Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Mediocre MMD lacks priorities – HH

Mediocre MMD lacks priorities – HH
By Ernest Chanda, Masuzyo Chakwe and pictures
Tue 09 Feb. 2010, 08:30 CAT

He said the current leadership lacked priorities in terms of resource allocation.
UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has charged that the MMD leadership is so mediocre that it cannot plan for annual disasters such as floods.

And Barlastone Assemblies of God Reverend Matyola Malawo said it was quite frustrating that every year, issues of poor drainage and sicknesses of cholera and dysentery should be talked about.

During a tour of areas affected by floods in Lusaka on Sunday afternoon, Hichilema said it was not possible to deal with such problems under a leadership that was more interested in travelling than working.

Hichilema toured Ng’ombe, Kanyama, Chawama and Misisi compounds to check on the effects of the floods. He said the current leadership lacked priorities in terms of resource allocation.

“What we are lacking is priority. If we had a government that understood priorities they would definitely cancel one of the trips. For example, the President has been travelling a lot. If he cut one of his trips of course you will save one, two, three, four, five billion kwacha because he travels with a huge entourage. And we would save money. Some of this money could be used to build bridges and we can save people’s lives,” Hichilema said.

“These things happen year in year out, they are busy travelling. What we need is a change of government. The people of Zambia must understand that the quality of your life is connected to the leadership that you have. If you have mediocre leadership like MMD, people will continue dying. When we change leadership there’ll be better planning, better resource allocation and also quick implementation of issues like this.”

Hichilema called for more funding to constituencies so that the people themselves could deal with crises such as floods.

“We need to change the allocation of funds to constituencies. That is why we in the UPND are talking about allocating K5 billion to every constituency under the Constituency Development Fund. We need to have more money which the constituency controls because currently K600 million is nothing,” he said.

“Look at Kanyama, how many years have we been talking about Kanyama? Floods come year in year out. All it takes is a very simple thing, to put drainage in Kanyama. For us we want to make sure that we build an artificial dam in Lusaka West where we can direct all the water from Lusaka into that artificial dam so that in the dry season we can use that water for agriculture and other things.”

Hichilema charged that the office of the Vice-President and the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit had become a disaster itself.

“We have a disaster management fund under the Vice-President’s office. We are being told by the District Commissioner Lusaka that the funds are there. If the funds are there why are there no bridges? The disaster management arm of our government, may be, instead of dealing with disasters it is a disaster itself because the funds are not being utilised properly,” Hichilema charged.

“Otherwise we could have had quick action, bringing in the army. Within two, three days this bridge will have been done. A country that is alive does that. This country under the dead leadership of the MMD will not be able to do this bridge. This year children will die here, next year they will die here.

But I want to say to the people of Zambia that all of this will be a thing of the past in 15 months time. The power is in your hands to change leadership. MMD is flat, MMD is tired, MMD is too corrupt. The leadership is busy travelling earning allowances; paying themselves so much money at the NCC. The Vice-President is even in the forefront to collect or to reclaim more money for his colleagues in the NCC. That money should have come here to build this bridge.”

And Rev Malawo who is also Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD) executive secretary said Zambia should learn from the past.

“These problems have been with us for many years. In George compound, the road to Zingalume is impassable because of the poor drainage. The road is in a bad shape and children can’t even go to school. People have complained to their area member of parliament but things are not improving,” he said.

He said it was unfortunate that this was happening when leaders were introducing new ways of remunerating themselves.

“I think if the K5 billion is used to improve on some of the things we are talking about, things would be different. It is time especially as we go to 2011, we should reflect as citizens of Zambia and begin to explore ways of ensuring that we choose people that will have a heart for us as citizens,” he said.

Rev Malawo said it was difficult for people to go to church because of the floods.
He said the government should set its priorities right.

“Every time we bring up issues, there is no money but when certain things emerge, resources are found. There is need for the government to priortise such type of development of projects. When cholera breaks out, they begin to deal with the problem. We should be thinking of preventing the problems,” he said.

Rev Malawo said the government should priortise the lives of people and value life.

“Life is a precious gift from God and just as the government wants support from the church, they should ensure that they put the life of humanity as priority. Even if they try to intervene when cholera breaks out, it is a mockery to us when these things could have been prevented,” said Rev Malawo.

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