VISION : Zambians Empowered, the Nation Developed!
MISSION : Empowering Zambians and developing the nation through authentic leadership
We as Zambians for Empowerment and Development (ZED) demand that the MMD government makes a comprehensive statement on the state of the energy sector in the nation. We can no longer continue to treat the current fuel shortages as an isolated incident. Over the past few years we have had intermittent disruptions in the supply of both electricity and petroleum products. These have greatly affected productivity in the economy and inconvenienced the lives of citizens. It is time for the government to revisit its energy policy and inform the nation on where the problems lie. The government should not be shy to admit inadequacy and call for expert help. What is happening is a matter of national interest and can no longer be treated as a simple operational problem. The nation needs to be assured that government has a proper strategy to ensure energy security.
Energy in any society is the lubricant of the economy. All our dreams of economic diversification, poverty reduction and attainment of millennium development goals, hinge on ensuring constant supplies of affordable energy. That is why itís highly irresponsible for the MMD government to claim that nobody is to blame for the current fuel shortages. The buck stops at the doorstep of government. They are the ones in charge and when things go wrong itís the responsibility of government to trouble-shoot and identify who was sleeping on duty and make such a person attract the necessary disciplinary action.
Itís now over a week since the minister responsible for energy began giving false assurances about the situation returning to normal and yet confusion has continued to reign. This is unacceptable and amounts to treating citizens like people who do not think. This uncaring attitude is responsible for the now widespread speculation that somebody somewhere may be making a killing out of the current situation. Governmentís failure to give a proper account only serves to fuel this speculation. We repeat, a comprehensive statement on the governmentís energy policy, the bottlenecks in implementation and possible changes, is long overdue.
ZED Perspective on the 2010 Budget Address
After a careful study of the 2010 budget address by the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Hon. Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, the leadership of ZED would like to make several observations.
In the first instance, ZED is a party that was founded on the firm conviction that after political independence and multiparty democracy which this nation attained in 1964 and 1991, respectively, the next task for Zambia is empowerment for all our people. We also wish to hasten to say that empowerment for us cannot be reduced to a small government economic programme. We view empowerment to be an all embracing objective which includes economic, political and social spheres. It is from this perspective that we look at the 2010 budget address by the minister. From this perspective, we wish to express our disappointment that the budget which is a major government policy instrument indicating public spending priorities according to policy goals falls far short of moving towards empowerment of Zambians. In particular, we note the following:
First, the MMD government cannot claim any special credit for the anticipated 4.3 percent economic growth for 2009. The truth of the matter is that this growth, if at all it comes, is due to the rebound in the world copper prices. In other words, this is externally driven growth which is attributable to favourable trends in the global economy.
The Zambians for Empowerment and Development (ZED) would like to express disappointment and dismay at the statement attributed to President Rupiah Banda on former President Chilubaís acquittal during the campaign for the just ended Kasama central parliamentary by-election. We are alarmed that the alleged argument by President Banda, if true, not only borders on a serious abrogation of the oath he swore to uphold, protect and defend the constitution, but also undermines the sacred principle of equality before the law.
We have said it before, for us as a party, the issue is not about nailing or not nailing Dr Chiluba to the cross. What is at stake is that justice must not just be done, but must be seen to be done. Statements such as the one attributed to President Banda serve only to lend credence to the widespread view that our judicial system is being interfered with by the executive wing of the state. The legal fraternity in this country has agreed that there were good enough grounds for the Director of Public Prosecutions to appeal the verdict of the trial magistrate. The constitution does have provision for the republican president to have his say in a judicial process, but only after the different layers of our court system have had their turn. President Banda could have patiently waited for his turn at the appropriate time and could still have saved Dr Chiluba, assuming that the Supreme Court would have handed him a guilty verdict.
We, therefore, condemn any pronouncement, regardless of who is behind them, that has the effect of compromising the principle of separation of powers, the bedrock of any democratic society. In the same country, we cannot have different sets of laws, one for the powerful and another for ordinary people. That would be building an unjust society. In fighting for independence in 1964 and multiparty democracy in 1991, respectively, Zambians were essentially saying no to discriminatory systems. We should be working towards empowering all Zambians, regardless of their social status and not bringing back decadent and archaic practices. Assuming Dr Chiluba had been found guilty, it should not have been a headache for the Head of State on where to put him, we have enough prison space for lawbreakers in this nation. ZED believes in equal access to justice for all, without regard to oneís social, economic or political status. We demand that President Bandaís performance of national duties adhere to the tenets of the constitution he swore to uphold, protect and defend and not be swayed by personal sentiments.
ZED - Developing the nation through authentic leadership!