A bit of positive reporting from the Daily Mail. Transcript of correspondence from Mr Michael Sata to President Banda and vice versa. As general point I have previously touched on one of the issues raised by Mr Sata - see Are Some Lives More Valuable Than Others?
3rd January 2011
His Excellency Mr. Rupiah B. Banda
President of the Republic of Zambia
State of House
RE: DR. CHRISTINE KASEBA’S TREATMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA
We returned home from South Africa on Friday 31st December 2010 after my wife’s medical review on 30th December 2010.
My wife and I would like to take this opportunity to express our profound gratitude to you Your Excellency and the government including the staff at the Zambian High Commission in South Africa for the consideration, compassion and care extended to my wife during the period of her illness and stay at Milpark Hospital. 1 am indeed pleased to see that my wife’s life was saved due to the government’s prompt action to evacuate her.
However, I would like to re-state my long held view about access to specialist treatment abroad. I said it after my return from South Africa in April 2008 following my heart condition that our government must invest in this area both in terms of human capital and equipment so that access to such specialist treatment does not continue to be a preserve of the privileged few in our country. It is, therefore, my considered view Your Excellency that health care must become a human right by law for our people and not a privilege after 46 years of independence.
Your Excellency, as we enter 2011 which is the year of our presidential and general elections we all must commit ourselves to creating an environment of social justice, peace and reconciliation in order to facilitate a free and fair election process. As Head of State and government I implore you to assure our people that the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and other related government institutions shall not be allowed to pay lip-service to the principles of democracy and transparency but shall endeavour to win the confidence of all stakeholders and other participants in the 2011 presidential and general elections. In this respect I wish to bring to your attention the following areas of concern going by the experience of the past elections:
- the delay in the printing and verification of the voters’ roll by the ECZ,
- the lack of transparency in the process related to the printing of ballot papers, the tender process and the award thereof,
- the use of suspicious government institutions or agencies in the transportation of ballot papers to and from some constituencies or districts,
- the lack of constant flow of information from the ECZ to the stakeholders or lack of consultation on issues of common interest,
- the short notice given by ECZ for meetings on some crucial matters which require consensus with stakeholders,
- the SECRECY surrounding the announcement of the election date with the intention of catching political parties and other stakeholders unawares,
- the unexplained delay or withholding of results from some constituencies by the ECZ during the process of the announcement of results and,
- the complete disregard of the electoral code of conduct by government officers and ministers during the elections.
It is my hope and prayer that your government shall cultivate the spirit and environment in the nation of a democratic and free and fair elections. I wish you and your family God’s blessings.
Michael C. Sata
14th January, 2011
Mr. Michael Sata
P. O. Box 33965
L USA KA
Dear Mr. Sata,
DR. CHRISTINE KASEBA’S TREATMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA
I acknowledge, with thanks, your letter dated 3rd January, 2011.
I am grateful for the words of profound gratitude that you expressed in your letter. It is my belief that the good values of humanity should rise above political belief and persuasion when we are faced with matters of human life.
I have noted that you have raised the issue of the state of our health care system in Zambia. In the first place, I must say I have found it rather disappointing that you have decided to mix the issue of gratitude and the shortfalls of our health care system in Zambia. In my view the issue surrounding the evacuation of your wife to South Africa was an emergency which should ordinarily not be confused with the issue of the poor state of our health system in Zambia.
In my entire political career, I have not had the privilege which you had of serving as Minister of Health. The question is what did you and many others that have held that portfolio done to improve health care provision in Zambia? My record of what I have done and what I will continue to do for the improvement of healthcare in Zambia is there for every objective citizen of Zambia to see and appreciate. Let me assure you that as long as I continue to have the mandate of the Zambian people, I shall continue to improve on the successes that I have achieved in this short period that I have been in office.
I have noted the various issues that you have raised regarding this year’s presidential and general elections. All the eight issues that you have raised are matters that fall under the exclusive mandate and jurisdiction of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (‘ECZ ). The ECZ is an independent body created by the Constitution and regulated by the provisions of the Electoral Act, Chapter 13 of the Laws of Zambia and the respective regulations made there under.
I, therefore, exercise no control on the operations of the ECZ, as such I cannot comment on the issues that you have raised. However, I would implore you to take up the matters with the Chairperson of the ECZ as they are the correct constitutional body that is charged with the responsibility of dealing with electoral matters.
Rupiah Bwezani Banda
PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA
c.c. His Honour Mr. George Kunda, SC, MP
Vice President of the Republic of Zambia and
Minister of Justice
c.c. Dr. Joshua L. Kanganja
Secretary to the Cabinet
c.c. Honourable Madam Justice F. N. Mumba
Electoral Commission of Zambia
c.c. Dr. Peter Mwaba
Ministry of Health