News / Africa

Zambia Opposition Demands Health Inquiry for President Sata

Zambia's President Michael Sata speaks to journalists at the 18th African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, Jan. 2012 file photo.
Zambia's President Michael Sata speaks to journalists at the 18th African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, Jan. 2012 file photo.
Peter Clottey
Zambia’s opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) will this week petition the Cabinet to constitute an independent team of medical doctors to determine the health condition of President Michael Sata, according to the party’s Deputy Secretary General Kuchunga Simusamba.

“We have called for this because on several instances the president has failed to appear on scheduled and advertised government programs, and there was no government explanation,” said Simusamba.  “More seriously now, his party, the Patriotic Front (PF) factions are beginning to emerge, and his defense minister told the nation that these factions are as a result of the uncertainty of the president’s health.”

Simusamba says the party is also mulling over a legal challenge option, if Zambia's Cabinet refuses to assemble the medical inquiry board.

“Many of [Sata’s] senior Cabinet ministers believe that he will not make it to 2015, and so they are positioning themselves to take over the reins of the presidency,” said Simusamba.  “That is the reason why we have called for the inquiry or we have invoked Article 36 of the constitution so that his health can be ascertained.”

Some media outlets as well as social media platforms have speculated about the president’s failing health.

But, Cabinet Minister Fackson Shamenda dismissed the opposition demands saying, “It is cruel to continue wishing the head of state such calamities.”  Simusamba disagreed, saying the UPND’s demand is rooted in Zambia’s constitution.

“Article 36 of the constitution, which says when we are in doubt of the capacity or incapacity of the president, we can invoke this particular article so that a medical board can be constituted to assess the lack of capacity of the president,” said Simusamba.

He says the government is to blame for the questions and speculations about the president’s health.

“The president has been sneaking out of the country several times.  [He] has not announced his departure, and all we hear is that he is in some other countries going for medical examination,” said Simusamba.  “This thing is fueling speculation, as to whether the president is in good health.  I think that it will rest this argument to constitute this board.  This is not wishing him ill, this will clear this argument once and for all.”

Some supporters of the ruling Patriotic Front say the opposition demand is yet another political stunt to distract the government’s efforts to improve the lives of citizens.

Analysts say it is unlikely Zambia's Cabinet will assemble a medical team to investigate the president’s health.  But Simusamba says his party will consider a legal challenge if the government refuses to abide by the constitution.

“We have that option of moving [to] the courts and seeking judicial review over the decision of Cabinet.  And this coming week we will be writing to [the] Cabinet to make this thing official, we shall give them a time frame to do it and if they do not, then we shall move to the court to compel them to have this thing done,” said Simusamba.
Clottey interview with Kuchunga Simusamba, UPND deputy secretary
Clottey interview with Kuchunga Simusamba, UPND deputy secretary i
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid