CHIEF Government spokesperson Ronnie Shikapwasha says it is unwarranted for former Minister of Defence George Mpombo to allege that President Banda and his administration neglected the health of Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Misheck Bonshe.
Mr Bonshe, who was Mufumbwe MMD member of Parliament, died in Nigeria last Sunday from suspected high blood pressure.
Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha said in a statement issued in Lusaka yesterday that Mr Mpombo is merely politicking and advancing his political interests at the expense of mourning his departed colleague.
Gen. Shikapwasha, who is also Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, said he found it strange for Mr Mpombo to blame Government and President Banda over the untimely death of Mr Bonshe.
He said it is surprising that Mr Mpombo as a delegation leader of the Zambian team which travelled to Mbabane, Swaziland for a Southern African Development Community (SADC) security and politics meeting could not arrange for Mr Bonshe’s evacuation to South Africa for specialised treatment.
“This is so since Mr Mpombo says South Africa was just about 30 minutes away from where the meeting was taking place,” he said.
Gen. Shikapwasha said Mr Mpombo should have alternatively used his initiative to suggest even driving Mr Bonshe to South Africa for advanced treatment.
The minister said it appeared attending the SADC meeting was more important to Mr Mpombo than his friend’s health.
He said since Mr Mpombo said the Zambian delegation included some medical doctors, logistical arrangements could have easily been made in collaboration with the Zambian High Commission in South Africa and the Ministry of Health to have Mr Bonshe evacuated to South Africa.
Gen. Shikapwasha said Government is taken aback by Mr Mpombo’s narration that after the SADC meeting, the Zambian delegation was flown together with Mr Bonshe to Livingstone via Johannesburg for a Zambia-Namibia Joint Permanent Commission meeting.
He wondered why Mr Mpombo did not become considerate enough to suggest that Mr Bonshe be hospitalised in Johannesburg where their booked plane landed before proceeding to Livingstone to substantiate the former minister’s claims that the deceased was a very close family friend of his.
“I wish to make it clear that this Government pays meticulous attention to cases of critical sickness such as the one which afflicted the late Deputy Minister of Home Affairs,” he said.
Gen. Shikapwasha said there is no way that there would be negligence on the part of Government to let Mr Bonshe die without being subjected to good medical attention.
He said as far as evacuations of critically ill people are concerned, Government does not segregate.
The minister said Government pays undivided attention to all, including those in the opposition or the ruling party with high level examples being the cases of Patriotic Front leader Michael Sata and the late Mainza Chona.
Gen. Shikapwasha said it is Government’s view that Mr Mpombo is off the mark when he alleges that President Banda and his administration did not care for the health of Mr Bonshe.
He said Mr Mpombo’s utterances should be treated as unfounded verbiage aimed at politicising Mr Bonshe’s death to enhance his political image.
The minister accused Mr Mpombo of seemingly being desperate to mend his dented political career through his unguided and improperly researched statements.
[Zambia Daily Mail]