Friday, April 22, 2011

Rupiah wants to tarnish PF councils’ image - Katema

COMMENT - " all councils were agents of the central government through the Ministry of Local Government and Housing. " I would say there is room for decentralization, and it will not happen under the MMD.

Rupiah wants to tarnish PF councils’ image - Katema
By Misheck Wangwe and Kabanda Chulu
Fri 22 Apr. 2011, 04:00 CAT

IT hurts to see that Zambians have a President who propagates lies on the performance of PF-controlled councils, says Dr Joseph Katema.

Commenting on President Rupiah Banda’s remarks that Patriotic Front-controlled councils on the Copperbelt had failed to deliver the much-needed development, Dr Katema, who is Chingola member of parliament, said it was sad that the country had a President who could not take responsibility over the failures of his government.

Dr Katema said President Banda’s government was holding on to money which was meant for developmental programmes such as the rehabilitation of roads to make people feel that PF-controlled councils were not performing.

“We are ready to work and we’ve done what we can within our means. We can’t construct the roads because we don’t have enough money and it’s solely the responsibility of the central government and its line agents, the Road Development Agency (RDA) and the National Road Fund. Rupiah is simply politicking; he wants to tarnish the image of the PF because his government has failed the people,” said Dr Katema.

And Nchanga parliamentarian Wylbur Simuusa said President Banda would not gain political mileage by blaming the PF over lack of development on the Copperbelt.

He said people were already aware that the government had failed to deliver development’ hence they had opted to support the PF.

“Unfortunately, Zambia has a leader who claims to be a president for all but national wealth is distributed in a discriminate manner because he wants people to change their minds and vote for the MMD. These are cheap politics that will not in any way help him to woo the electorate to vote for him,” said Simuusa.

And Roan member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili said councils were failing to meet the needs of people in many ways because President Banda’s government was not releasing enough money for development.

Kambwili said it was not feasible for councils to operate effectively when the government was not providing sufficient funds.

“Rupiah is like a bad carpenter who always blames his tools. If there is no money coming from central government, he should not expect the councils to perform. The budget of Luanshya Municipal Council is K14 billion. To do one kilometre of a road is 2.5 billion.

You should ask Rupiah what he expects us to do to meet all these demands of our people if his Cabinet is holding on to money. Surely our people want us to attend to their needs not politics every time,” he said.

Kambwili said the wisest thing for the electorate to do was to vote out President Banda and his government because he had failed the people.

And Nkana parliamentarian Mwenya Musenge said President Banda’s directive will not sway the minds of voters who have already made their choice.

Musenge described President Banda’s press conference as an embarrassment to the nation because it failed to address issues affecting people on the Copperbelt.

“His (President Banda) decision will have minimal impact because most people have already paid for the houses and the very few with balances have also paid over 80 per cent and it is cheap propaganda to think that over 3,000 people who shall benefit from the write-off will sway the minds of voters on the Copperbelt because they have already decided to do away with MMD,” said Musenge.

“If anything, President Banda has landed himself into trouble because he should also address the plight of former UBZ, CH, Monarch Steel, Mpelembe Properties and many retirees who are suffering and sleeping at Intercity Bus Terminus while waiting for their pensions.

Actually, we expected him to present findings of audit reports because he made similar allegations last year.”

And Kitwe mayor Elias Kamanga has said President Banda’s criticism of PF-led councils on the poor state of the roads is misplaced since the service was withdrawn and given to the RDA.

Kamanga said there was nothing like PF-controlled councils since all councils were agents of the central government through the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.

“Problems affecting councils are the same. In fact, they are worse in MMD-led councils like Kalulushi, Luanshya and Chililabombwe and why criticise councils on the state of roads when this service has been taken over by the RDA and councils just submit work plans?” wondered Kamanga.

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