RB dismisses Sata’s baseless talk

RB dismisses Sata’s baseless talk

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By ANGELA CHISHIMBA

PRESIDENT Banda has dismissed as baseless Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata’s allegations that Government has launched K1 trillion road works to hoodwink Zambians to vote for the MMD.

President Banda said this in response to Mr Sata’s statement that Government does not have a budget for the project which is only meant to deceive voters.

Mr Banda was speaking at Lusaka International Airport shortly before departure for Namibia where he has gone to attend a SADC extraordinary summit.

The summit has been called to discuss regional peace.

It is a follow-up to the SADC troika summit held in Livingstone in March this year.

“He can’t say we don’t have money for these projects because very soon, contractors will move on site and we will see who wants to hoodwink Zambians,” he said.

President Banda said Government is not only run on the basis of the budget. He said creative governments find finances from various sources to fund projects.

“The fact that we are having elections today does not mean we cannot embark on projects. What is important is to be focused so that the country moves forward with development,” he said.

Mr Sata, who featured on the “Hot Seat” programme on Hot FM radio yesterday, criticised Government’s decision to construct health centres countrywide, and the launch of the K1 trillion road works.

MrSata claimed that missionaries left adequate and useful infrastructure in the districts.

Meanwhile, President Banda has refuted allegations by former Minister of Defence George Mpombo that MMD is using Government funds for its campaigns.

Mr Banda said there is no way his party can take money from Government for party programmes.

He said the ruling MMD has supporters and well-wishers who finance it and pay for its programmes.

President Banda challenged the media to investigate all Government ministries to establish whether the MMD has obtained any money from Government departments.

“Ministries are open, so you are free to go and check for yourself if it is true that my party is abusing Government funds. I want to challenge you members of the press to countercheck with the ministries. This is done in other countries so you are also free to cross-check,” he said.

President Banda also said he has never attacked the Catholic Church.

“The Catholic Church is made up of individuals and within the church, there are members who support us,” he said.

And President Banda says SADC is concerned about the peace and security situation in the region.
One of the issues to be discussed at the Windhoek summit is the situation in Madagascar.

“We are going to brief the meeting on the outcome of the troika meeting we had in Livingstone,” he said.

President Banda, however, said he is optimistic that SADC will achieve the status of a peaceful region.

The summit has been called to discuss regional peace and security following the SADC Troika Organ Summit held in Zambia in March 2011.

SADC chairperson and Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba was mandated to call an extraordinary summit to discuss the issues agreed at the Livingstone Troika Organ meeting.

President Banda, who is chairperson of the SADC organ on defence and security co-operation, is expected to brief his fellow heads of State and Government on the progress made in the implementation of the global political agreement in Zimbabwe and the peace mediation process in Madagascar.

The summit will also discuss progress on the implementation of a joint Free Trade Area among the African regional blocs, which include COMESA and the East African Community.

Mr Banda was seen off by Minister of Energy Kenneth Konga and other Cabinet ministers and senior Government officials.

And former PF secretary general Edward Mumbi has said it is shameful for MrSata to say Government efforts to boost development are a political gimmick.

He said MrSata’s comments on President Banda’s development projects are misleading.

“In 2006 after the general elections, Mr Sata is on record saying he would show President Mwanawasa how councils should be run.

“When PF had won seats in most of the councils, Mr Sata promised that the councillors would collect garbage, work on roads and deliver social services to the people of Zambia but to date, MrSata has done nothing,” he said.

Mr Mumbi said Mr Sata must be condemned for criticising President Banda’s efforts to improve living standards.

“We have seen roads in Lusaka, Copperbelt, Southern, Western and other parts of the country being worked on,” he said.

Mr Mumbi also challenged Mr Sata to meet him at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka so that he (Mr Sata) can prove his allegations about a shortage of drugs.

“Even Kasama General Hospital has drugs, so MrSata should not lie to Zambians. He has to prove his allegations,” he said.

“Mr Sata should know that opposition is not about childish hostility but giving credit to Government where it is due,” he said.

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