Ministry of information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo has lashed out at British High Commissioner to Zambia for suggesting that the hunger situation in some parts of the country be declared a national emergence in order for government to attract the necessary support.
Mr Kasolo wondered why Britain is the only country that has called for the declaration of the hunger situation a national emergence.
Appearing on Hot FM on a program dubbed “the Hot Issue”, Mr Kasolo said there is no need to declare the hunger situation which has affected mostly Southern, Western, parts of Lusaka, Central and Eastern Provinces a National emergencey because the country has enough food.
He said declaring the hunger situation an emergency will turn Zambia into a beggar to the excitement of those that have been insisting that the situation be declared an emergency.
Mr Kasolo said Zambia has enough maize but agreed that the distribution of the food to the hunger stricken areas has been slow.
“I will agree with stakeholders if they say that the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit has been slow in distributing the food, to say we are in a crisis NO”, Mr Kasolo said adding that President Edgar Lungu will not hesitate to declare the situation a disaster if need be.
“Declaring the situation a national emergence is a process, it cannot happen overnight, President Lungu is a very intelligent man, that man is wise and I can assure you that if the reports being submitted to him suggest that it is a crisis he will declare it so”,he added.
And Mr. Kasolo who sits on the National Emergence Committee said he will engage DMMU National Coordinator Chanda Kabwe on the need to diversify the food pack given to affected families to include other foods other than maize.
He said there is need to include other dietary needs such as Kapenta and beans in order to provide the much needed nutritional needs to the affected families.
But Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition Alliance National Coordinator Mathews Mhuru advised against politicizing the hunger situation saying declaring it a national emergence will not be an embarrassment to government.
He said government must also accept that the situation is not their fault but a natural cause which has impacted negatively on the lives about 2.5 million people.
Mr Mhuru explained that 58 Districts across the country are either in phase 3 or 4 of the hunger situation which if allowed to progress to phase 5 will mean people dying of hunger.
He said government needs about 178 million dollars in the short term to avert the hunger situation the money they will not raise without donor support.