News / Africa

Zambian Official Criticizes Opposition Over President’s Health Issue

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 information minister says some opposition leaders want to score “cheap political points” over whether President Sata traveled abroad for medical treatment.

Opposition leaders are demanding to know where President Sata went after government officials said he was going on a two-week working vacation following a summit in Ethiopia.

Mwansa Kapeya says the issue of the President’s health should not be used for political reasons. 

“It is very unfortunate that some Zambians who behave in a  very unchristian way, because you start talking about someone’s  health it clearly shows that there is something wrong in you as a human being,” said Kapeya. “It worries everybody the kind of politicking that some of the politicians are engaging in. It is a pity that we can go to that level of thinking.”

Zambian media, however, reported that Mr. Sata went to India and subsequently to the United Kingdom to seek medical attention before returning home. This prompted the opposition to demand answers about his health condition.       

Zambian media quoted Hakainde Hichilema, leader of the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) as saying

“As a matter of clarity, to be sick is normal and is human. No one should get too sensitive and emotional about it especially when one is a public servant. It is on record that Mr. Sata and some of his friends used to mock the late President Mwanawasa, Vice President George Kunda and Mr. Anderson Mazoka when they were unwell,” said Hichilema adding Mr. Sata called for a medical board to examine the health of the then sitting President Mwanawasa. “He called the late George Kunda red lips, to mention just a few examples. This is sad and unacceptable in a civilized society,” said Hichilema.

Opposition leaders say Zambians should know whether or not Sata is medically fit to hold office.  They say Zambians should be told when their leader goes abroad to seek medical care if only to include him in their prayers.

Information Minister Kapeya says Zambians know full well that the opposition leaders are just playing politics with the health of the president.

“It is the first time that one opposition political party is behaving in such manner. It’s a strange culture that we are witnessing in Zambia….You fail to understand the kind of thinking that we have in some politicians in this country,” said Kapeya.

Kapeya also rejected criticism that administration officials often seek medical attention in first class health institutions abroad.

“We have a big hospital and there is a special wing called the fast track whereby we [ministers] fall sick that is where we go to,” said Kapeya.
Clottey interview with Mwansa Kapeya, Zambia's information minister
Clottey interview with Mwansa Kapeya, Zambia's information ministeri
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs