PRESIDENT Michael Sata says he avoids taking international trips because he does not want to waste the country’s meagre resources which can be channeled towards poverty alleviation for the benefit of the majority poor Zambians.
Mr Sata has said that he did not want to undertake costly trips abroad because he wanted to minimise on expenditure so that money could be channeled to helping ‘defeat’ poverty for which the Zambian people elected him into office.
Addressing a mammoth public rally at Chongwe grounds to drum up support for the PF candidate for the Chongwe parliamentary by-election scheduled for Monday, President Sata said he was an accountable leader who had rejected a number of recent foreign trips, including one to Australia and another to Malawi.
The president said he could have spent a lot of money already had he been traveling indiscriminately because all his trips required a horde of security and other personnel accompanying him, all of whom were entitled to allowances.
He said such expenses would be enough to build a hospital for the people of Zambia.
President Sata said his first trip outside State House was only on Wednesday this week when he travelled to Magoye in the Southern Province.
Mr Sata said he could not back-track on his position on expensive foreign trips, especially that he condemned and referred to his predecessor, Rupiah Banda, as a mobile president because of the numerous trips he undertook.
And Mr Sata has said that UPND president Hakainde Hichilema should not be trusted with the presidency because he allegedly failed to account for money from the privatisation process.
Mr Sata said when he was minister under the Chiluba administration, then Finance minister Ronald Penza invited Mr Hichilema to manage the privatisation of Luanshya Copper Mines, Kagem Mine and Intercontinental Hotel in Livingstone but that the UPND leader allegedly chose to become chairperson of the same hotel he had privatised.
The president said the Government had allegedly not seen money raised from the privatisation of the facilities to which Mr Hichilema was associated and warned that he would abuse power should Zambians make him president.
He said Mr Hichilema lacked experience as a politician, especially that he had never served at lower ranks but merely jumped the ladder to lead the UPND after the death of founder president Anderson Mazoka.The Chongwe parliamentary by-election resulted from the resignation of Japhen Mwakalombe as an MMD MP.
Mr Sata said he had decided to give Mr Mwakalombe a job as high commissioner because the former MP was a credible man who did not want to benefit from a corrupt victory.
Mr Mwakalombe won the Chongwe seat in the September 20 elections.Other candidates contesting the Chongwe seat are Adrian Bauleni of the UPND, the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) has DavidChulu while UNIP will be represented by Jahannes Mativenga.
The president said Mr Bauleni was appointed Zambian ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo where he was allegedly rejected by the government of that country and later resigned to join UPND.
The president urged the people of Chongwe to equally reject Mr Bauleni to avoid poverty and underdevelopment.
Mr Sata also said his critics had been proved wrong after having had campaigned that his presidency would deliver Zambia into war.
[Times of Zambia]
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