Zambia's President Sata promises new constitution in 90 daysBy ELIAS MBAO in Lusaka | Saturday, October 15 2011 at 14:57
Zambia President Michael Sata has promised to enact a new constitution for the southern Africa country within three months.
In his inaugural address to Parliament since his election three weeks ago, President Sata Friday said he would constitute a committee of experts to analyse the recommendations of all previous constitutional review commissions and come up with an inclusive draft law.
"We are committed to delivering a new people-driven constitution within 90 days,” said Mr Sata who campaigned on a populist platform and is looking to capitalise on his predecessor Rupiah Banda’s abandonment of the constitution making process early this year.
President Sata urged opposition parliamentarians to support the process before increasing the country's provinces from nine to 10.
He also said that he would reinstate an anti-graft law removed by Mr Banda and prosecute all corrupt people – even ministers – regardless of status.
"The Patriotic Front Government wants to put more money in the pockets of many Zambians while corruption puts more money into pockets of a few individuals," said President Sata, 74, noting that he was elected on the promise to fight graft.
Without directly mentioning the Banda administration, President Sata said: "We will investigate any past acts of corruption by all those responsible and prosecute culprits within the due process of the law."
Since coming to power, Mr Sata has sacked several public officials on grounds of graft and instituted investigations in contracts he says the Banda government corruptly entered into including oil tenders and the sale of state-run phone company Zamtel.
He has also dissolved several "corrupt" boards and appointed many women to key positions with the justification that females are less corrupt.
Zambia would this month celebrate 47 years of independence amidst high poverty levels in the country despite having a lot of natural resources, he said.
The recently pronounced economic growth characterised by the classification of Zambia as a middle income country was meaningless without reducing poverty among the masses, Mr Sata said, in reference to the World Bank and IMF’s acknowledgement of the previous government's achievements.
"Our goal as PF Government is to achieve higher and sustained economic growth that will uplift the well-being of the poor in our society,”
President Sata said.
At least 70 per cent of the 13 million Zambians live below the poverty datum line, according to widely quoted UN statistics.
In other pronouncements, Mr Sata promised to build three universities, two of them within 18 months, and embark on massive road infrastructure projects.
And of the land redistribution programme in neighbouring Zimbabwe, President Sata assured: "For the record, PF does not intend to compulsorily acquire or forcibly take possession of commercial farming land from any farmer."
Mr Banda’s Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) spokesperson Dora Siliya said President Sata’s speech was “quite ambitious (with) a lot of plans and timelines”.
Several other parliamentarians from the MMD demanded for implementation of the projects President Sata has promised and not just rhetoric.
- Uganda varsity sorry for sex video
- Of cheating first ladies and the ''royal kraal''
- Kenyan farmer reaps from quail eggs venture
- Tabu Ley laid to rest in state funeral
- Why is she Mrs Graca Machel and not Mrs Graca Mandela?
- Harare furious at 'emulate Mandela' calls
- The girl who met Gaddafi 'in hell'
- Sudan and Ethiopia agree on border demarcation
- Oliver Mtukudzi discloses HIV status
- 53 heads of state and government set for Mandela funeral