4 July 2017

Zambia: New State House Is Inevitable - Pres. Sata Endorsed the Plan, Says Amos Chanda

Presidential spokesperson Amos Chanda has offered his perspective on the debate for the construction of a new State House saying the plan was inevitable.

Chanda has also said the late President Michael State was also in agreement with the plan after being adequality briefed by experts.

BELOW IS AMOS CHANDA'S WRITE UP

Presidential Spokesperson wrote on Press WhatsApp Forum:

RB's Cabinet approved the construction that is why he commissioned the new design we found but he lost elections and Mr Sata without a brief on the major structural defaults the building suffered threw out the plans within days after taking power.

In his second year as president, structural engineers returned to him and gave him the report. Mr Sata subjected the report to a renowned private engineering firm very close to him (they are still part of the latest assessment done three months ago). Mr Sata authorized them to begin preps for a new building, because the findings were damning!

Just like the new Airport which Mr Sata had rejected, the construction of a new one started under him once he had been properly briefed. the small colonial airfield (KKIA)was unable to cope with the advancing developments in aeronautical industry.

I said here that Dickson deliberately left out security reasons, for obvious reasons of oath, but nevertheless the arguments he presented are persuasive. I can a go a little further because being in the job currently I can navigate some classified information on the matter.

The 2015 Cabinet did not reject the proposal from works minister: Cabinet approved in principle but directed the minister to shelve the plans until later. Of course newspaper headlines screamed " cabinet rejects new state house"! That was not the case, I am the one who drafted the press statement for chief Govt Spokesperson to release, so I know what the minutes of that Cabinet said.

So it is wrong to state that RB Cabinet did not approve and EL Cabinet did not approve.

Again I can only urge those who think structural engineers are wrong, Cabinet is wrong, parliament is wrong and security services are wrong to tell us what their objections are!

As for the money, a friendly country alarmed at the state of the building has no problem with the $20 million grant, had they known of this state of affairs they would have directed their grant from lesser causes to this one they say.

The arguments about White House and Buckingham palace rehabs cannot hold. Those people built those buildings for purposes of offices and residence this one was not, it was built as a ten-room residence for the governor.

What about Parliament? once we follow the constitution and expand constituencies, no amount of alterations will make it suitable to accommodate the new numbers. A new one will be inevitable!

What about our premier conference facility Mulungushi conference centre? Would it wise to argue that the new ultra modern facility being built east of Lusaka is a waste of money, we should just alter and expand MICC because it hosted the Queen in 1979?

As for No. 10 Downing Street, that is not the first residence of the PM. Chatham House, (the Royal foreign policy institute) is where the PM residence was, it was small and unable to accommodate the demands of the PM's office so they built a new residence and offices which today' s famous No. 10. Secondly, Whitehall and not No. 10 is the HQ of the British government!

When Tony Blair was PM, the Quarters of the adjacent No.8 Downing Street were also used by him since he had a bigger family. the chancellor of the exchequer who normally resides there moved elsewhere.

When I attended a course at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's School of Government we were told that the "power of the state is in ceremony"! So, if the State is unable to do the thing that Dickson Jere articulated, then it fails a great deal in that respect!

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