PRESIDENT Michael Sata’s address to the National Assembly last Friday was not responsive to the immediate and long-term needs of Zambians, Southern African Centre for Conflict and Resolution Dispute (SACCORD) executive director Boniface Cheembe has said.
Mr Cheembe observed that the President’s speech failed to give direction to the Constitution-making process, the promotion and protection of human rights and youth unemployment.
But Labour and Social Security Minister Fackson Shamenda said he would not comment on the matter before reading the full speech of President Sata.
“I cannot comment on the matter unless tomorrow (today) after I read the speech in order to give a detailed comment,” Mr Shamenda said
Mr Cheembe commended the President for meeting his obligation to address the House but said SACCORD found the content of his address not responsive to the immediate and long term needs of the people of Zambia.
“Zambians have been very consistent with issues which they think need to be addressed with urgency but the Head of State failed to give direction on pressing issues of national importance,” he said.
Mr Cheembe said SACCORD expected the President to address key issues considering that 2015 was the only year the PF government was remaining with to implement its manifesto and meet many promises they made to Zambians.
He said SACCORD took note of President Sata’s pronouncements to increasing the bed spaces at three higher learning institutions namely University of Zambia, Copperbelt University and Mulungushi University.
“We also took note of his pronouncement of constructing new health training centres at Levy Mwanawasa Hospital and Senanga district. Lack of a human resource development programme for current and new institutions might only go to work against these efforts,” Mr Cheembe said.
He commended President Sata for his clear direction on decentralization, industrialization through Industrial Development Corporation (INDECO) and the desire to see more women and children being protected in the country.
And Mr Cheembe said he was disappointed with the way journalists from most private media institutions were treated by Parliament.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the denial by Parliament to private media organisation journalists to cover the presidential address at Parliament,” he said.