GOVERNMENT should fully engage communities around the country that use water transport and sensitize them on safe methods of crossing water bodies, UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has advised.
But Chief Government Spokesperson Joseph Katema said Government takes great exception to the statement by Mr Hichilema in which he questions the morality of the governance system that subjects citizens to modes of transport such as water transport.
Mr Hichilema said there was need for life saving jackets and skills as well as the need to rule on the number of people a boat could carry safely.
He said it was sad that the country was mourning the death of the 26 Zambians, majority of whom children, that drowned on Lake Kariba on their way to Jubilee celebrations in Gwembe district of Southern Province.
Mr Hichilema said losing such a big number of people, who were in their prime and with so much to give to the country, was a big tragedy. “As we mourn this tragic loss, we call upon authorities to establish how such a tragic accident could have happened so that there could be no recurrence in future,” he said. Mr Hichilema however questioned the morality of the governance systems that subjected citizens to such modes of transport for so many years after independence. But Dr Katema advised Mr Hichilema to appreciate that there was time for everything: time to politick, time to celebrate and time to mourn. He said at the moment, the nation was engulfed in deep grief and sorrow at the death of the school children and others in the Kariba boat accident.
“We urge Mr Hichilema to put aside politics at this hour of immense pain and sorrow so that together as a nation, we give our departed citizens a befitting and dignified burial,” he said.