Saturday, January 26, 2008

Kanyama roads rehabilitation is a high degree of deception, says HH

Kanyama roads rehabilitation is a high degree of deception, says HH
By Brighton Phiri and Mutuna Chanda
Saturday January 26, 2008 [03:00]

REHABILITATION of the road network in Kanyama is a high degree of deception, opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema has charged. But Vice-President Rupiah Banda has defended the government's clearing of drainage in Kanyama area, saying it was not prompted by the forthcoming by-elections. Commenting on the on-going rehabilitation works on the road network in Kanyama compound, Hichilema warned that what was happening in Kenya could occur in Zambia if electoral malpractices continued.

"What is happening in Kanyama is high degree of deception. Kanyama is a disaster due to lack of sanitation, it is not fit for human habitation and yet our people are forced to live under such conditions," Hichilema said.

"Look at Kanyama Clinic, it is a sorry sight. Our women queue for hours for water. Human waste has mixed with the floods and that is where our people walk through. To go to Kanyama and start grading roads now is an insult for our people."

Hichilema urged Kanyama residents to avoid falling prey to the MMD government's deception.
He said there was no justification for the government to undertake rehabilitation works in areas where there were elections.

And some Kanyama residents described the works in Kanyama as a ploy by the ruling party and government to win their support during the forthcoming by-election set for February 21.

A check by The Post found a ZNS crane registration number ZNS 3265 clearing the blocked drainage system while some Lusaka City Council trucks were busy collecting refuse from the compound.

A resident, Elina Zulu, said as much as the residents appreciated the development, it was wrong for the government to blackmail the people over the next election.
"We are not blind, we are seeing these things and we shall vote accordingly," Elina said.

Simon Munthali wondered why the equipment was brought into Kanyama after President Mwanawasa's declaration that he was ready to campaign for three days in Kanyama.

Serena Chinyama said it was wrong for government to assist its people only when they had lost their beloved member of parliament.

"Is it fair for this rehabilitation to come upon the death of our former member of parliament?" she asked.

But Lusaka Mayor Stephen Chilatu said the road rehabilitation works in Kanyama had nothing to do with the by-elections in the area.

When asked why the LCC had taken long to move into the compound when the floods rocked the area during the second week of December last year, Chilatu said:

"Our residents must appreciate that we are hampered with lack of resources and we only moved into Kanyama after approving our budget recently."

"We are in Kanyama because we owe to the residents and not out of the forthcoming by-election," he said.
Chilatu said what must be realised is that Kanyama is prone to cholera and it will not be helpful to wait until the elections are over.
"As council we have no direct interest in the forthcoming election," said Chilatu.

And Vice-President Banda in Parliament on Thursday denied suggestions that the government was clearing the drainages in Kanyama because of the by-elections scheduled for next month.
"Plans to drain Lusaka have been made and the army is working with local authorities in this effort," Banda said.

The Post on the front page of its Thursday edition carried a picture showing a Zambia National Service excavator working on one of the drainages in Kanyama compound.

And Vice-President Banda said that government had released K14 billion for relief efforts to flood victims in the country.

Debating President Mwanawasa's speech during the opening of the second session of the Tenth National Assembly, Vice-President Banda said that more money would be needed to help people affected by floods.

"The floods of 2007/2008 are a result of rainfall way above normal, especially in the Southern Province where more than twice of normal rains have been experienced," Banda said. "As of today (Thursday) 3,337 families have been affected and have had to be helped in various ways."

He said some of the families that had been affected by floods were staying in camps in which the government with the help of partners had supported while other families were staying with their extended families.

"The government has provided 15,000 metric tonnes of maize in relief to those who had been affected by the floods," Banda said.

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