that election promises may be instrumental in getting an official elected to office, it has also been found that election promises are often abandoned once in office.
The lies we are hearing from this leader would make Zambia become better than most European countries.
All along the leader has been blaming load shedding on President Lungu and the Patriotic Front (PF) leadership, deliberately ignoring the fact that load shedding in Zambia started at the same time with South Africa which was also experiencing a power deficit.
It is sad to note that the leader chose to share ignorance with citizens instead of explaining to them that load shedding is in fact a global phenomenon.
The same high priest of liars and alarmist was featured on Radio Phoenix’s ‘Let the People Talk’ last week where he blamed the current economic challenges that Zambia is going through on what he terms as over-borrowing of the PF government.
He said his party was growing at a faster rate and that people were tired of the poor leadership being offered by the PF government.
He further ranted on that the 11 years there was a boom in the prices of copper was an opportunity for Zambia to diversify the economy. Sounds simple on paper.
The only problem is what alternatives can this alarmist and theorist offer other than bore us with the same old story without being specific?
If this leader is a qualified economist, he should by now know that almost all countries globally including America are experiencing a global economic slowdown, something that has nothing to do with leadership.
When talking about the underperforming Kwacha, again the leader stumbled lamentably since he failed to appreciate that our currency is today stronger than the South African Rand.
Throughout the interview, our good economist generalised and made sweeping statements without being specific.
If Zambians have short memories, we can remind them that our perfect economist has solutions for all political and economic problems like load shedding, underperforming Kwacha, standard of living, unemployment, women empowerment and even raising the prices of copper.
Fortunately, we can remind him that he is not alone in promising citizens heaven on earth since in other countries including those in Europe, misguided politicians have made similar promises.
It is such lies that have increased the negative public’s perception of politicians who make broken political promises which they lump on gullible voters.
Below we can cite some unfulfilled promises made by politicians in Europe.
The British Liberal Party pledged to cut military spending, before embarking on the Dreadnought arms race with Germany.
The British Labour Party in 1945 also pledged to set up a new ministry of housing while Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, in 1987, said that “by 1990 no Australian child will be living in poverty.”
In the 1988 campaign, the former American president George H. W. Bush promised not to raise taxes.
This lie was best remembered in a speech at the Republican National Convention when he said “Congress will push and push…and I’ll say read my lips: no new taxes.”
After a recession began during his term and the deficit widened, Bush agreed to proposals to increase taxes making him a laughing stock.
Although not the only broken promise concerning taxes, it was by far the most famous.
In 1994, upon entering Italian politics, media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi promised that he would sell his assets in Fininvest (later Mediaset) because of the conflict of interest it would have generated.
Berlusconi repeated the promise a number of times in later years, but after 12 years and having served three terms as prime minister, he still retained ownership of his company that controls virtually all the Italian private TV stations and a large number of magazines and publishing houses, which have extensively been used in favour of his political party.
We are calling on Zambians to mark every promise some opposition leaders are making especially those coming from the foremost leader who prides himself as a top economist.
So any time you hear some far-fetched promise from an opposition leader, take it with a pinch of salt since talking is cheap.
There are people who walk the talk instead of waffling on radio station promising heaven to all of us if we vote for them.