State, EAZ, union condemn Sata
THE Government, economists and the communications union have condemned Patriotic Front (PF) leader Michael Sata for saying he will renationalise Zamtel once elected into office in 2011.
They advised him and other opposition politicians to stop issuing statements that may scare away would-be investors for Zamtel.
Chief Government spokesperson Ronnie Shikapwasha, who is Information and Broadcasting Services Minister, said it was wrong for Mr Sata to warn would-be investors when the decision to sell the company was done in good faith.
Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) president, Mwilola Imakando and National Union of Communication Workers (NUCW) general secretary, Clement Kasonde criticised Mr Sata and said his statements had the potential to scare away investors.
Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha advised the PF leader to stop politicking over Zamtel, saying if Mr Sata had the interests of the workers and Zambians as a whole, he would not issue such careless statements.
Gen Shikapwasha was reacting to recent comments by Mr Sata who was quoted by Reuters that should he be elected to the presidency, he would reverse the sale of Zamtel.
Gen Shikapwasha said the decision to sell the company was done after consultations and was aimed at saving the company from total collapse.
“We are concerned that Mr Sata has continued to issue statements that can scare away the would-be investors for Zamtel because the decision as Government is that it has been done in good faith,” he said.
If the Government did not want to be transparent in the sale of Zamtel, it would not have called for tenders, and wondered why Mr Sata was objecting to the sale.
The minister said the PF leader should find better ways of selling his party other than taking a confrontational stance of condemning and attacking the Government in power.
Zambians should be wary of such leaders who were ready to bring to a halt development programmes put in place to better the lives of people just to get to State House.
“The threats over Zamtel sale is mere politicking and this shows how Mr Sata is trying to win political support using Zamtel. Sadly this is being done at the expense of development,” he said.
Recently, Reuters quoted Mr Sata as having said that he would renationalise Zamtel, if elected as president in 2011, because the decision to privatise the company was not in the best interest of the country.
Mr Sata said the sale of Zamtel was unacceptable because, apart from it being a strategic organisation, the new majority owners were likely to close the rural branches and concentrate on urban areas.
“Those bidding for Zamtel are doing so at owner’s risk. The PF in government will reverse the decision to privatise Zamtel. Even if it is sold, we will renationalise it,” Mr Sata said.
MrKasonde wondered what solution Mr Sata would have for Zamtel if he blocked the sale.
Mr Kasonde said Mr Sata should not make statements that he knew would not have solutions for the company that was heavily indebted.
Mr Imakando, who also voiced the same sentiments, said people opposed to the sale of Zamtel should avoid making statements that may affect investor confidence which the country had enjoyed.
An independent economic analyst, Oliver Saasa said renationalising Zamtel would scare away other investors and was not in the best interest of the country because the sale was legally binding.
India’s Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, Angola’s Unitel and Libya’s LAP Green Networks on Wednesday last week submitted bids to acquire between 51 and 75 per cent of the stake in Zamtel.
[Times of Zambia]