VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina says a commission of inquiry in the privatisation process has a lot of issues that need to be exposed, adding that the government’s desire is to bring the matter to an end so that there are no more accusations in the future.
And Vice-President Wina says police have not stopped members of the opposition from organizing political meetings provided this is done under the Public Order Act.
Meanwhile, the Vice-President has denied being attacked by PF cadres in Mongu during her recent visit to Western Province.
During the Vice-President’s question time in Parliament on Friday morning, Solwezi East UPND member of parliament Leaky Kintu asked when the commission of inquiry on the gassing incidences would be set up, unlike setting up a commission of inquiry to look into the privatisation process which occurred 30 years ago.
But in response, Vice-President Wina said it was not possible to set up a commission of inquiry on gassing incidences at a time the matter was before the courts of law.
She added that on the other hand, the commission of inquiry into the privatisation process had a lot of issues that needed to be exposed, adding that they wanted to bring the matter to an end so that there were no more accusations in the future.
“The matters of gassing were taken to the courts of law. Because of that, you cannot start constituting a commission of inquiry [on gassing incidences] at the same time the matter is still before the courts of law. That is not possible. For now, we will await the proceedings of the courts on the many people who were arrested during this period, whereas the commission of inquiry in the privatisation process has a lot of issues that need to be exposed and how the people who suffered at the hands of the privatisation can rest their cases in peace, otherwise they continue to be agitated. And a lot of innuendos and speculations have been in the air. So we want to complete this matter, bring it to an end so that there are no more accusations in the future,” Vice-President Wina said.
Monze Central UPND member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu also wanted to know whether political parties would be allowed to engage members of the public following the guidance by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) on Thursday that all political parties should go flat out to sensitise the public regarding the forth-coming registration of voters.
In response, the Vice-President said: “The police have not stopped members of the opposition from organizing political meetings, provided this is done under the public order act. This has been said before, and to defy laws of the country will not be allowed. We can undertake these activities with the blessings of the police. And the police should not bar people from organised, proper demonstrations of a type that will not disrupt public order and public peace. So the meetings will continue. Some meetings do not need big public meetings, especially under COVID-19. But some of the meetings can be arranged in such a manner that we do not compromise the health of Zambians. So it’s up to us leaders to educate our voters that there are certain health limits that have been put in place that we need to observe in order for us not to spread the COVID-19.”
Mitete UPND member of parliament Misheck Mutelo also asked Vice-President Wina on the actions that had been taken against the PF cadres in Mongu that attacked her during her recent visit to Western Province.
But in response, the Vice-President denied ever being attacked while Mongu.
She said that was an exaggeration of the matter.
And when asked by Ikeleng’i member of parliament Elijah Muchima on what the party was doing about some PF civil servants who were actively involved in politics, Vice-President Wina said she wasn’t aware that there were civil servants who were campaigning for PF, adding that in any case, the campaign period had not yet commenced.
“If the honourable MP has evidence of civil servants who are engaged in partisan politics, he should bring that evidence to relevant authorities, because for now, I do not know that there are civil servants who are primarily in the field now campaigning for PF, in any case the campaign period has not commenced yet. So I cannot see how these civil servants, if at all there is one, who is already campaigning,” she said.
Further asked by Nchelenge PF member of parliament Anthony Malama on measures being taken in the short term to stabilize the currency and the economy in general, the Vice-President said to achieve exchange rate stability in the short run, the government, through the Bank of Zambia, had taken various measures, which included, among others, the bank interventions through the sale of foreign exchange to provide relief to the market.
She further said the depreciation of the kwacha over this period had been on account of increased demand for foreign exchange amidst constrained supply.
Meanwhile, Vice-President Wina said the government was anxious to open Kalengwa Mine in Mufumbwe town but was constrained by the fact that the cases regarding the mine had been in court for so many years.
“Government cannot make a decision on an issue that is still in court. We would like to see that mine open because it will change the economic life of the community in that area. The chiefs have been requesting government to open the mine but government’s hands are tied because of the court actions,” she said.
Vice-President Wina further said government workers at Kafue Nitrogen Chemicals that had not been paid for the last four months would be paid when the Treasury releases money for that exercise.