Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sata remains unshaken over NCC allowances

Sata remains unshaken over NCC allowances
By Mutuna Chanda
Thursday July 10, 2008 [04:00]

PATRIOTIC Front (PF) president Michael Sata has said he is ready to go to prison for demanding to know how much National Constitutional Conference (NCC) commissioners are being paid. And Sata said PF is only interested in 14 out of the 26 PF members of parliament that are participating in the NCC. Meanwhile, Sata said political failures were trying to use former president Frederick Chiluba’s name in coming up with a political party.

Reacting to remarks attributed to NCC spokesperson Mwangala Zaloumis that the body would seek legal protection from the PF leader’s continued attacks on it, Sata said he could not be intimidated by her threats.

“I would rather go to prison on behalf of the people of Zambia than keep quiet on knowing how much commissioners at NCC are getting,” Sata said. “We know from Parliament that NCC was allocated K400 billion.

We want to know how it’s being disbursed...when they are spending taxpayers’ money, the taxpayer who can’t afford a bag of mealie meal is entitled to know how they are spending money at NCC. The people of Zambia are paying more for food, fuel and bus fares just to feed the NCC, how can we stop talking?”

He said there was nothing sinister about people demanding to know how money in a public institution was being spent.

“Mwangala Zaloumis is very free to seek legal protection. She can’t intimidate me, the colonial government failed to intimidate me,” Sata said. “NCC is a public institution and if it is a public institution, the public has a constitutional right to seek clarification and query some of the things in which, in the public’s opinion are not right.

We query government institutions and the presidency, which is the highest office in the land. On what does she want to seek legal protection? The people of Zambia knew how much the Chona commissioners were getting, people knew how much the Mvunga commissioners were getting, people knew how much the Mwanakatwe commissioners were getting and recently the Mung’omba commissioners. So what is the offence for us to know how much commissioners on NCC are getting?”

He charged that Zaloumis was interested in protecting her interests as she was among the lawyers that were representing the members of parliament that had filed an injunction restraining PF from expelling them from the party for participating in NCC.

“We have no complaint against anyone who is there, we are only talking about what belongs to us. The MMD MPs are participating in the NCC because their party agreed, UPND agreed, FDD agreed, UNIP agreed and Ben Mwila’s nashala neka I have remained alone party agreed.

Whether NCC stays or goes, all the MPs and others representing their organisations are legitimately there except the 26 PF MPs because they are only representing their pockets and handbags. They are not even representing their constituencies,” he said.

And Sata said PF had covered enough ground against some of its members of parliament that were on the NCC that 12 of them were no longer needed.

However, he declined to name the ones that the party needed or did not.
Sata said he was also aware that many of the members of parliament participating in the NCC were panicking.

“Ministers are now talking,” Sata said. “We are fully aware that last week Kawambwa member of parliament Elizabeth Mulobeka was pestering some government ministers to protect the PF members of parliament at NCC and they told her that what had happened was between her and her party.”

Meanwhile, Sata said political failures were again trying to use Chiluba’s name to come up with a political party.

“Is it the first time we have a party that is linked to Chiluba? We had PUDD Party for Unity Democracy and Development where is it?” said Sata. “We had Conservative Party linked to Frederick Chiluba where is it? They are just using him. These political failures should not use his name. It’s all part of the panic. Chiluba has something to show for.

He is not a political failure. What do they have to show for? Chiluba is retired even if they link him, he won’t stand on a platform to speak for anyone. We had PUDD where Machungwa and Joseph Kasongo were going round that Chiluba was behind it but PUDD does not even have a councillor. The political failures are at it again.”

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