Saturday, November 22, 2008

Shikapwasha asks Sata not to politicise salary increments

Shikapwasha asks Sata not to politicise salary increments
Written by Patson Chilemba
Saturday, November 22, 2008 9:38:09 AM

CHIEF government spokesperson Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha yesterday asked Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata not to politicise the salary and allowance increments for constitutional office holders and senior government officials.

Reacting to Sata's statement that it was sad that President Rupiah Banda was provoking people with impunity over the salary increments just after a disputed election, Lt Gen Shikapwasha wondered what Sata was complaining about when his own members of parliament such as Dr Guy Scott [Lusaka Central], Chishimba Kambwili [Roan], Mumbi Phiri [Munali], Samuel Chitonge [Mwansabombwe], Obius Chisala [Chilubi], Yamfwa Mukanga [Kantanshi], Jean Kapata [Mandevu], Elizabeth Chitika [Kawambwa] and several others voted for the 15 per cent increment in emoluments.

Lt Gen Shikapwasha, who is also information minister, said Sata should be reminded that the increments were minimal and in line with the 15 per cent salary increments awarded to public service workers.

"If he says we should not increase, then we should not increase for all. But that would be abnormal. We should not politicise issues which are simple and meant to uplift the livelihood of the people of Zambia," Lt Gen Shikapwasha said. "Yesterday in Kitwe, people wanted to demonstrate over the 15 per cent. Surely, Mr Sata can find better things to do than demonstrate over that. His own people have agreed, so how do you go ahead to demonstrate? So he cannot come out to incite people. All what he wants is to incite people. There is no need. If you are born to be president, you will be president. If God has chosen that you won't be president, then you won't be president."

Lt Gen Shikapwasha said the reason for suggesting increments for public service workers was the same for all and that ministers went to the same markets as other people.

He said the government should in fact be commended for not increasing the emoluments beyond 15 per cent.

Lt Gen Shikapwasha said Parliament should also be commended for reducing the perks that it initially approved.

"It's in line with what others are getting. The alternative is to refuse them the 15 per cent, and therefore you become unfair to them," Lt Gen Shikapwasha said. "It's not President Banda who has given the increase. They have said that we agree that if everybody gets 15 per cent, we will get 15 per cent."

Lt Gen Shikapwasha said of the 119 members of parliament who voted in favour of the Presidential Emoluments [Amendment] Bill, 23 were PF parliamentarians.

"The list of those that voted 'yes' include Bwalya, Colonel Gerry Chanda [Kanyama], Chisala, Chitonge, Kambwili, Kapata, [Mwansa] Kapeya [Mpika Central], [Joseph] Kasongo [Bangweulu], [Peter] Machungwa [Luapula], Mukanga, [Marjory] Masiye [Mufulira], Mumbi, Mwansa Ernest [Chifunabuli], [Jacob] Chongo [Mwense], Chitika, Chanda Percy [Kankoyo], Barnabas Chella [Wusakile]," he said.

Lt Gen Shikapwasha said the same PF parliamentarians, including Davis Mwila [Chipili] and Anson Simama [Kalulushi], voted in favour of the Ministerial and Parliamentary Office Holders [Emoluments] Amendment Bill.

On the Constitutional Office Holders [Emoluments] Amendment Bill, Lt Gen Shikapwasha said of the 119 parliamentarians who voted in favour, 22 were PF.

On Friday, Sata said there was tension in the country and that the salary increments and allowances would only aggravate the situation.

Sata said everything he said about President Banda during the presidential campaign was coming true and that deception on allowances was the beginning of President Banda's manifestation of his true colours.

In August, Cabinet approved salary and allowance increments for constitutional office holders and senior government officials.

Later, the government asked Parliament to backdate salary increments and allowances for the Vice-President, Speaker, Deputy Speaker, ministers and other members of parliament to January 1, 2008.

The three Bills passed through Parliament and were ready for assent but then Vice-President Banda, during his election campaign launch, referred them back to Parliament.

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