Government is a Handmaid to Corruption - MP Sikota
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THIS government is a handmaid to corruption, opposition UPND Livingstone Member of Parliament Sakwiba Sikota has charged.
Reacting to African Parks chief executive Paul van Vlissingen's statement that he was a wealthy man, Sikota yesterday said government has betrayed Zambians over the parks.
Sikota said until the last minute, government had denied nothing had happened to the two national parks - Liuwa and Sioma-Ngwezi, in terms of leasing. He said what was more annoying was that only last week, tourism minister Patrick Kalifungwa assured members of parliament that nothing would happen over the matter and told them not to listen to what was being reported in the press about the two parks.
"The handmaid to corruption is secrecy. We have just
seen this government is a handmaid to corruption," charged Sikota. He said people had all the time wanted to be
consulted over the parks and to understand exactly what it was
Sikota wondered who had received
The Zambian people also want the Task Force to go in to see who received what from the investor, all must be interviewed," he said. Sikota said government must explain why it saw it fit that people's heritage should be given away just like that.
He said this was modern day re-colonisation and
exploitation of Zambians and that the project should be resisted by all.
"This is a fight I am not going to relent on. It's just the beginning. If
it means taking this to the international courts, we will do just that because
people have a right to their heritage," he said.
"I have absolutely no grudge against anybody who has
raised questions on this project," he said.
He said he has since written to Senanga
UPND member of parliament Albert Situmbeko
who is chairman of the parliamentary committee on tourism and natural resources
informing him he would meet them on
Kalifungwa dismissed Sikota's reaction as wild because he had not consulted him. He said he had instituted a technical committee to carry-out consultations in the national parks but that the initial report they brought was not satisfactory and had to return to them.
"I didn't believe the report was conclusive and I have
sent them back to the parks," he said. Kalifungwa
He said African Parks wanted to launch their project this year but he refused them until consultations were concluded. Sikota said he was wildly mad on behalf of the people because government seemed to have lied.
He called for a full parliamentary inquiry into the matter where all parties would be called to give evidence.