Sata, Shikapwasha comment on degree for president clause

CHIEF Government Spokesperson Ronnie Shikapwasha says the clause to allow only degree holders to vie for the Republican Presidency is not aimed at discriminating against any Zambian, according to the Zambia Daily Mail.

Lieutenant General Shikapwasha said government has improved on the standard of education to the benefit of all Zambians.

He was speaking in an interview in Lusaka yesterday, in response to Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata’s statement that the requirement for a degree is aimed at discriminating against poor Zambians who cannot afford higher education.

Mr Sata also congratulated the MMD government for discriminating against their own members who, he claimed, have not obtained such qualifications.
But Gen Shikapwasha said government provides scholarships for Zambians who cannot afford to sponsor themselves for degree programmes.
He said the nation can boast of more than 10 public and private universities.

“As government, we have provided an enabling environment to ensure that many Zambians obtain degrees. We have built more high schools countrywide and also renovated school infrastructure,” he said.

And Minister of Education Dora Siliya revealed that her two deputy ministers have just completed a needs assessment to see which areas are in urgent need of education infrastructure.

She said her ministry will use this year’s budget to build infrastructure in areas to be identified.
Ms Siliya said government is committed to improving the standards of education.
She said so far, there are three government universities and 11 privately owned.

“The increase in the number of universities is a clear sign that many Zambians want to obtain degrees. If this was not the case, the private sector would not have been opening universities,” Ms Siliya said.

She said government’s commitment to the education sector can be seen from the amount allocated in this year’s national budget, which is K3.4 trillion.

“We care so much about education because education can make you the president of your own life because you are able to get a good job,” Ms Siliya said.

But Mr Sata alleged that a number of MMD MPs have no degrees and, therefore, they cannot aspire for the top job.

“General Shikapwasha himself, I’m sorry, Mr Munkombwe, sorry, Jeff Kaande, I’m sorry, these do not qualify. The only person who qualifies is Katele Kalumba. This is very nice because it’s a disservice to MMD,” he said.

And asked whether he has a degree, Mr Sata responded: “Let us cross the bridge when we get there. They will be shocked.”

“Before the late President Mwanawasa died, the MMD were talking about age, now they have President Banda and have changed to degree,” he said.

Mr Sata said government should not discriminate against poor Zambians by introducing such a clause.

“Zambia has a population of 11 million people, but how many graduates do you have? What is going to happen? 99 per cent of the people who are not graduates will be voting for one graduate,” he said.

And Mr Sata advised Luapula member of Parliament Peter Machungwa not to despise people who are not educated.

“These people who want a graduate were made graduates by a non-graduate. These people also got their degrees from institutions built by a non-graduate,” he said.

Courtesy of Daily Mail

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