Thursday, May 29, 2014

Govt hasn't reneged on constitution - Wina
By Stuart Lisulo
Mon 06 Jan. 2014, 11:50 CAT

Inonge Wina says the government has not reneged on its promise to deliver a people-driven constitution. Reacting to former Kaputa MMD member of parliament and current UPND national chairperson Mutale Nalumango's assertions that the PF was leading Zambians into a wilderness, Wina who is PF national chairperson said such wholesale condemnation of the PF leadership was sometimes out of hand.

Wina, who is also gender and child development minister and Nalolo member of parliament, said in an interview said the government still stood by its pledge to deliver a people-driven constitution.

A constitution is a very important national document that should garner consensus from every Zambian, so to say that you get into government and within a few weeks you produce something like that, I don't think this was what was meant..., she said.

And Wina said the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) now has all the freedom to investigate high-profile people unlike during the MMD administration that Mutale Nalumango served under.

She said the government had also done a lot to strengthen governance institutions such as the ACC.

The ACC now has all the freedom to investigate high-profile people, which was not done in the MMD government. Ministers can be investigated - the ACC does not need to refer to the President when these things happen, so I think there is a lot happening, she said.

Wina said Zambians should have confidence in President Michael Sata's leadership as the PF's campaign promises would be fulfilled under his leadership.

''The PF government has actually performed beyond our expectations because we put in place policies that have targeted the poor such as raising the minimum wage - an initiative that was taken considering our poor workers.

We have done a lot in the area of infrastructure development, especially road construction. We have raised the threshold of civil servant salaries; surely that should be appreciated. Now a lot of people would prefer to work in government because it is offering better conditions, she said. The PF government has created a lot of pensionable jobs such as all the civil servants and all the people that work in the newly-created districts.

On the average, each district is now talking about 120 or more workers on the payroll…Surely those are jobs that are sustainable and permanent.

Even in other countries, surely there are people who work in construction and they are not on pensionable terms, but those are jobs which are bringing food to the people's tables. If someone can be engaged as a bricklayer on a construction site for two years or so and gets a salary every day, surely that is something; it is better than roaming the streets or stealing from others."
And Wina said the removal of subsidies on maize and fuel was done on the basis that they were not sustainable.

She further justified the PF's creation of districts, which she said would help alleviate poverty.

''We have added 51 extra districts. These districts are now currently undertaking the social cash transfer programme, whereas in the previous government there were only a few districts, and a lot of poor Zambians will benefit from this programme as a social safety net," said Wina. "In rural schools, we have a school-feeding programme and children are having a meal at school at least once a day and this has actually promoted good attendance in some schools. We have introduced pre-education in some selected schools and now children of the poor are accessing a nursery education where before it was only the prerogative of the rich."

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