Take it easy, Sata tells bishops

Lusaka – Zambia’s President Michael Sata has told Catholic Bishops in the country not to needlessly fret about the direction his administration was taking.
This follows a January 2013 pastoral letter in which the bishops raised concerns about “governance” issues.
President Sata said his government would not depart from its commitment to upholding the fundamental tenets of democracy, good governance and the rule of law as espoused in his patritic Front (PF) party’s manifesto.
“The concerns raised by our beloved and revered 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,”  said the Presidency.
This was in reference to defections by opposition MPs to the PF. Some of these MPs have gone on to  be appointed ministers in the PF government.
President Sata said MPs were defecting because of the “intolerable” leadership in opposition parties.
“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.”
On the Barotseland Agreement of 1964, the bishops urged the government to resolve the attendant secessionist threat the country faces.
According to that agreement, the Barotse Royal Establishment has a measure of autonomy on how it runs affairs in Zambia’s Western Province.
The Barotse leaders feel this agreement has not been honoured in letter and in spirit and have threatened to secede from Zambia.

February 2013
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