Saturday, May 07, 2011

Sata returns home from UK

Sata returns home from UK
By George Chellah in London and Ernest Chanda in Lusaka
Sat 07 May 2011, 04:01 CAT

PF leader Michael Sata on Thursday concluded his visit to the UK with a two-hour closed-door meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and returned home yesterday. And Sata says President Rupiah Banda’s panic over the PF’s rising popularity is expected.

Sata, who was accompanied by former SADC parliamentary forum secretary general Dr Kasuka Mutukwa, PF London branch chairperson Arnold Zulu and Dr Daniel Mutambo, arrived at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office around 12:20 hours.

Upon arrival at Parliament Square, Sata and his delegation immediately went into an approximately two-hour closed-door meeting with officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth office.

And in an interview after the meeting, Sata described the meeting as successful.

“Our meeting was extremely successful and very educative,” Sata said. “In fact, I am quite grateful that the British government has opened up today.”

Sata said he had learnt a lot during his visit to the UK.

“I have learnt quite a lot. More importantly, I have learnt of the existing gap in terms of relations between Zambia and Her Majesty’s government,” Sata said.

“It’s clear that as a country we need to do a lot of work to bridge that gap. We also want to thank the British High Commission in Lusaka for facilitating the processing of our Visas for this successful trip.”

Sata also thanked the University of Oxford for the invitation extended to him to give a special lecture at the institution.

And Sata said President Banda’s panic over the PF’s rising popularity was expected.

“If anybody thinks the opposition is dead, it might be the other opposition and not PF. Let them continue peddling the propaganda. It’s good they are doing that because the people of Zambia are seeing who is telling the truth and who is lying,” Sata said. “The Zambian people are seeing how they are shamelessly and desperately manipulating and abusing the public media. But as they say, the truth shall definitely come out. At the moment, PF just has to step up informing the outside world on what type of leadership and environment we are operating under as the largest opposition political party in Zambia. The world needs to know the kind of leadership we have running our affairs.”

Sata was in the UK to give a special lecture at the University of Oxford.

On Monday, Sata, who presented a paper under the theme ‘Road to presidency: How to be a successful opposition leader in Africa’, said among other things that a PF government shall vigorously fight corruption by ensuring that provisions in the anti-corruption legislation were strengthened and fully implemented.

“These efforts shall include the reinstatement of clauses which were recently deliberately removed from our anti-corruption law, which has the effect of exempting from prosecution the wrongdoing by the official, simply because the law was not applicable when they were in office. Public officials, including former presidents, who act outside the law, should not expect to get away with their mischief,” Sata said. “The Anti-Corruption Commission shall be revamped and strengthened and so shall the judicial systems that will be needed to give effect to the national laws. If and when we shall find it necessary, we shall not hesitate to seek appropriate assistance from Britain and other commonwealth countries which operate a similar judicial system to our own, to assist us in dealing with cases of corruption.”

He said given the scale of the scourge, and its entrenchment, PF may find it necessary to set-up a special court to deal expediently with white-collar and abuse of office crimes.

Meanwhile, Sata arrived back in the country yesterday afternoon amidst heavy police presence at Lusaka International Airport.

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