2 February 2013

Zambia: We're Focused - Sata

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has assured that Government is making sufficient progress in terms of development while maintaining a good governance record.

The Head of State has also reiterated that his administration will remain open to dialogue with various stakeholders.

He said this in a statement released by his Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations George Chellah yesterday.

Mr Sata was responding to the recent Pastoral letter by 13 Catholic Church Bishops released last Sunday.

He said his administration valued the close working relationship it enjoyed with the Church.

"As elected representatives of the people, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government remains open to dialogue as an important aspect of nation building, unity and development.

"We, therefore, take note of the pertinent issues raised by the Catholic Church in the Pastoral Statement on the occasion of their January 2013 Plenary," he said.

The Pastoral letter was signed by bishops who included the Archbishop of Lusaka Telesphore Mpundu, Archbishop of Kasama Ignatius Chama and Zambia Episcopal Conference vice-president Alick Banda.

The President said the PF Government was committed to good governance while its doors would remain open to dialogue on many national issues.

He said the Government had established national platforms such as the on-going Constitution-making process.

"The concerns raised by our beloved bishops in their Pastoral letter with respect to the spate of parliamentary by-elections cannot be blamed on this administration, but can be traced back to poor and autocratic leadership in political parties that have failed to inspire their parliamentarians," he said.

The President said the Government would continue upholding fundamental tenets of democracy, good governance and the rule of law as espoused in its party manifesto.

"Within the democratic discourse of a multi-party political system, the principles of free entry and free exit to and from one party to the other cannot be outlawed. And we welcome a broad range of law-abiding citizens, including MPs to join the party," he said.

He said it was not the first time that such a political situation was prevailing in Zambia.

"As regards the appointment of some MPs from the opposition, we wish to remain true to the Constitutional order that permits any elected MP to be eligible to be appointed as minister.

"There is no violation of the Constitution in any way because all MPs are eligible to be appointed to ministerial posts.

"This position is not new. Others before me have appointed MPs from other parties. It is, therefore, grossly unfair to accuse us of creating by-elections," he said.

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