South Chiefs pressure president Banda over mobile hospitals as he nods private meeting with HH

President Rupiah Banda was Tuesday taken to task by Chiefs from Southern province to explain why the National Constitution Conference draft Constitution failed to go through in parliament and why his government purchased mobile hospitals.
Chiefs also wanted to know why the MMD government says Tongas are difficult people to work with. The chiefs also pressed president Banad to work with UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.
Sources revealed to the Watchdog that Chiefs who attended the meeting held at Nakambala house in Mazabuka told President Banda that the people of Southern province were very disappointed with government’s failure to heed to the call to adopt the Willa Mung’omba draft constitution as submitted.
Chiefs also demanded for an explanation from President Banda why Southern province Minister Elijah Muchima said that Tonga’s were difficult people to work with.
“We had a very heated meeting with the head of state, we demanded for an explanation why the constitution making process failed in parliament when the MMD had more MPs, we also wanted him to tell us why government thinks that Tongas are difficult people to work with,” said one source.
The chiefs demanded that President Banda considers returning the money used during the NCC.
The Chiefs complained to President Banda that if he had listened to his critics, his government would have remained popular unlike the situation now.
Sources who attended the meeting said President Banda pleaded with the chiefs on the failure of the constitution and blamed the Patriotic Front MPs for hostility during the constitutional making process.
The source said the explanation by President Banda was received with a lot of reservations, adding that Chief Mwanachingwala intervened to save the president from further questions.
On the remarks made by the provincial minister that Tongas are difficult people to work with, the source said President Banda got upset and promised to act on the matter as he was not formally informed by Vice president George Kunda who was at the time the remark were made with Muchima on the developmental tour of Southern province.
The source also said President Banda begged the chiefs to convince the UPND president Hakainde Hichilema to consider working with the ruling Movement for Multi-party Democracy.
“The president has tasked senior chiefs in the province to convene a private meeting where Hichilema and President Banda would meet to discuss an alliance.
The source said Chiefs were delighted with the openness of President Banda when he said that the ruling MMD would not win this year’s election single handedly, hence the need to enter into an alliance
with the UPND.
Earlier, Chiefs questioned governments’ reasoning over the purchase of the Mobile Hospitals at a total cost of U$D 53 million.
Source said chiefs were not happy about the move to purchase the equipment which they said would not go along way.
The source said Chiefs Chikanta of Kalomo and Macha of Choma districts openly disagreed with President Banda when He (President Banda) said the equipment would go along way in health delivery in the province.
The source who attended the meeting said Chief Chikanta openly disagreed while Chief Macha supported him, telling President Banda that it would have been more helpful if government considered the loan for permanent structures.
The source said President Banda indicated to the traditional leaders that government was in the process of getting another loan for infrastructure development and some of the money would go towards the
construction of hospitals.
The source said Chief Chikanta again asked President Banda why he had allowed his ministers to mislead him over the procurement of mobile hospital.
The source said Chief Hanjalika of Mazabuka also expressed his disappointment in the manner the MMD government had handled the issue of mobile hospitals.
“Chief Hanjalika told President Banda that moving hospitals were not a priority in his chiefdom because there was no road, all the roads were impassible and it would be difficult for the equipment to reach
far-flung areas,” said the source.
Chief Chona of Monze pleaded with President Banda to consider constructing permanent structures while Chief Hamusonde advised the MMD leadership to pull-up socks or face defeat in the forthcoming
general elections.
The source said Chiefs explained to President Banda that out of the U$D 53 million loan at least 8 modern hospitals would have been constructed than purchasing mobile hospitals whose loan would be
repaid in the coming 40 years.

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