President Sata today held a closed-door meeting with members of the Diplomatic Corps and International Organisations accredited to Zambia.Concerning the Constitution President Sata said his government has to factor the logistical and financial repercussions in order not to derail other pressing developmental projects.
With regard to the numerous by-elections President Sata said although, the Patriotic Front won the elections,they felt that had it not been for the malpractices, the PF would have secured more seats and won the presidential election by a wider margin.He assured the diplomats that the PF Government is very committed to elections that are free of violence and free of electoral corruption.
Below is the Full Press Statement
LUSAKA, Thursday, March 6, 2014 – His Excellency Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata, President of the Republic of Zambia, has reaffirmed Government’s commitment to the process of Constitution review.
During a closed-door meeting with members of the Diplomatic Corps and International Organisations accredited to Zambia, President Sata assured the nation and various stakeholders including diplomats that Government is still committed to the process of Constitution review.
“In this regard, after the receipt of the report from the Technical Committee, Government will consider the recommendations, because we have to factor the logistical and financial repercussions in order not to derail other pressing developmental projects,” he said.
On the issue of parliamentary by-elections, President Sata said Government acknowledges that democracy, good governance and the rule of law, as well as an enabling environment were essential for national development.
“It cannot be disputed that there was massive distribution of inducements and other malpractices during the 2011 elections. Although, the Patriotic Front [PF] won the elections, we felt that had it not been for the malpractices, the PF would have secured more seats and won the presidential election by a wider margin,” the President said.
“Individual losing parliamentary candidates have decided to exercise their Constitutional right and the courts have made their independent decisions to nullify some elections and consequently by-elections have to be held. This is what the laws of the land prescribe and as a responsible Government we have to follow the law.
“Be assured that Government is very committed to elections that are free of violence and free of electoral corruption. Allowing corruption in elections has the potential of robbing Zambians of their right to freely choose their candidates. Corruption, if not checked can also open the gate to organised crime in elections.”
President Sata said Government has focused on the four key sectors of education, health, agriculture and local government and housing, as evidenced by increased funding allocations in the 2014 budget to these sectors.
The Head of State reaffirmed his Government’s commitment to working with the international community and further strengthen the already existing good ties for the mutual benefit of both countries.
“I would like to appreciate the participation of all our cooperating partners in our infrastructure development agenda,” he said.
And Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and High Commissioner of the Republic of Botswana, Her Excellency, Tuelonyana Oliphant said the increasing number of diplomatic representation in Zambia is an indication of the respect, which the international community has for the values and principles, which are the cornerstone of the country’s social, cultural and economic transformation.
She said Zambia continues to be an influential and respected player both on regional and international affairs.
On national development, High Commissioner Oliphant said the Diplomatic Corps have followed with great interest the Government’s development agenda especially efforts to attract Foreign Direct Investment [FDI] for the purpose of economic development, job creation and reduction of urban- rural inequalities.
“We have also followed the revised 6th National Development Plan 2011- 2016 and its emphasis on people centred development. We appreciate the Government’s focus on human resource development, improvement of health services and provision of piped water and good sanitation facilities, as essential factors for economic growth and poverty reduction,” she said.
She further said Government’s impressive record in improving the lives of Zambians through communication and transport links such as the Link Zambia 800 project and Lusaka Ring Road project is commendable.
“The on-going infrastructure development projects to link Zambia with its neighbours and the booming construction industry such as the upcoming international airport, residential and office buildings, shopping malls, internet connectivity and provision of other social services are some of the indicators of a growing economy,” High Commissioner Oliphant said.
The meeting was attended by Vice-President Dr Guy Scott, PF Secretary General and Minister of Justice Hon. Wynter Kabimba and several Cabinet ministers.
SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT
PRESS AND PUBLIC RELATIONS