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Monday, 17 January 2011

Sata writes Banda writes Sata

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

Independence Avenue

Dear Sir,


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:

  1. the delay in the printing and verification of the voters’ roll by the ECZ,
  2. the lack of transparency in the process related to the printing of ballot papers, the tender process and the award thereof,
  3. the use of suspicious government institutions or agencies in the transportation of ballot papers to and from some constituencies or districts,
  4. the lack of constant flow of information from the ECZ to the stakeholders or lack of consultation on issues of common interest,
  5. the short notice given by ECZ for meetings on some crucial matters which require consensus with stakeholders,
  6. the SECRECY surrounding the announcement of the election date with the intention of catching political parties and other stakeholders unawares,
  7. the unexplained delay or withholding of results from some constituencies by the ECZ during the process of the announcement of results and,
  8. 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.

Yours faithfully,
Michael C. Sata

14th January, 2011

Mr. Michael Sata
Patriotic Front
P. O. Box 33965

Dear Mr. Sata,


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.

Yours sincerely,
Rupiah Bwezani Banda

c.c. His Honour Mr. George Kunda, SC, MP
Vice President of the Republic of Zambia and
Minister of Justice
Cabinet Office

c.c. Dr. Joshua L. Kanganja
Secretary to the Cabinet
Cabinet Office

c.c. Honourable Madam Justice F. N. Mumba
Electoral Commission of Zambia

c.c. Dr. Peter Mwaba
Permanent Secretary
Ministry of Health


  1. I would like to know why Michael Sata didn't spend more time in his letter addressing potential solutions to the deficiencies in our health system. He obviously recognises there is a problem, and wants GRZ to do something but why launch into issues about upcoming elections and not staying on the issue he started on.

    This is not to say the elections aren't a big issue, and there are questions to be answered. But this just further illustrates how our opposition is devoid of ideas and solutions on issues such as health care reform.

    As a former Minister of Health and the recipient of healthcare abroad (paid for by Zambian taxpayers), he should be uniquely placed to make meaningful suggestions. *sigh*

  2. 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.

    It shows there are two systems in the country. How difficult would it be for UTH to at least be able to do heart and transplantation surgery?

    Why does the MMD refuse to collect taxes from the mines, which would easily make the money available for this?

    That is the question. It looks very bad when members of the political elite are flown out of the country for treatment.

    Doesn't anyone in the MMD get that? And they want to talk about Zambia as a Christian nation?

    At least Michael Sata gets that. Somehow Rupiah Banda does not.

  3. Our politicians in Zambia have become masters instead of being servants of the people. If we go by the so called democratic principles , we choose people to represent us and serve us. But our so called representatives serve their own interests.

    This is the reason why proper medical care is a reserve for the masters in Zambia and i find that etremely un acceptable.

    Zabia needs a revolution like what has happened in Tunisha. But for a revolution to occur Zambian men and women need the spirit of a revolution to be greater than the fear of death. Untill such a time we shall continue to be down troden by the people who ideally should be serving us.

  4. Zambia is a small country, geographically as well as populationwise. It is thus amazing that our politicians have failed over the years to plan for the country.

    We are blessed with a lot of resources but the political management of these god-given resources is virtually non existent.

    Proper health care is a right to be enjoyed by any bonafide citizen of our lovely Zambia.One wonders why we should have this right being enjoyed by some to the exclusion of others.

    The general populace in Zambia needs to take a firm stand and fight if need be, if after the general elections the MMD is still in power because clearly they have failed us lamentably.

    We are tired of tribal politics which do not deliver anything to write home about.

    Municipal services are non existent. Jobs are for those with 'connections'.Roads are pathetic, in very diplorable condition.

    Further urbanisation, accompanied by well- thought out plans for sanitation does not exist in the minds and later on even in the dreams of our current politicians. And yet our contry remains vastly a rural place. Its as though these politicians dont travel at all.Its such a shame!

    When their relatives and crownies are sick, they rush them out of the country. A law needs to be passed to compel these politicians never to seek medical attention anywhere except within Zambia. Maybe and only maybe then, they will be serious about improving the health care system of a comman man-the Zambian tax payer.

    And I concur with you Mawnsa, Zambia needs a revolution and from where I am standing, the revolution is the only way and we need it urgentky.


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