President Levy Mwanawasa has warned the people of Zambia to be wary of people who were determined to mislead them for the sake of getting into power.
Dr. Mwanawasa also asked Zambians to think about what his government has done to better their living standards in the last six years he has been in power.
He was speaking today in Kanyama constituency when he addressed a campaign rally to drum up support for the MMD candidate in tomorrow’s by-election, Mwalimu Simfukwe.
Dr. Mwanawasa said a named political party leader has alleged that government had allocated State House K48 billion in this year’s budget for his treatment abroad.
He said this was not true and that the statement was made by Patriotic Front leader, Michael Sata in an effort to gain political mileage.
He regretted that some people were abusing the freedom of expression by misleading the public and insulting the president.
Dr. Mwanawasa, however, said freedom of expression was good because it exposed liars to the public to judge and understand them.
He said leaders aiming at misleading the public in order to discredit others should not be allowed to rule the country.
He said fears by Mr. Sata that the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) might introduce a law that would bar him from standing for presidency in 2011 on account of age were baseless.
“Let Sata stand, if you bar him, you will be making a name for him. In fact make it 140 years,” he said as people applauded.
Meanwhile, Dr. Mwanawasa has reiterated that the electricity power outages and load shedding being experienced in the country was a sad development for it is affecting, not only the economy but lives of people at domestic level.
He said ZESCO should quickly find a solution to the problem but warned Zambians against putting the blame on the electricity generating company alone.
He said the problem was being experienced through out the Southern African region due to an increase in industries and other activities, which use electricity.
Dr. Mwanawasa, who is also Chairman for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) said to this end, he has called for a meeting of chief executives of electricity generating companies, ministers of energy and ministers of foreign affairs to discuss how the problem could be solved.
Earlier, Kanyama by-election campaign manager for the MMD, Brian Chituwo told the rally that there was no allocation of K48 billion in the budget for President Mwanawasa’s treatment abroad this year.
Brandishing a budget book, commonly known as a “yellow book” in his hands, Dr. Chituwo said there was only K6.2 billion set aside this year for specialized treatment abroad for all people holding constitutional offices in the country.
He said the K6.2 billion covered both the president and other people that would need specialized treatment outside Zambia.
Last year, government had allocated K4.3 billion for the same purpose.
“Alleging that government has allocated K48 billion for President Mwanawasa’s medical expenses abroad is a total lie. This is a true fabrication and we must dismiss it with contempt it deserves,” Dr. Chituwo, who is also Minister of health said.
The Kanyama by-election takes place tomorrow.
The Kanyama constituency, which fell vacant in December last year after the death of area MP, Henry Mtonga, is being contested by seven political parties.
The opposition Patriotic Front is fielding Gerry Chanda, the United Party for National Development is fielding Harrison Mukupa while David Kasanga has stood on the Forum for Development and Democracy (FDD) ticket.
Others contesting the seat are hasty Mwachilele of the former ruling party, the United National Independence Party (UNIP), Kenny Ngondo for All People’s Congress (APC), Elizabeth Phiri for United Liberal Party (ULP) and New Generation Party’s (NGP) Chushi Mwewa.
Meanwhile, about 100 members mainly from the UPND, PF and FDD have defected to the MMD.
A Representative of defectors, Edify Shanambe, who was UPND deputy provincial youth chairman, said the MMD was the only party that meant well in the country.
Mr. Shanambe has since pledged support to the ruling party.