Monday, May 20, 2013

'Sata's 'hard' decisions aimed at bettering lives'
By Allan Mulenga in Chilanga
Sat 18 May 2013, 14:00 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata's 'unpopular' decisions are meant to better the lives of Zambians, says home affairs deputy minister Nixion Chilangwa.

Addressing government heads of department in Chilanga at Zambia Wildlife Authority offices on Thursday, Chilangwa explained that the removal of fuel and maize consumption subsidies would benefit Zambians.

"We need to bite the bullet. President Sata is not happy that he is the one who has to make hard decisions. These are not easy decisions that the President and the PF government are making. The decisions to remove subsidies are decisions which are very unpopular," he said.

Chilangwa, who is also Kawambwa Central PF member of parliament, said it was evident that opposition party leaders would take advantage of the situation to criticise President Sata and the PF.

"These are the decisions that people who do not like us the PF will capitalise on. But the truth is that if we don't make those decisions today, our people in the rural parts of the country will not see development," he explained.

"There will be no roads to talk about; there will be no proper health care; there will be no proper schools and closer to home the congestion you talk about in Lusaka will never end. Where are we going to get money to develop Lusaka; improve on the road networks if we want to chew all the money?"

Chilangwa urged Zambians to stop complaining about President Sata's 'hard decisions' as they were meant to better their lives.
"In 48 years there are areas in this country like Sikongo where it takes in dry season three hours to cover a stretch of 60 kilometres because there is no road," he explained.

"There are stretches like from Lukulu to Mitete where it takes one and half days by canoe to bring their child to Lukulu East to get an NRC (National Registration Card) and then start going back home, that is four to five days. The budget comes out and we agree to say we will do this and that. The year comes and goes the school has not been built in a particular area. The road has not been constructed in a particular area because the money has gone to fuel subsidies."

Chilangwa said the government was aware of the consequences of its decision to remove subsidies on fuel and maize consumption.
"The government is aware that these are not popular decisions, but they had to be made for the sake of our children; so that our children can have a better Zambia," he said.

Chilangwa said it was unfortunate that students from universities and some colleges had decided to protest over the removal of fuel and maize consumption subsidies.

"It hurts me to see our young men and women from universities to march against fuel subsidies when they are sleeping eight of them in a room meant for two people at the university. The President says 'we want to get this money we are using for subsidies to improve infrastructure including their dormitories'. What kind of thinking is that?" asked Chilangwa.

"From 1964 to date, Zambia has only one university for those who don't know and it is called the University of Zambia. It was the only purposed university. The so-called Mulungushi University in Kabwe is an ad-hoc arrangement. It used to be Presidents Citizenship College for UNIP to teach people about humanism and socialism. The so-called Copperbelt University was never a university, it used to be called ZID, it is also an ad-hoc arrangement. When are we going to build our universities if our preoccupation is to have cheap fuel, cheap sugar? Hard decisions need to be made."


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