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 2010-08-23 11:02 pm Back to NEWS
Rupiah Banda defends his govt’s stance on corruption
President Rupiah Banda with Southern Province Minister Daniel Munkombwe at Choma airstrip on Monday 23.08.2010The Post

President Rupiah Banda has argued that his government is committed towards the fight against corruption, contrary to perceptions from the public that the vice had become rampant since he assumed the presidency.

And President Banda revealed that he was almost beginning to believe people that are going around saying that his government is doing nothing.

Speaking to journalists at Lusaka City airport shortly before departure for Southern Province, President Banda said those who were saying government was not serious over the fight against corruption were just politicking.

"We are against corruption and we have put the law in place to fight against corruption. If they are talking about the issue of Mr Frederick Chiluba, these matters are in court.

They have been in court for a long time and that is what is spoiling these issues in our country. When a matter goes to court then we should wait until we hear from them," President Banda said.

"And now they have ruled the way they have done, it is up to people to decide what they want to do next. But as far as we are concerned we listen to the court even when they rule against us. Many times court rulings are against the government, you know that and we accept it."

President Banda said the nation could not fight corruption unless the judiciary was allowed to "handle these matters. So the issue of Mr Chiluba is being handled by the court, and we think that we should not be involved in making comments about it," he said.

On gender deputy minister Lucy Changwe, President Banda said: "It was not the government. You see the problem in Zambia is that everything is government. If two people are fighting in Kalingalinga I don't know anything about it. He pointing at Vice-President George Kunda doesn't know anything about it. But the law says people should not destroy each other, they should not burn people's property. So they deal with them."

President Banda said he did not have to tell the police what to do. He said it was for the police to act if somebody broke the law.

"I don't talk to them about it. You will prove this as we go forward that we are a very correct government. And I wonder what kind of country we would have if the opposition parties were in power because they seem to believe that the government must give directives on everything," President Banda said.

"There is the judiciary; there is DEC Drug Enforcement Commission. They are handled by them, not us. And my Vice-President is just a victim; it is me they are after."

On plans by civil society organisations to petition Parliament over the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) draft constitution, President Banda said they were free to go ahead.

"Again I have nothing to do with that. This is their country, it is my country. So if they think they are right let them go ahead and petition," he said.

President Banda also said the benefits to come from the Choma-Namwala road were already there. He said the road lasted 20 years without completion, but government had now completed it.

President Banda said government had built new bridges and a secondary school for girls.

"So the MP has asked us to come…the benefit is that the people around can now move with their products to Choma, to the rest of the country much easier than they did before. And it is not only there, all over the country we are building these roads," said President Banda.

"We want to open them properly so that the people will know that the government is working very hard to open up this country."

And addressing a sparse crowd of MMD cadres, government officials and commercial farmers that came to receive him on his arrival at Choma airstrip yesterday morning, President Banda said Zambians will remember him in 10 years time.

He said although he may not be there then, Zambians would remember him because in a decade's time the country would be much more developed than it had ever been.

President Banda who initially said he did not want to discuss politics said he was in the province to celebrate the completion of the Choma-Namwala road.

"I won't discuss politics with you but I want to say how grateful we are to see you," President Banda said.

"All of you who have come to receive us give us great strength as the government, meaning that you endorse what we are doing in making every effort to reconstruct our road system."

President Banda said he had been in politics for all these years together with Munkombwe, MMD parliamentary chief whip Vernon Mwaanga and others who were their age mates and that the road from Choma to Namwala had always been a song and prayer from the people of the area.

"Please fix our road and we have fixed it. Even the one in front of us from Lusaka to Livingstone is completed. We have finished it. We do not just talk," President Banda said.

"I did not come for a meeting today. I was coming to see the road because I was beginning to believe those who are going around peddling lies that this government is doing nothing. If building roads is doing nothing we are going to build more nothings."

President Banda said he had come to celebrate the new road and the many other roads that he claims his government had build around the country, with the people of Choma.

"We want to have more and more of these good things for the people," he said. "We will be coming. We are going to keep coming as long as we do something good we are going to come."

President Banda said his development agenda was for all Zambians regardless where they came from or even the political party they were affiliated to.

"Our duty is to unite all Zambians," President Banda said. "You must feel free to go to any part of this country to do what you like as long as it is within the laws of this country."

President Banda, who pronounced the One Zambia One Nation motto, urged the people of Choma not allow anybody for whatever reason to separate them from this national slogan.

"We realize we are national leaders. We are leaders for all…I am President for all Zambians," President Banda said.

"I don't sleep over you. My concern is whatever you need is supplied regardless where you come from."

President Banda said people in his government were very much aware of their duty to the people of Zambia.

"We are proud that we recognize our responsibility to all Zambians," President Banda said. "We are your servants. That is why we don't rest."

Earlier MMD provincial chairman Solomon Muzyamba said it was good that the party had something to show to the people through the completion of the Namwala-Choma road, even as President Banda was visiting the area.

Muzyamba said Choma had a very important political history and that the ruling party was delighted that President Banda opted to visit the district at this time.

He said through the completion of the road project, President Banda had done what all the past presidents had failed to do.

"Southern Province has agreed that the MMD should be supported, so in 2008 you won in Southern Province. We got a lot of votes," Muzyamba said.

"It is a blessing that at the time you have come people have something to show. Choma-Namwala road is a political road. All the past presidents failed to complete it but because of your policies today you have come to show us that it is possible."

And Southern Province minister Daniel Munkombwe said rebels within the ruling party would find themselves swimming in the mud during the MMD convention if they fail to play the political game properly.

Munkombwe said he was delighted that the Choma-Namwala road had been completed and President Banda was going there to specifically see the beauty of his effort.

"…to see that you have attracted investors in this country," said Munkombwe as he threw his arms allover. "The Bible says, 'you shall know them by the fruits they bear'. You will be known because of the fruits you have borne."

Munkombwe said the road was going to be a link road from Choma to Namwala, Central Province and Western Province.

"This is not our show. Today it is your show," Munkombwe said.

Munkombwe then said the MMD would be going to the convention and he assured a smiling President Banda that he would win at the convention.

"We will not go to the convention in order to accommodate rebels. We will not beg them, we will not apologise to them," said Munkombwe.

"If they don't play the game in a proper political swimming pool they will find themselves swimming in the mud."

Shortly, before President Banda's plane touched down at Choma airstrip, Choma district commissioner Laiven Apuleni had to cajole a paltry size of singing MMD cadres to enhance their singing tempo so that President Banda would find a thunderous welcome as he touched down.

"I expect our party cadres and officials to increase the momentum on this music so that when the President arrives he will find a thunderous welcome," Apuleni urged.

Realising the paltriness of the MMD cadres that came to welcome President Banda, the masters of ceremony had to ask a crowd comprising mostly children that were curiously watching a Zambia Air Force (ZAF) plane on which the advance party came to get closer to the addressing dais.

Some people in the crowd save for the few MMD cadres immediately in front of the addressing dais, remained non-committal in acknowledging most of President Banda's remarks.

A group of marketers displayed a banner demanding for land to build a modern market in the district whilst on the other hand they were assuring President Banda that come next year they would vote for him. These formed part of the few acknowledgers of President Banda's sentiments.

However, President Banda thanked all the people that left their busy schedules in order to receive him at the airstrip.

President Banda is scheduled to visit Choma, Itezhi-tezhi and Namwala districts over a two-day period.

The Post

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