Government has expressed shock over former first lady Maureen Mwanawasa’s complaints that it did not carry out an investigation regarding the death of her husband,late president Levy Mwanawasa.
Chief Government spokesperson Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha said during a press briefing at his office Wednesday afternoon that government is shocked at the former first lady’s aggression against government.
General Shikapwasha said the death of the late president was certified by the doctors in France and that Mrs. Mwanawasa is aware of that.
He says it is unfair for the former first lady to accuse government of not carrying out an investigation now when at the time the late president died she did not raise issues against the medical doctors both in Egypt and France nor against the assistance rendered by the Egyptian and French governments.
Lt General Shikapwasha says government believes that the medical doctors both in France and Egypt did their best to try and save the life of the late president Mwanawasa.
He adds that the condition and health of the late president was public knowledge.
On complaints that government was in a hurry to hold the presidential by-elections to replace the late president, General Shikapwasha said Mrs Mwanawasa as a lawyer knows that the current constitution states that upon the demise of a sitting president, elections for the position of president must be held within 90 days.
He says for this reason, the elections were held in accordance with the constitution, adding that the allegations that government was in a hurry to hold the presidential by-election are unfair.
On the former first lady’s complaints that the government is not providing enough money for herself and her children, General Shikapwasha stated that the benefits of former heads of state, their spouses and children are prescribed by the benefits of Former Presidents’ Act, Cap 15 as amended, and the presidential emoluments Act Cap 261.
Lt General Shikapwasha explains that government rents a house for the former first lady and rentals so far paid by the government from November 2008 up to October 2010 total 700 million kwacha.
He adds that gratuity paid to the estate of the late president is over 378 million kwacha, while public donations to the funeral collected by government and paid to the late president’s estate amounted to over 705 million kwacha.
He said other benefits include motor vehicles, goods and services, travel expenses, fuel, repairs, security services and insurance amounting to five hundred and thirteen million, five hundred thirty four thousand nine hundred thirty three kwacha.