VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina says the PF victory in both Mwansabombwe in Luapula and Lukashya in Kasama are indicative of better outcomes for the ruling party in 2021.
And the Vice-President has announced that Minister of Finance Bwalya Ng’andu would next Friday announce the 2021 national budget.
Vice-President Wina in Parliament yesterday said the wins were a clear demonstration of the confidence Zambians had in the Patriotic Front government “under the exceptional stewardship of His Excellency Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu”.
“Allow me to congratulate the Patriotic Front for a landslide victory in Mwansabombwe and Lukashya constitutuencies…This is indeed a sign of better outcomes in the 2021 for the Patriotic Front.”
Patriotic Front’s George Chisanga emerged victorious in the Lukashya by-election by a landslide vote of 13,431 votes against UPND’s Davies Mulenga, who garnered 2,684 votes.
In Mwansabombwe, the PF’s Kampampi Kabaso polled 6,478 votes against UPND’s Sunday Maluba who got 1,522 votes.
Leader of the opposition in parliament Jack Mwiimbu congratulated the PF for the victory but mocked them saying while they were busy in Mwansabombwe and Lukashya campaigning the country’s economy collapsed.
“Congratulations for collapsing the economy while you were busy campaigning,” said Mwiimbu, who further asked the Vice-President the state of the Zambia/US government relations following the recall of the latter’s ambassador to Zambia Daniel Foote, last year.
He wondered whether the bilateral relationship was still strong as it used to be.
Vice-President Wina said the relationship between the US government and Zambia is “extremely strong and very cordial”.
She said last month, the Zambian Ambassador to the Washington, Lazarus Kapambwe was accredited and was received at the White House by President Donald Trump.
“The fact that a new ambassador has not been appointed for Zambia or not arrived in Zambia, that one is in the hands of the American government,” Vice-President Wina said.
She said the government was not privy to any arrangements the US government was making but assured that Zambia’s relations were very secure and strong.
Itezhi Tezhi member of parliament Herbert Shabula said the “surprise” dismissal of Bank of Zambia governor Denny Kalyalya and the reasons given for the decision were not clear.
He said Dr Kalyalya had two supervisors in President Edgar Lungu and the Minister of Finance.
“Now what we see is that we see this man being dismissed for failure to manage the institution and later on the President admitted by saying now he will manage the economy, in his own words. What does this mean? …is this clear admission that the President and the finance minister have lamentably failed to run this nation? Is he accepting?” asked Shabula.
In response, Vice-President Wina said, “Mr Speaker, let me asure the country that the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu has not failed to run the economy of this country”.
She said the appointment of a central bank governor was a prerogative of the President.
Muchinga member of parliament Howard Kunda asked the Vice-President whether the government would institute a commission of inquiry into the privatisation programme, given the talk around the matter.
In response, Vice-President Wina said privatisation was a national issue being debated country-wide as people want to know what transpired during the exercise in the 1990s.
She said the involvement of some public figures in the exercise, the privatisation Act had a provision under section 32 which guided them.
She further said the Act required any person appointed to oversee the process to declare interest before accepting the appointment.
“Mr Speaker, members of the negotiating team were also required and expected to have high standards of professional integrity, transparency and professionalism since they were dealing with public assets, disclosure of personal interest was therefore, a legal requirement. So Mr Speaker, the people of Zambia are still debating this matter and they want their government to find a solution, to put an end to this discussion. And government has not yet decided on the mode of moving forward regarding this matter,” she said.
Vice-President Wina said when time is ripe, the government would take action on the privatisation talk, which had left parts of the country in poverty and destitution.