Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Sata talks about inclusiveness

Sata talks about inclusiveness
By Ernest Chanda and Tilyenji Mwanza
Tue 01 Jan. 2013, 14:00 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata says he has promoted inclusiveness in the running of government affairs by appointing people on merit from all walks of life.

In his New Year message, President Sata said his administration had also smoothly managed the transition from MMD to PF.

"You will agree with me that the transition from the previous government to my government has been managed successfully. This can be noted from the various government programmes that we carried forward and the new programmes that we instituted upon assuming government, some of which have already started yielding results," President Sata said yesterday.

"In this smooth transition, my government has also promoted inclusiveness in the running of government affairs. The PF government has identified and included, on merit, Zambians from all walks of life to serve in various public service positions. Inclusiveness in the running of government programmes has also been extended to our traditional leaders, whom we have continued to consult on numerous occasions."

The President stated that government however still faced challenges in closing the development gap between rural and urban areas.

"The challenge of my government is and will continue to be for the near future, accelerating progress in closing development gaps between rural and urban areas, and to seize and create opportunities to achieve sustainable development through economic growth and diversification, social development and environmental protection," he said.

President Sata said that in his quest to close the gap between rural and urban areas, he had created new districts.
He said that the action would also help deepen decentralisation and
consolidate democracy.

"This process has political, economic and socio-cultural benefits which include promotion of popular participation by the majority in accessing services," President Sata said.

He highlighted some of the achievements his administration scored and the challenges faced last year. President Sata said that as a way to enhance welfare as a people, the government had commenced major projects in various sectors.

"The notable ones are the construction of the road network through the Link Zambia 8000; the construction of universities under the education sector to train the much needed skills for research and innovation," President Sata said.

"The improvement of the electricity generation capacity by commissioning more hydro power stations such as Itezhi tezhi, Shiwang'andu and completion of the extension to Kariba North Bank power station. In the area of health, the government has started implementing its promise of setting up Intensive Care Units in every provincial hospital in an effort to strengthen the provision of quality health care. I am happy to report that all provincial headquarters have already received their Intensive Care Units."

President Sata said that the government had further budgeted K204 billion in the 2013 budget to upgrade and modernise UTH, Ndola Central Hospital, Kitwe Central Hospital and Livingstone General Hospital.

He said that each of the hospitals would be further equipped with state of the art CT scans to improve diagnosis and treatment and reduce the number of patients referred abroad.

On the economic front, president Sata implored all citizens to familiarise themselves with the rebased kwacha and guard against unscrupulous individuals who would like to take advantage of the transition.

And President Sata has released 59 female prisoners countrywide as part of this year's New Year celebrations.

In a statement by President Sata's Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations George Chellah, the President signed the order in exercise of the powers vested in him by Article 59 (d) of the Constitution of Zambia.

Chellah stated that the rationale behind the President's decision was to decongest the extremely crowded prison facilities countrywide as well as reintegrate prisoners into society.

And Women for Change Executive Director Emily Sikazwe has urged government to renovate the prisons in order to accommodate pregnant women and mothers.

Sikazwe welcomed the move and urged the President to release more women who had been detained on petty matters.

"We wish many more would have been released compared to the 4000 men who had been released last year. We welcome the move but just wish many more would have been released because they are many more women in prison on petty issues," Sikazwe said.

She has also urged the Ministry of Home Affairs to urgently put in new reforms in order to accommodate pregnant women and mothers in prison.

"The prisons when they were created by the colonial masters, they were not designed to accommodate women who are pregnant and women with babies but it is becoming a reality that we have these women in prisons and it is important that these reforms are put into action and improve the conditions in the prisons, so that we can accommodate pregnant women and also women with babies," said Sikazwe.

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