STEVEN MVULA, Parliament
PRESIDENT Lungu did not refuse to meet church leaders who may have sought audience with him because State House is
open to all, Vice- President Inonge Wina told Parliament yesterday.
Mrs Wina explained during the Vice-President’s question time that the head of State was merely busy with other scheduled programmes.
She was responding to a question by Chipili member of Parliament Jewis Chabi (Independent) who wanted to know if it was true that some church leaders have been denied access to State House to meet President Lungu to discuss national issues.
“In the past one year, President Lungu has met several church leaders and as you may know, the President has been extremely busy with other visitors,” Mrs Wina said.
She said church leaders can also use other line ministries to get to the President.
And Mrs Wina has explained that President Lungu’s recent statement that “he is ready for violence” has been misinterpreted by some sections of society.
Mrs Wina told Parliament that the President used the term in a very different context while addressing Patriotic Front members in Ndola.
She was responding to a question by Kabompo member of Parliament (MP) Ambrose Lufuma (UPND) during the Vice-President’s question time.
Mr Lufuma asked the Vice- President to explain the intimation of President Lungu’s statement.
The UPND legislator, who has been attending sittings of the House since some of his fellow members were suspended by the Speaker, alleged in his question that Government is intolerant to divergent political views.
But Mrs Wina wondered why Mr Lufuma has not uttered a word in Parliament over the last three weeks, an indication that probably his question was a message from the suspended MPs.
“Mr Speaker, the allegations by the UPND member are baseless and not factual. They do not reflect the state of affairs in Zambia. President Lungu was meeting party officials in Ndola when he made that statement and the word violence was used in a very different context,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mrs Wina said it was prudent for Government to remove the 10 percent levy on maize exports because the country now has enough stocks of the commodity and the region also has a bumper harvest of maize.
She was answering a question by Nakonde MP Yuzikanji Siwanzi (PF), who wanted to know why Government has scrapped the levy.
Mrs Wina said the removal of the levy will enable farmers and grain traders to become competitive on the international market.
“We had a record output of maize during the last season, surpassing our consumption needs and the region, too, has maize, so it was a prudent move by Government to remove the 10 percent levy,” she said.
Mrs Wina also said Secretary to Cabinet Roland Msiska will accelerate the process of rolling out performance contracts to all civil servants.
The Vice-President was answering a question by Lunte MP Mutotwe Kafwaya (PF), who wanted to know when performance contracts would be rolled out in the civil service as directed by the President.