Zambia’s new president will have to balance austerity and the high expectations of the many unemployed young people and struggling people who voted for him.
Whoever wins the elections will face two key challenges: reviving the country’s democratic credentials and stimulating the economy.
Frustration is growing among opposition supporters who believe the last election was stolen.
Distrust of the electoral commission runs deep in the opposition, which may well lead to increased tensions ahead of and following the polls.
The IMF’s decision to go ahead with a bailout package for Zambia, despite the government’s democratic failings, could embolden the president to pursue an authoritarian strategy.
The world’s media, which has in the past found Zambia uninteresting, are suddenly paying more attention to the impoverished nation, for all the wrong reasons.
Zambia’s Edgar Lungu shouldn’t consider his presidential victory to mean business as usual in the management of the economy; nor an opportunity to waste and plunder.