VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina says she is proud to be part of a party which fights corruption and abuse of public resources.

And Vice-President Wina says political leaders should desist from allowing their supporters to escort them when summoned for questioning at the police because the practice is unlawful.

Meanwhile, Vice-President Wina has insisted that President Edgar Lungu cannot be stopped from visiting any district or province because of COVID-19.

During during the Vice-President’s Question Time, Friday, Monze Central UPND member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu asked whether government was proud that the issuance of expired drugs and defective condoms at the Ministry of Health had led to many deaths in the country.

In response, Vice-President Wina said that investigations on the matter were still ongoing, adding that government had already put in place mechanisms to uphold the safety of patients.

She said she was proud to belong to a party which fought corruption.

“Madam Speaker, I can assure the Honourable member that this member of parliament, a grandmother and a mother is very proud to belong to the party that fights corruption and fights all sorts of misuse of public resources. Government is committed to providing universal health coverage and leaving nobody behind. This includes the provision of quality machines and medical supplies to the nation. The following are the measures taken by government to address the concern raise by the Honourable member; (1) In line with provisions under Section Six of the Medicines and Allied Substance Act Number Three of 2013, which in part provides for the return of machines and other substances, government, through the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority, has issued a recall for the defective products based on the quality tests conducted; (2) Post-marketing surveillance: the companies in question have been engaged to undertake a recall of the defective products where a directive was issued by the Authority. The licensee has also been instructed to provide updates on the process on a regular basis to aid the monitoring of the processes by the Authority,” Vice-President Wina said.

“A system of spontaneous reporting of product quality problems by health professionals in health facilities is ongoing and whereby the reports are investigated by the Authority, appropriate regulatory action is taken. Following distribution of the medical products, the Authority received a total of 14 reports on suspected medicine quality problems. However, this particular issue the Honourable member is referring to, government has always taken action and some of the current issues are still under investigation. We cannot come to a conclusion as to what exactly transpired in the Ministry of Health regarding this particular matter.”

And Vice-President Wina said it was unlawful for political party supporters to escort their leaders as and when they were summoned for questioning by the police.

“According to the laws of Zambia, there are procedures to be taken by the general public and these procedures to participate in a procession or in a public gathering are there and they need to be followed by every Zambian, including leaders of political parties. If these procedures and rules are abrogated by leaders inciting people to come when they appear before the police or before the courts ferrying people from various parts of the country to come and render support to an individual appearing before the police, we all know the consequences of such gatherings. Sometimes they can go out of control. So, it is important for leaders to inform their followers when a situation like this arises, just control your emotions, allow the law to take its course,” Vice-President Wina advised.

She also announced that the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) had done a rapid assessment that indicated that 58 districts were expected to experience flooding, which would negatively affect the food security of the districts.

She was responding to a question from Liuwa UPND member of parliament Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, who wanted to find out whether government was aware that the flood situation had negatively affected the food security in Western Province.

“The country has experienced an increase in rainfall activity and this situation has increased the possibility of river line floods. According to the global flood awareness system, 13 gauge stations on the system in Zambezi are indicating a high likelihood of flooding. For example, the two stations, namely Kalengwa School in Kasempa and Kafue Hook Bridge are already indicating above the 100 per cent trigger-level for river line floods. A rapid assessment that was undertaken by DMMU recently indicates that 58 districts will experience flooding this year, which will have a devastating effect on the food security in these areas. So, DMMU is now working at modalities of how to support the communities in these flood-prone districts and that is ongoing. I can assure you that DMMU is dispatching some food stuffs to Liuwa as well as Sikongo and two other districts in the province that I cannot remember,” she replied.

Meanwhile, Vice-President Wina insisted that President Lungu could not be stopped from visiting any district or a province due to COVID-19.

“Honourable members should know and realise that His Excellency, the President as Head of State, is entitled and, indeed, required to govern all parts of the country. His Excellency has stated on many occasions that under his leadership, development will be taken to all parts of Zambia. In doing so, the President is reaching all parts of this country and carrying out inspections of various development projects under the PF government. Having said that, His Excellency, the President, is well aware of the dangers of COVID-19 and, therefore, all health guidelines are being adhered to in all movements undertaken by the President,” she argued.

“This pandemic will be with us for some time and we have to learn how to live under the ‘new normal,’ the most important thing is to abide by the guidelines from the Ministry of Health. The President will not stop visiting parts of Zambia because of COVID; otherwise, there will be no government to talk about. It is very important for honourable members, especially on the opposition side, to realise that this country has to continue, government has to continue and certain actions have to be taken by government in order to fulfil the obligations that we made to the people. So, the President cannot be stopped from visiting a district or a province due to COVID-19 so long as there is strict compliance to the health guidelines.”

She added that the DMMU had pre-positioned two million masks and 75,000 face shields, among others, in readiness for the reopening of schools on Monday.

“The children’s education is a partnership between parents and the government and as schools are scheduled to reopen on the 1st of February, 2021, the DMMU, under the Office of the Vice-President, has pre-positioned two million reusable face masks to be distributed throughout the country; 75,000 face shields; 500 hand-washing stations; 250,000 disposable facemasks and 15,000 by five litres sanitisers to all the 10 provinces. Further, DMMU has engaged the Ministry of Local Government through the Fire Department to fumigate and disinfect schools in readiness for the reopening,” said Vice-President Wina.

“DMMU has also released a total of 25,400 by 25Kgs and 13,440 by 12.5Kgs bags of relief mealie meal and 3,000 metric tonnes of maize to be distributed in Southern, Western, Luapula, Northern, Central, Muchinga and Eastern Provinces. All this relief food will be used in boarding schools. The Ministry of General Education has been detailed to prepare for the opening of the schools on the 1st of February and it will not be business as usual because there will be regular visits to inspect schools in all districts by a combined team of health workers and Ministry of General Education staff to ensure that there is strict compliance to the health guidelines in all the schools without fail. This we have undertaken and we know the risks at this time our children can be exposed to.”