ZCTU backs report on weak Sata

THE Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has backed a foreign international report which disputed the Economist Intelligence Unit report on a tight race between President Rupiah Banda and opposition leader Michael Sata in next year’s elections.
The ZCTU said the MMD has an upper hand over the Patriotic Front (PF) going by the developments taking place countrywide.
Commenting on an American Intelligence report that PF leader Michael Sata is too weak for President Rupiah Banda, ZCTU vice-president Sam Phiri said it was clear that the MMD Government had performed well in the last two years.
He said the American intelligence, being a credible unit with far-reaching influence, should have carried out a comprehensive assessment for them to arrive at such an observation.
“We have no doubt that the MMD has done it, they have done the best although they should not go to sleep but maintain the momentum,” Mr Phiri said.
He said the development taking place countrywide was an indication that the MMD could do more if they were given more time.
Mr Phiri said the ZCTU was interested in seeing Zambia develop.
Federation for Free Trade Unions in Zambia president Joyce Nonde-Simukoko said the America Intelligence report could be an opinion but it should be respected because opinions encouraged democracy.
Ms Simukoko said political parties should work on opinion polls because they provided direction.
“Opinions should be respected and not suppressed because they promote democracy,” she said.
Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) yesterday said the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) projection on the 2011 presidential election outcome was biased.
FODEP president Stanley Mhango said the report published in the Post Newspaper last week suggesting that Mr Sata and President Banda’s race would be tight lacked credible background and urged knowledgeable institutions to commission local analyses.
He said the EIU should state its initial interest and margins of error apart from providing an explanation on how the report was compiled without consideration for the local political environment.
The report states that Mr Sata would be ahead of President Banda with a small margin but does not state whether the survey or analysis was carried out in Zambia or Europe and to what extent the prevailing political fundamentals in the country were put into consideration.
The American report states that the United Party for National Development and the PF pact had become too fragile to mount a serious challenge to the ruling MMD.
American intelligence sources said there were more donors not represented by the EIU who were more interested in maintaining the status quo because President Banda’s stable character gave more assurance for world security.
There are fears that some opposition leaders could not be trusted with minerals such as uranium which the country was endowed with.
But the United States Embassy has said it has no preference for any candidate for any elected position.
In a statement released yesterday, Public Affairs Officer Priscilla Hernandez said the US respected the sovereign right of the Zambian people to conduct elections freely and fairly and that it works with the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and all political parties to promote a credible election process that was free of violence and reflects the will of the Zambian people.
Reacting to yesterday’s story in the Times of Zambia in which American Intelligence Sources had disputed the Economist Intelligence Unit report on a tight race between President Rupiah Banda and opposition Patriotic Front(PF) leader Michael Sata in next year’s elections, Ms Hernandez said the US stood steadfastly with the Zambian people who deserved credible news sources for information on national and international matters. But the Times of Zambia stands by its story.

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