Former First Lady Maureen apologises over BBC remarks
first lady Maureen Mwanawasa|
FORMER first lady Maureen Mwanawasa
yesterday apologised unreservedly to the people of Zambia and the Government for
the misunderstanding caused by her interview
aired on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) last week. Mrs Mwanawasa
also said she would always treat the benefits under the former President’s Act
as a privilege and not a right.“First and foremost, I apologise unreservedly to
the people of Zambia and the Government for the misunderstanding that has been
caused through the BBC interview,” Mrs Mwanawasa said.
“I wish to state
that I am not a selfish person as some sections of society would like to portray
and that I take the Government statutory provision as a privilege and not as a
right and I cannot disparage the same when I am fully aware of the sufferings of
“I have always and will always treat this gesture as a
privilege which I appreciate and I am grateful for, and that it is incumbent
upon myself to fend for my family, ” Mrs Mwanawasa said.
saying that she wanted Government to increase her retirement package but stated
that she had decided to go back to her legal profession and continue to work to
meet the family needs, especially education.
Mrs Mwanawasa said the
interview, which was conducted in February this year, was not an isolated
incident and the BBC also interviewed some former and current first
On the demise of her husband, Mrs Mwanawasa noted that though the
matter had attracted public debate, she would not issue any further comments but
find a way to amicably discuss the matter with the Government.
Wednesday, Chief Government spokesperson Ronnie Shikapwasha expressed shock over
Mrs Mwanawasa’s complaints that it did not carry out an investigation regarding
the death of her husband.
Gen Shikapwasha said the benefits of former
heads of state, their spouses and children were prescribed by the Benefits of
Former Presidents’ Act, Cap 15 as amended, and the Presidential Emoluments Act
Recently, Mrs Mwanawasa told the BBC that she only gets 50 per
cent of what the sitting president gets which was not enough to sustain
“My children are in private schools. One of them requires $2,000 per
term. My daughter in London needs 10,000 British pounds a year. This is less
accommodation, upkeep and air transport. This life is unsustainable. I can’t use
$1,000 to educate my children,” she said.
She said she was disappointed
that the Government did not investigate why her husband collapsed at a
conference in Egypt and said they were in a hurry to go for elections after he