Sudden wealth and power seems to have made Edgar Lungu drift from reality and live in a dream world. Addressing Parliament last Friday, Edgar said by 2030, Zambia should be a middle-income nation.

“We aspire to build a strong and dynamic industrial nation that provides opportunities for improving the well-being of all our people and embodies values of socio economic justice. By 2030, we want to see a Zambia where every citizen has access to safe, clean water, food, decent housing, electricity, quality education and health services, and decent jobs. In pursuit of this vision, we need to transform into a smart-Zambia,” said Edgar. “In this regard, we need to adopt modern, dynamic and innovative ways of doing things. We also have to continuously research, learn, and adopt new and better ways of doing business. Equally, we need to be resourceful, efficient and productive in all that we do.”

Hehehe, hehehe, hehehe! This is really wishful thinking. Just because he has personally gotten so rich in such a short time, Edgar thinks the country can also so! How? The country can’t do what he has done to enrich himself.

And wishful thinking is the formation of beliefs and making decisions according to what might be pleasing to imagine instead of by appealing to evidence, rationality or reality. It is a product of resolving conflicts between belief and desire. Christopher Booker described wishful thinking in terms of “the fantasy cycle”, a pattern that recurs in personal lives, in politics, in history – and in storytelling. When we embark on a course of action which is unconsciously driven by wishful thinking, all may seem to go well for a time, in what may be called the “dream stage”. But because this make-believe can never be reconciled with reality, it leads to a “frustration stage” as things start to go wrong, prompting a more determined effort to keep the fantasy in being. As reality presses in, it leads to a “nightmare stage” as everything goes wrong, culminating in an “explosion into reality”, when the fantasy finally falls apart.

Wishful thinking may cause blindness to unintended consequences.

There’s no way, with this chaotic economic management, that Zambia  industrialise in less 12 years. What is going to make it possible for  every Zambian to have access to safe, clean water, food, decent housing, electricity, quality education and health services and decent jobs in less 12 years? Does Edgar really know and understand where this country is economically? Does Edgar know that Zambia is the third hungriest country in the world, after Chad and the Central African Republic? Does Edgar know that Zambia has one of the highest birth rates in the world? Does he know that Zambia has one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the world? Does Edgar know that Zambia has rural poverty levels of 76.6 per cent? Does Edgar know that currently, the Western Province has poverty levels of 82.2 per cent, Luapula Province 81.1 per cent, Northern Province 79.9 per cent, Eastern Province 70 per cent, Muchinga Province 69.3 per cent, Northern Western Province 66.4 per cent, Southern Province 57.6 per cent, Central Province 56.2 per cent, Copperbelt Province  30.8 per cent and Lusaka Province 20.2 per cent? What is it that he is going to do in the next 11 years to drastically reduce these poverty levels?

And currently, 85 per cent of Zambia’s workforce is deployed in agriculture producing only nine per cent of the GDP, six per cent in industry accounting for 24 per cent of the GDP and nine per cent in services generating 67 per cent of the GDP.  What is it that Edgar is doing to alter this in a decade? How is he going to pool this with the current very heavy debt burden? And how can this country develop with very high levels of corruption that are leading to inefficient, ineffective and irrational utilisation of the country’s very limited financial resources?

Clearly, this is nothing but wishful thinking!

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