PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says he was in Sinda to see what is happening in terms of development.
And the government says relief maize distribution will be conducted in all affected provinces.
Speaking to Sinda residents on Thursday, President Lungu said he was touring to prove whether what was promised was being implemented.
“Canawelera kuno ni cakuti Sinda district vitilupangeko vuyenda tyani za development. I am here to prove whether the offices we said will come to Sinda as a new district are there because it’s very easy to be cheated when I’m in Lusaka that things are moving on well,” he said.
President Lungu said he had seen that some projects had stalled but that some of them would be completed before the end of the year.
“And I have already seen that things are not moving very well. We waste time talking nazionera na menso [I’ve seen with my own eyes]…Cipatala kuliye niliye kucione [there’s no hospital]. So we will sit down with government officials concerned including the PS (permanent secretary) for infrastructure to see how much we can put in to complete the stalled projects,” he said.
President Lungu said the government was committed to completing its developmental projects, including hospitals, schools, National Registration office, police, and many more.
He assured residents that the PF government would ensure Sinda was transformed into a modern district.
President Lungu said he met traditional leaders who also expressed some of the district’s problems and that he would ensure that the district has a bank as well as a hospital to prevent people travelling to Katete or Petauke for treatment and other business issues.
“I have talked to your chiefs and they have told me some of the problems they face. I have promised your chiefs that at least I will lobby so that you have a bank to start operating and I promise to come back this year to see if the projects have completed,” President Lungu said.
Earlier, provincial minister Makebi Zulu told the President that the province has seen much development under the PF government, citing several projects in Sinda district such as police station, 10 staff houses, 20 low cost staff houses, an administration block, eight doctors’ flats at Nyanje hospital, and works on chieftainess Nyanje palace.
Office of the Vice-President minister Sylvia Chalikosa said the government was committed to ensuring food security and that due to the dry spell experienced in most parts of the country, government would provide relief food.
According to the speech by State House, President Edgar Lungu said distribution of relief maize would be conducted in all the affected provinces, particularly Southern and Western provinces, which he said he would soon be visiting.
Government flagged off relief food distribution in Sinda district of Eastern Province on Thursday. President Lungu said his government was concerned about the plight of Zambians.
“We are concerned about the plight of our people, hence we will ensure that all the vulnerable regardless of their religious, political, or any other affiliations benefit from relief distribution,” he said, according to a statement released by State House.
“At this point, let me direct DMMU [Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit] and the district disaster management committees to supervise and closely monitor relief distribution in the country, to ensure that non-governmental organisations handling relief distribution on behalf of government, strictly uphold the principle of non-discrimination and impartiality without fail. My government will not tolerate any misappropriation of relief meant for the vulnerable.”
President Lungu said distribution of relief maize would be conducted in all the affected provinces in the country particularly Southern and Western provinces, “which I will soon be visiting.”
“In the same vein, I wish to direct the Office of the Vice-President to ensure that an in-depth vulnerability and needs assessment is conducted soon to establish affected areas and the number of households which are food insecure, to avoid losing lives to hunger,” he said. “From the outset, I wish to express government’s concern on the dry spells which our country is currently experiencing particularly in Southern Province and heavy rains in the northern part of the country with high temperatures. Areas of the country which are severely affected by the dry spells besides Southern Province include some parts of Central, Eastern, Lusaka and Western province. The dry spells coupled with high temperatures have resulted in loss of soil moisture thereby causing wilting of crops and grazing pasture as well as drying of some water reservoirs (dams) in the aforementioned provinces.”
President Lungu said the government was aware of the prevailing situation countrywide.
“This is why the Minister in the Office of the Vice-President, the national coordinator and some permanent secretaries have been on the ground to have an on-the-spot check of the situation,” he said.
President Lungu said the government had taken a proactive approach by putting in place preparedness and mitigation measures aimed at cushioning the impact of climatic shocks on the affected people to protect their lives and properties including livestock.
He said the government was prioritising programmes in the Seventh National Development Plan aimed at building communities’ resilience and enhancing their adaptive capacities to climatic and disaster shocks.
President Lungu said the situation was predicted through seasonal forecast by the Climate Information Centre of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Zambia Meteorological Department.
He said the 2017/2018 agriculture season was equally affected by prolonged dry spells resulting in most households being food insecure.
President Lungu said the situation had further been compounded by another protracted dry spell being experienced in the current season.
He said distribution of relief food to insecure households in Eastern Province has been going on since December, and 1,600 metric tonnes had so far been distributed.
Thus far, the districts which have been receiving relief food include Nyimba, Petauke, Sinda, Katete, Mambwe, Lumezi, Lusangazi, Chadiza and Vubwi.
President Lungu said Sinda had so far received and distributed 200 metric tonnes to the vulnerable in the district.
He said Thursday’s exercise brings the relief so far distributed in Sinda to 300 tonnes.
“Due to the increase in the number of affected households, my government will continue with the distribution of relief food in an expanded way,” said President Lungu.
“This entails that new areas which have also been affected this season will be considered. I wish to further take this opportunity to assure that my government’s policy on relief distribution is non-discriminatory and impartial.”
District commissioner Paradious Sakala thanked the President for the developmental efforts to the district and the 150 metric tonnes of relief food.