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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid