Chiengi FDD member of parliament Given Katuta says government is to blame for the cholera outbreak because it was supposed to put in preventive measures before infringing on people’s right to worship.

Commenting on government’s decision to ban public gatherings like overnight prayer meetings and weddings to contain the spread of cholera, Katuta said it was absurd for government to ban over night prayers.

“It’s quite unfortunate. When I saw that letter circulating on social media, I thought it was a joke. In the first place, our government is supposed to take preventive measures before infringing on the Zambians rights. Because that’s their right to gather, to worship. And Zambia is a Christian so maybe the parties [can be banned], because at parties people will be cooking or eating food which could be a health hazard. I find it to be absurd for them to ban overnight prayers. I’m saying all this because I blame the government for the outbreak. They see these heaps of rubbish lying around for the past year, so they can’t tell me today this is when they have realized they can prevent the spread of cholera by banning people who want to worship. People want to say thank you to God by allowing them to see 2018,” Katuta said.

She said government should have used some of the money it was spending recklessly to clean up Lusaka before cholera broke out.

“In the first instance, all those monies they have been spending recklessly, they should have put that money aside for preventive measures knowing that Zambia is cholera prone than what they are doing right now. Like in my constituency Chiengi, Chiengi every year there’s an outbreak of cholera. It doesn’t have clean drinking water. If you look at the sanitation there, it’s terrible. That’s what I expect government to look into before there is an outbreak,” she said.

Katuta observed that instead of spending money procuring fire trucks at $42 million, government should have purchased garbage collection trucks.

“If you go to Chaisa township just here, the way people live and when their sewerage system is blocked, tankers cannot pass through to unblock those sewerage. Those are the places government should first attend to before start infringing on other people’s rights who want to go and worship. I find it quite wrong actually. Instead of buying those fire tenders for $42 million, they should have been giving the garbage collecting trucks to be collecting all the rubbish. Rubbish is collected after a month and they expect people not to contract cholera? It’s very easy. If you go to Soweto market, it’s terrible, perishables on daily basis are being thrown around but the capacity of rubbish containers can’t meet that,” said Katuta.