PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has urged PF members to take to the airwaves and explain what his government is doing.
President Lungu said he had learnt a lot from his four-day tour of Eastern Province including that the PF had done very well “but there are some areas where we should have done well.”
Speaking when he met pastors in Katete on Sunday, President Lungu said things were on course and the government was working.
“Our friends take to the airwaves, they take to the radio station at Mphangwe, they talk to the community telling them what we have not done leaving out what we have done, so in the process we look very bad that we have failed completely,” he said. “So only last night I was saying to the colleagues in PF to take to the airwaves and social media and explain what we have done so far. It’s like we haven’t done anything here in Katete, especially but I think things are on course. We are working but we are not doing enough to disseminate the information.”
President Lungu urged government and party members to stop working in silos if they are to succeed. Responding to concerns raised by Katete pastors on a wide range of issues such roads, lack of drugs in hospital and the need for a market for crops among others, President Lungu said the questions raised by the pastors were same questions that were raised by traditional leaders and party members.
“Let me find out from the district commissioner whether he had previously organised such gatherings for ministers when they visit or the MPs for the two constituencies because most of these concerns have been addressed – they would have been asking other things other than the same things over and over again because these were questions which were raised by their royal highnesses,” he said. “They were questions raised by party members I met yesterday (Saturday) which to me means that information is not going down to the people. We can only succeed in our programmes and agenda if we are all together in knowing where we are in-terms of implementing the programmes and projects that government is doing. We were in Vubwi, Chadiza and later here (in Katete), the questions are the same. I can excuse the MPs and say from time to time they are in Lusaka but they don’t live in Lusaka. Something has gone wrong! We are not working together, we are working in isolation, in silos and we should stop doing that if we are to succeed.”
At this point, President Lungu asked infrastructure minister Vincent Mwale and later health minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya to respond to issues regarding their ministries.
Mwale said the government did not have enough resources to do complete all the road projects but that it would sit down and re-scope certain projects.
He said the government would then look at the works according to priority.
Dr Chilufya said Katete had St Francis Mission Hospital which was co-managed by the church and government.
He said staff at the hospital was on government payroll. Dr Chilufya said expansion of infrastructure at the mission hospital was supported by the government.
He also said the government had constructed a medical stores hub adding that the province had received drugs.
Katete Pastors representative Bishop John Chipwatanga said the government had listened to the cries of the people by embarking on various infrastructural developments such as the resurfacing of the Great East Road.
Bishop Chipwatanga said the reduction of school fees had helped poor families who were struggling to pay for their children.
He said the Church commended the government’s efforts in fighting early marriages in the district.
Bishop Chipwatanga said the government had scored a lot of success in the nation as well as in the district.
He said the Church was working well with district commissioner Joseph Duma Makukula adding that the district had seen peace and unity during his servant leadership.
But Bishop Chipwatanga expressed concern over lack of essential drugs in health facilities.
“Poor road network, the one from Great East junction to Chanida border and also Katete-Chadiza road. We would like to know your position. Lack of district hospital, we hope this will be done soon since the health minister did the ground breaking few months ago. The construction of the university here in Katete district, we do not know why nothing is happening,” said Bishop Chipwatanga. “We need a modern market for our people considering that our activities here in the district are centred on small-scale enterprise.”
And winding up his four-day tour of the Province, President Lungu told journalists that the biggest issues in the area were roads because the government had delivered inputs and those who sold maize to FRA were paid.
On violence, President Lungu said when there was no peace in the country people suffer.
He urged young people to refrain from violence. President Lungu appealed to Church leaders to talk to party leaders on the need to end violence.
President Lungu said traditional leaders and those from the Church should bring politicians together because party members had villages and they belonged to churches.
He said his trip to the province had given him more details on a number of issues like the Zambia National Commercial Bank’s decision to pull out of Chadiza.
President Lungu said he had learnt more about where the party was going.
“The findings have been, I don’t know how I can describe them. You see small things even in your home you may not know that taps in your kitchen are broken if you don’t visit the kitchen,” said President Lungu. “We have done very well as Patriotic Front but there are some areas where we should have done well. For example, we discovered whilst here that there is funding under RDA or NRFA for tollgates but tollgates haven’t been completed and I want the minister responsible, the PS for the province and everyone concerned to explain to me – I wouldn’t have known that.”