Friday, February 26, 2010

Rupiah must be made the shortest serving head of state – Sata

Rupiah must be made the shortest serving head of state – Sata
By George Chellah
Fri 26 Feb. 2010, 08:40 CAT

PF leader Michael Sata yesterday said President Rupiah Banda must be made a statistic in 2011, as the shortest-serving Zambian head of state.

Commenting on the ruling MMD's claims of an economic boom in the country, Sata cautioned voters against granting President Banda another chance. He said the economic solution in the PF-UPND Pact was simple.

“Create jobs, provide subsidised education and medicare and improve the management of agriculture because agriculture is our future. Agriculture needs long-term cheap financing and we shall provide that,” Sata said.

“Above all, we want to motivate the teachers that mould our children's minds, the police and the army that protect us, including other neglected public servants that cannot afford to spend more than K2 million on basic things like food alone everyday while political mercenaries earn K5 billion for sitting.”

Sata said giving President Banda another chance to ruin Zambia would be the worst thing voters could ever do in the face of so much hopelessness.

“Banda must be made a statistic, the shortest serving head of state in this great country,” Sata said.

He said the attempt by President Banda's campaign team to use economic jargon in the state-controlled broadsheets against the PF-UPND pact shall rebound and expose the President to ridicule.

“It will also lead to an easy defeat of the defunct MMD in 2011 because the educated voters he is desperately trying to reach out can read through the cheap campaign of statistics.

In recent days we have seen economic propaganda material masquerading as news in the state-controlled mastheads with dismay because the large space being taken up and the man-power being abused are both funded from lean pockets of taxpayers,” he said.

Sata said the MMD campaign team had been boasting about how the economy was expected to grow in excess of six per cent in 2010 and how inflation was expected to remain on a single digit level.

“If the intention of the flattery and extremely one-sided shallow economic argument was to impress, it lamentably failed to achieve this task in my view.

What the commentary did was actually depress the few educated people that read it and simply insulted the poor majority that know a reality different to Banda's and his campaign crew,” Sata said.

“While statistics are an important 'clever' tool of measuring things, they have been known to be inaccurate a number of times, especially when selectively used like in the case of the Banda propagandist in the local broadsheets.

For instance, Banda's paid mercenaries masquerading as reporters boast that economic growth or GDP in 2009 was in excess of 5 per cent and inflation was single digit but they fail to show that poverty levels on the ground did not realistically reduce.

“They say the agriculture sector grew by 7 per cent but they forget to say that food prices are higher this year compared to last year despite the growth in agriculture as fuel prices went up 15 per cent. These are the facts and they shall remain thus.

GDP grew but Zambian people's pockets did not grow because the majority who are important when it comes to casting votes still can't spin one decent meal a day.”

Sata said statistics of Zambians struggling to survive were readily available at the impartial Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) for all to see.

“Zambians don't have extra money in their pockets so when Banda's propagandist try to use statistics, they should be courageous or intelligent enough to show the other side of the coin instead of exposing their ignorance to the voters in the media.

I am compelled here to cite a well-researched article by JCTR stalwart Dr Peter Henriot who on February 16 this year wrote in The Post and it reads in part: 'the Lusaka basic needs basket for a family of six stood at K2,186,980 in January and at K2,276,730 in December 2009.

Rural families continued to face serious challenges to access basic needs especially good nutrition and basic care',” Sata said.

“If that observation from the respected JCTR does not explain that things are not as good as the numbers being touted are, then I don't know what will debunk the MMD misguided economic theory of growth.

How many people in this country can afford to spend even K1 million on basic needs for a family of six? Very few, and yet studies show that they need more than K2 million to survive on basics alone.

Where is the co-relation between the 'booming' economy and the suffering masses if I may ask?”

Sata said Zambians are educated now and they scrutinise each and every statement and statistic.

“You will not win their hearts without winning their stomachs, especially through hastily put together statistics because we are watching you and we understand basic economics more than you do as MMD.

You can't tell Zambians the future looks bright when the only statistic they understand is in their bellies, they are hungry, hopeless and have no where to turn except to the PF-UPND Pact that has practical solutions,” Sata said.

“Telling them the economy is booming when they are hungry is like sticking a knife in their backs and twisting it so that they die from a slow and painful death.

They need food and money to pay school fees not numbers that mean nothing. We need clean water and we need access to hospitals and we need that now. You just can't hope to fool people with half baked and badly used statistics and get away with it nowadays.”

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