ZR Comment: Secrecy and reluctance to communicate with the public are quickly becoming defining characteristics of the Sata presidency. President Michael Sata’s sudden, unannounced trip to India this past weekend to undergo surgery has been the source of intense debate among Zambia observers, as now five days have gone by without the president speaking publicly – apart from just one interview granted to Post editor Fred M’membe, who is not exactly trusted as an independent source (The Post already ran an article that the opposition UPND party was “celebrating” the illness of the president, which was later vehemently denied by party leadership). Some have compared the experience of an absent president speaking only through intermediaries to the situation of Umaru Yar’Adua in Nigeria, but it seems much too premature for such assumptions. Nevertheless, there were rumors surrounding what type of medical treatment the president was to receive, why it was not possible to do the procedure in Zambia, the status of his health, and the possibility of a constitutional crisis if the president were unable to return, as Vice President Guy Scott is technically ineligible to assume power given the parentage amendments in the constitution. As the government enters its damage control phase, there will be a lot of questions over the handling of this particular incident.
Sata, Speaking via M’membe, Seeks to Quell Rumors over India Visit
According to the Editor of The Post newspaper, President Michael Sata says speculation about him dying is wishful thinking.
“I spoke to the President and the first lady about 15:00 today (yesterday). His voice sounded very strong and he joked about all sorts of things. He said that speculations about him dying were wishful thinking. He said he can’t understand why there is so much speculation about his health,” stated M’membe, commenting on a telephone call he says he had with the President..
There has been speculation about President Sata’s health in the country and on Indian internet media. According to the Times of India yesterday, President Sata had undergone laser procedure for a urological disorder at Samved Urology Hospital. The paper quoted sources in the health department as saying that the President suffers a medical problem involving his prostate or bladder.
The Times of India stated that President Sata had been suffering bleeding in the urine.
Sata leaves Hospital
The 75-year-old Zambian President, Michael Sata was today discharged from the hospital in Ahmedabad.
Shri Sata was discharged from the hospital in the evening, after which he reached the Taj hotel near airport.
A large number of policemen, fire fighter staff members were seen outside the hospital and the hotel for security of the President.
Dora and Mutati at Odds over MMD’s 2011 Election Loss
FELIX Mutati has described as a “tackle from behind” Dora Siliya’s statement last week that the former commerce minister’s globe-trotting contributed to MMD’s loss in last year’s elections.
Siliya, who is MMD spokesperson, last week said Mutati spent his time globe-trotting and living in luxury instead of campaigning for the MMD, hence the party’s loss of the elections.
In an interview on Saturday, Mutati said Siliya’s attacks on him showed the former ruling party was failing to deal with its post-election challenges, resorting to “the blame game”.
“It is correct to say that all of us obviously, to varying degrees, should remain responsible for the loss that occurred in 2011 and no single person, however, great they may be should be heaped with the blame of the loss of the elections,” said Mutati.
Sata woos Indian investment
His Excellency Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata, President of the Republic of Zambia, has invited an Indian chain of hotels to invest in Zambia.
President Sata said the Zambian Government was ready to facilitate investment in the hotel industry.
The Head of State was speaking when he held an investment promotion meeting with the Chairman and Managing Director of Umeid group of Hotels in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, West India, Mr. Ummeid Champawat. This is in the President’s continued efforts to woo investors into Zambia.
President Sata assured Mr. Champawat of his administration’s readiness to work with investors who would contribute to the development of tourism in the country. Umeid group of hotels is operated by the Taj Hotel Group of companies.
President Sata was flanked during the meeting by Zambia’s High Commissioner to India Ambassador Susan Sikaneta and First Secretary for Press & Tourism at the Mission, Mr. Bwalya Nondo.
Defence minister warns Lozis
Defence Minister Geoffrey Mwamba has warned conveners of the Barotse National Council (BNC) not to discuss issues that border on treason.
Mwamba, warned Lozis that they will be dealt with severely. He has explained that he has a responsibility of deploying soldiers to any part of the country for operational purposes.
Mr. Mwamba whose party promised to honour the Barotse Agreement within 90 days of coming to power did not specify which issues bordered on treason.
The PF government has deployed soldiers in Western province ahead of the Barotse meeting.
Namugala worried about Zambia’s democratic future
Former Tourism and natural resources Minister Catherine Namugala has called on Zambians to protect the democracy that the country has continued to enjoy.
Ms. Namugala pointed out that recent developments and attempts by government to frustrate the opposition are a threat to the country’s democratic tenets.
She says the opposition is an important tool to the development of any country as it provides checks and balances on government policies.
Ms. Namugala explained that it is incumbent upon well meaning Zambians to speak against the alleged assault on democracy by the PF government.
US$200 million Kitwe Mall underway
Phoenix Materials Limited has pledged to construct Zambia’s biggest shopping mall in 4 months time.
The Mall will be constructed along the Kitwe-Chingola Road.
The move to construct a Mall in Kitwe follows the decision by Mopani Copper Mines plc to give the company 440 hectares of land situated between Ichimpe mining and Mindolo areas.
The shopping mall will be constructed at a cost of 200 million United States Dollars.
Speaking at the official handover ceremony Monday morning, Mopani Copper Mines Chief officer Danny Callow noted that the Mall once complete will reduce on congestion in the city.