PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has welcomed the proposal by two United Party for National Development (UPND) Members of Parliament (MPs) to work with Government in addressing the hunger situation in some parts of the country. On Tuesday, Choma Central MP Cornelius Mweetwa and his Mbabala counterpart Ephraim Belemu said they had opted to promote politics of engagement and not confrontation in addressing the hunger situation in some parts of the country. Mr Mweetwa, who is UPND deputy spokesperson, said there is no need to politicise hunger.
And President Lungu said Mr Mweetwa and Mr Belemu deserve commendation for their willingness to engage Government over the food deficit. “I am willing to work with professionals, churches, academics, business people, politicians and any Zambian willing to complement Government’s efforts,” he said.
This is according to a statement issued yesterday by Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations, Isaac Chipampe. The head of State is willing to work with any Zambian so that Government can broaden its pool of solutions to the challenges facing the country.
He advised Mr Mweetwa and Mr Belemu to engage the Office of the Vice-President on the matter as it is the one which oversees the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU). President Lungu has been discouraging citizens, particularly politicians, from politicising hunger.
The southern half of Zambia has been affected by hunger following a partial drought last rainy season, a situation which has prompted Government to start distributing relief food. Government has assured that no one will die of hunger because the country has enough maize to distribute to affected areas. Southern Province is one of the most-hit regions by hunger.
Western, Central and Lusaka, including some parts of Eastern Province, have also been affected. Most UPND legislators have been declining to work with Government and some party officials have been suspended for attending meetings called by Government. Last month, DMMU distributed 2,900 metric tonnes of maize to 13 districts in Southern Province