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Jesuit Scholars in Zambia Urge Voters to Look Out for What Addresses Economic Hardships

The Logo of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR). Credit: JCTR

Jesuit Scholars in Zambia have called on voters in the country to scrutinize all campaign messages offered by political aspirants ahead of the August 12 elections, looking out for what seeks to address the country’s economic challenges.  

In a Sunday, July 18 report, the leadership of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) says Zambia is facing economic challenges that need to be urgently addressed. 

"It is pertinent for all voters to scrutinize the messages that different political leaders are advancing as they campaign for election in the August poll to see if they are addressing these economic challenges," JCTR officials say. 

The Southern African nation, they say, “is undeniably faced with key socio-economic issues that need urgent solutions."

"Sustainable and workable solutions to the nation’s challenges should be core to various campaign themes with emphasis on upholding the common good and the dignity of every Zambian," the Jesuit scholars further observe. 

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In the Basic Needs and Nutrition Basket (BNNB) statement that stipulates the country’s cost of living for June 2021, the Jesuit scholars say the economic hardships are "characterized by high poverty, high unemployment and low-income levels among others." 

They add that the situation has been worsened by the increased inflation rate. 

Zambia has recorded a 24.6 percent inflation rate, an increase from the 23.2 percent recorded in May this year, according to the Zambia Statistics Agency (ZSA).

The onset of the third wave of the COVID-19 which has presented "additional household expenditures (and) exacerbated the plight of the most vulnerable and marginalized," the Jesuit scholars add.

The landlocked country has recorded 186,279 cases of COVID-19 including 3,113 deaths and 173,320 recoveries. 

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In the July 18 statement, officials of the Jesuit research institute express concerns about the high cost of living saying it is "beyond the reach of many Zambians." 

As a way to improve the country’s economy, the Jesuit scholars call upon the government to ensure that the population is vaccinated against COVID-19. 

"JCTR urges the government to not only enforce the existing COVID-19 guidelines but also garner its mobilization efforts to secure adequate vaccines for all Zambians irrespective of social or economic status. This is imperative for the nation’s economic recovery," the Jesuit scholars say.