FORMER first lady Maureen Mwanawasa has urged Government to consider institutionalising the office of the First Lady to enable it play a more significant role in national affairs.
Dr Mwanawasa, who is the aspiring mayor of Lusaka, said doing so would help the First Lady enhance the various presidential complementary roles in the discharge of national duties.
She said the First Lady would become efficient because she would have her own budget which would support community programmes and help meet their local and foreign travel expenses.
She was speaking on Sunday evening when she featured on a Muvi Television programme dubbed, The Assignment.
“The First Lady plays a huge advisory function to the President behind the scenes. The office has to be recognised because first ladies have a significant influence on the performance of the president,” Dr Mwanawasa said.
She said the First Lady was the face of the President in public because whatever they did was an extension of the office of the Head of State.
Dr Mwanawasa said this would accord respect to first ladies as opposed to the current situation where when a First Lady donated to social causes she was perceived to be using proceeds of corruption.
Meanwhile, Dr Mwanawasa said if elected Lusaka Mayor, she would expand Lusaka City Council(LCC)’s revenue collection base by depoliticising taxi ranks, bus stations and markets around Lusaka.
She alleged that the local authority had failed to deliver efficient services due to poor collection of revenue which was important to fund operations and pay workers’ salaries.
“There is revenue hemorrhage at LCC because political cadres have sabotaged markets and bus stations which are an important source of income for the local authority,” Dr Mwanawasa said.
Dr Mwanawasa said under her five-year plan, she intends to automate revenue collection to curb corruption and ensure that the council comes up with more recreational facilities to curb hooliganism among youths in townships.