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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More