Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sejani accuses MMD of exploiting rural vote

Sejani accuses MMD of exploiting rural vote
Written by Mwala Kalaluka
Saturday, January 24, 2009 8:58:44 AM

MAPATIZYA UPND member of parliament Ackson Sejani on Thursday accused President Rupiah Banda's administration of having plundered and exploited the rural vote, in view of the torturous poverty levels obtaining there.

And Mazabuka Central UPND member of parliament Garry Nkombo has questioned a decision by the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) to invest members' contributions in a heavily indebted company, Mubuyu Farms in Mazabuka.

Contributing to the debate on President Banda's speech during the opening of the third session of the tenth National Assembly, Sejani said whether they cling to power by hook or crook, the current government would have to one-day account for their exploitative and sinful acts on the rural voters.

Referring to President Banda's address, Sejani said the pledge to prioritise the fight against poverty relates only to the rural areas, which he said were overwhelmed with dehumanising poverty levels.

"The amount of poverty that our people in rural areas are experiencing is torturous," Sejani said. "Where is the money from the HIPC [Highly Indebted Poor Countries completion point]? This government has shortchanged its promises to the rural areas. There is no development in the rural areas and yet MMD won from rural areas. The urban people rejected you."

Sejani urged rural voters to know what they would be voting for next time they cast their votes in any election.

"At the end of my debate, I am going to lay on the table a map produced by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), which shows the voting patterns during the last presidential election," Sejani said in an emotive manner.

"The MMD was returned to power on the basis of the rural vote. Once again this government has exploited and plundered the rural vote. I want to interrogate the fundamental paradox, why people who consistently and religiously voted for this government consistently and religiously get a raw deal."

Sejani said he also wanted to interrogate the government why country's rural areas’ continued record less success.

"...I am talking about extreme poverty, not just any other poverty," Sejani said.

He said after interrogating, he would want to torture the government in respect of the extreme poverty levels in the rural areas.

But deputy Speaker Mutale Nalumango momentarily curtailed Sejani's debate and told him that no one was allowed to torture in the House.

Sejani charged that the MMD had committed sin against the rural people and that a day would come when they would pay for it.

"God will burn this government for the sins it has committed to the people in the rural areas," he said.

However, Nalumango advised him to debate in a moderate manner.

Sejani said the poverty that the MMD had created was a threat to the rural dwellers.

"The MMD represents supreme poverty and we will continue to sensitise our people so that in 2011, this government is voted out of power," Sejani said.

And Nkombo asked labour minister Austin Liato to explain why NAPSA invested in Mubuyu Farms, which owes Barclays Bank about US$17.5 million.

He asked why this decision was tolerated when one of the directors at NAPSA sits on the ZAMBEEF board, a company that has interests in Mubuyu Farms.

Liato said discussions between NAPSA and Barclays Banks meant to see how the above debt would be liquidated were in progress.

"We are hoping that all the issues in that regard would be addressed accordingly," said Liato.

The response was received with grunts from some UPND parliamentarians.

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