Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sata disagrees with one passport for Africa concept
By Kombe Chimpinde in Addis Ababa
Sat 25 May 2013, 14:01 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata says he does not agree with the concept of Africa having one passport.

Speaking during an inter-generational dialogue for children at the UNECA headquarters, which included an interactive session of children and selected heads of state and government as a prelude to the 50th anniversary celebration of the African Union, President Sata said Zambia would not subscribe to any policy implemented by AU, to which it is member.

President Sata was responding to a question by some youths, who wanted to know when the heads of state and government of AU would sit and re-look the issue of the member states having one passport.

"The African Union has no control over Zambia. Zambia is a member of the African Union but the chairman of African Union has no control over Zambia, they can't dictate to us. Zambia makes its own laws to suit the environment of the people of Zambia and two, Africa has the biggest crime rate and once you say you are going to have one passport, there will be stealing, " he said.

"When people have one passport, they come to Ethiopia steal, go to Nairobi, steal, go to Malawi steal."

President Sata said there was need for African states to note each country's composition of government.

"Zambia has its own government and within Africa itself, Kenya cannot go to Zambia without visas, Botswana to Zambia without visas and now you want to have one passport? You can say no but as far as we are concerned, we can't," he said.

And President Sata says children should be moulded in a manner that will make them self-reliant.

"If our parents brought us up the way we are bringing them (children) up today, we wouldn't be here. These children are not objects. When I was growing up, I used to fetch firewood. That is what made me to be disciplined because if I didn't want to go and fetch water when I was told, I wouldn't be here today," he said.

President Sata said most children were becoming lazy and spoilt and wanted all things to be done for them while they were just chewing gum.

President Sata, who repeatedly referred to Dr Kaunda's achievements, expressed gratitude to him as one of the founding fathers of the AU.

President Sata also announced that he had, together with first lady, Dr Christine Kaseba, mounted a serious campaign against early marriages.

He said early marriages were detrimental to the growth and wellbeing of girl children and their children.

"We are going to have more than three universities. This will give an opportunity to more women to be in university and there will be no domination of men," he said. "Number one task is to discourage 'children marriages'."

President Sata and Dr Kaunda are in Ethiopia to attend the 50th anniversary of the African Union today, and related meetings.

And Dr Kaunda yesterday said women were givers of life and, therefore, must be respected and acknowledged as important actors in the development process.

Dr Kaunda, who was a special guest at the dialogue meeting, reminded participants to maintain both regional and national unity.

He also highlighted the continued lack of respect for women by society even when they were key players in the development process.
"We must accept that mothers are extremely important people of society. A mother carries a child for nine months. That child is born through pain and us who saw her suffering don't look at her as an important being . You know us men can be hopeless at times. Women must be seen as important. I am glad my President (Sata) has appointed many women in positions of decision making," said Dr Kaunda as the audience applauded.

And Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said the future belonged to the young generation and that the young people must take responsibility of their lives.

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