Wednesday, May 14, 2008

People opposed to Chembe bridge name should keep quiet, says MP

People opposed to Chembe bridge name should keep quiet, says MP
By Correspondent
Wednesday May 14, 2008 [04:00]

CHEMBE member of parliament Mwansa Mbulakulima has advised people opposed to naming the bridge at Chembe after President Mwanawasa not to create unnecessary acrimony over the matter. And MMD Luapula Province youth chairperson David Chanda has said that naming the bridge after President Mwanawasa is a wise decision.

Reacting to former Luapula Province minister Kennedy Sakeni’s statement that naming the bridge after President Mwanawasa would be the most foolish thing one could do, Mbulakulima advised Zambians to desist from politicising or personalising issues and instead concentrate on unifying the nation.

He said the government’s decision to construct a bridge at Chembe was good because it was in the interest of the people in the area and it would be wrong to use it to fight personal or political battles.

Mbulakulima said waging battles over straightforward issues was retrogressive.
He said both the Mansa Municipal and the Milenge district councils had resolved that the bridge be named after President Mwanawasa.

He said the decision to name the bridge after President Mwanawasa was also supported by chiefs Milambo and Kasoma Luela in whose areas the bridge is situated.
“My advice to those who are against the idea is to keep quiet, instead of creating unnecessary friction over straightforward issues,” Mbulakulima said.

He said he was surprised that naming the bridge after President Mwanawasa had become an issue in Zambia when in other countries some airports, football stadium and other infrastructure were named after individuals.

“I think as Zambians, let us learn to give credit where it is due. President Mwanawasa’s decision to start the construction of a bridge at Chembe was a good decision and it was aimed at improving transportation between Luapula and Copperbelt. So I think it will be good to name the bridge after him,” he said.

Sakeni last weekend said those that insisted on the name were bootlickers who wanted to please their appointing authority. He said President Mwanawasa did not use personal money to warrant the bridge being named after him.

And Chanda said God should forgive Sakeni for his ‘insulting language’.
He said the political will that President Mwanawasa displayed in having the bridge built could not got without appreciation.

“Mansa district council has no other means of appreciating but to name the bridge after him (President Mwanawasa). We are all aware the President was not using his money, even that we have to say thank you,” Chanda said.

“In the previous regimes we saw old schools renamed after the president, Sakeni should set aside his perceived personal differences with the President. It’s not an issue of bootlicking, the people of Luapula had lost hope as to whether the bridge would be constructed but a listening leader came in. Why should we not appreciate?”
Chanda said President Mwanawasa did not make Sakeni lose elections and that people just rejected him because of his uncalled-for behaviour.

“We can’t expect someone who worked under him (President Mwanawasa) to use such language,” said Chanda.

And Mambilima member of parliament John Chinyanta said Sakeni’s statement was sad and underplaying the role the infrastructure would take to Luapula.

He appealed to the people of Luapula to differentiate between politics and development.
“The MPs that have come to Parliament have cried for a bridge from Dr Kaunda and Dr Chiluba and it had to take the will of Dr Mwanawasa to have the bridge. One of the hallmarks of leadership is to unite the people and not divide them,” he said.

“Honourable Sakeni was our minister. Before we moved into the election, the Chembe Bridge was a campaign issue. When I see statements from somebody I respect makes me very sad.”

He said it was not a very big issue that the bridge was named after President Mwanawasa.



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