VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina says the creation of the national command centre is not meant for elections but a measure to ensure public safety and security using technology.

And Vice-President Wina says government will not stop procuring medicines because of the scandals that have been revealed at the Ministry of Health.

Speaking during her question and answer session in Parliament, Friday, in response to a question from Ithezhi-tezhi UPND member of parliament Herbert Shabula who wanted to know why government had set priority on the command centre and purchase of weapons as opposed to other projects, Vice-President Wina said government put public safety and security on high priority.

“Mr Speaker, public security and safety are on high priority, not only of this government but government’s world over. And the public has to be protected at all times, not only at the time of elections and many governments have put in place measures to secure public safety using the latest technology that will bring out information where the human eye sometimes cannot. So it’s not anything new, this particular project was started many years ago, five years ago if I may recollect and this is not designed for elections, this will be a public feature that will capture data on matters of security,” she said.

She said Zambians should embrace such moves because it is moving in the technological era as most countries have done.

Mr Speaker, Zambians should welcome such moves because their government is moving in the technological era and most governments are already in. there are issues of smart cities in this world and the smart cities are anchored on various development issues including surveillance and this is what your government is doing. The honourable member for Ithezhi-tezhi should be pleased that his government is moving in the technological era, I thank you Sir,” she said.

And in response to Luampa UPND member of parliament Makozo Chikote who asked what measures had been put in place to ensure a level playing field ahead of the elections, Vice-President Wina said the public order act was applicable to all and not meant to punish opposition political parties

“The public order act is applicable to all, not only to punish, it’s not intended to punish the opposition political parties, it’s for everyone, particularly for those that abrogate the law of the land. There you will find that the public order act does not favour you. So long as you are a law abiding citizen of Zambia, in whatever circumstance the law will protect you and the public order act is one of those laws that should protect citizens without any bias or discrimination in its application. So, we believe that during the coming elections and even before elections, this law will be applied fairly on all the political players and this government is determined to ensure that the law is applied in its real original status. So the honourable member should not fear that the public order act will be used against the opposition parties, that is far from it, the government does not want to see any discrimination in the application of the law on its citizens,” she said.

Vice-President Wina said government was mobilising resources to ensure that enough vaccines were procured to cater for animals countrywide.

She was responding to Chavuma UPND member of parliament Victor Lumayi who asked if government was allocating funds for animal vaccines.

“Mr Speaker, this government is committed to diversifying the agricultural sector and the livestock subsector is one of those growth areas that government is focusing on and the outbreak of contagious diseases such as CBPP and foot and mouth disease are a concern to this government and as a result, the ministry of livestock and fisheries is soliciting for funding and the treasury is mobilising resources to ensure that the ministry buys enough vaccines to treat the animals countrywide, especially in the areas where the disease has spread such as Chavuma and the Zambezi west bank,” she said.

Responding to Chimwemwe independent member of parliament Mwila Mutale, who wanted to find out when government was going to deal with the shortage of drugs in health centers, Vice-President Wina said government could not stop purchasing drugs because of ongoing scandals at the Ministry of Health.

“Mr Speaker, government will not stop taking care of its people in as far as their health status is concerned and government will always allocate resources for the purchase of drugs and the whole drugs value chain. And government is already purchasing these items. The major question that has captured the imagination of the public is the expenditure on COVID-19 medical supplies but the other issue was that some of the drugs had expired so government is looking into all this and government cannot stop supporting the purchase of drugs because of the ongoing cases. Government is at work protecting the lives of its people, I thank you Sir,” said Vice-President Wina.