Monday, March 24, 2014

Bwalya pleads for dismissed nurses
By Ernest Chanda
Mon 09 Dec. 2013, 14:01 CAT

ALLIANCE for Better Zambia president Frank Bwalya says he is hesitant to blame the government over the dismissal of nurses that went on a 10-day strike. And Bwalya said his stay in politics is temporal.

Bwalya said the ABZ understood the difficulties involved in resolving delicate matters such as the nurses' strike. The government recently dismissed 250 nurses at University Teaching Hospital that went on strike, and labour minister Fackson Shamenda has said the dismissal of the nurses is final.

"We want to urge President Michael Sata, since he said he was going to govern this country following the Ten Commandments, that he should show compassion. We want to be very hesitant to condemn his government for firing nurses. We understand the difficulties of that job, especially in a matter like this one," Bwalya said in an interview on Friday.

"We are only appealing to his conscience to show compassion to the nurses, to the people who are suffering because there's a shortfall of nurses, having been fired, to reinstate them unconditionally. Make sure that the nurses have gotten the message that even when they have a grievance, they should make sure that they exhaust all laid down channels. So, for the sake of the people who are suffering, for the sake of their families, the President should show compassion and a fatherly heart to forgive them and allow them to go back to work."

And Bwalya said there were certain things he wanted achieved before he could go back to priesthood.

"My presence on the political scene is temporal. I've not changed my career from my vocation as a priest to that of a politician. I consider my presence on the political platform as something temporal; it's a passing phase. I don't look at politics as something which I should do for the rest of my life," he said.

Asked why he was heading a political party if he had no long-term political intentions, Bwalya responded:

"I have a specific task to perform using that vehicle, and when it is done, other people can continue with it. It's the task of delivering three things in this country. One, a people-driven constitution that Zambians have always wanted; I do believe that using the platform of ABZ, we would be able to deliver that. Secondly, strengthening of state institutions to ensure that the rule of law is upheld, that we clean up the governance system because of those strong institutions; and finally to entrench multiparty democracy."

On the perceived government failure to deliver a new constitution, Bwalya said it was a dangerous path to take.

"There're many people who are praying for the downfall of PF before 2016.

Failure to deliver a people-driven constitution will just exasperate this desire on the part of our people because it will be nothing short of a betrayal," said Bwalya.

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