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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid