#THROWBACK: Government should not build me a house, I have my own money – Lungu
November 23, 2018
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says going forward, the law which mandates government to build houses for former heads of state will be scrapped off.
And former president Rupiah Banda says he hopes other former head of states can adopt his model of getting money from government instead of building their own houses.
Speaking when he handed over Banda’s retirement house in Makeni, Thursday, president Lungu said the law would be scrapped off because it disadvantages others who served in government.
“Let me extend my apologies to all families of former presidents for the delay in completing retirement houses. Let me also assure the families of the Zambian people that government will endeavor to complete houses at the earliest possible time. Therefore, I wish to direct all institutions involved to expedite the processes involved as our aim is to complete all former president’s retirement houses as soon as possible. I wish to note that government has been paying rentals for transit homes for all the former presidents. This is as the families await the completion of retirement houses. As I have said, it is my government’s duty to ensure that all former President’s are comfortable in accordance with the provisions of the law, and the law we will respect,” President Lungu said.
“Further, I wish to reiterate my earlier pronouncement that government will not build me a retirement house even though it is a constitutional requirement. I have my own money and I can build my own house. And going forward, we will scrap this law because I have seen that equity does not seem to be applied when we are dealing with retired leaders. Dr Kaunda had deputies, where are they in the picture of retirement? Mr Rupiah Banda had his deputies, where are they? The success that these two great leaders contributed to Zambia was not personal, the success was because they are working as a colleague, collectively. So going forward, this law, unfortunately will be scrapped, we want to find a much more equitable retirement package for all those who have been serving the public.”
He said he recently visited veteran freedom fighter and UNIP secretary general, Gray Zulu whom he felt was not living comfortably enough, compared to Dr Kaunda.
“Only the other day, I went to visit Mr Grey Zulu, he is relatively comfortable. But I think he is not the only one who worked with Dr. Kunda, there are others, so many, it is a good scheme, but I think it has not being applied properly. Lets apply it equitably, that’s what I am saying. When I became President in 2015, I said so and nobody said ‘no, you are not entitled to a house because you have only served for one year, six months, you are not eligible because that is not a term,’ when the matter came again, they said, ‘you have served one term already, so you are not going to come back again in 2021’, anyway, that’s politics but for housing purposes, I am saying no more houses,” President Lungu said.
But former president, Banda, said he hoped other former head of states can adopt his model of getting money from government and being in charge of constructing their houses.
“My highest gratitude must be reserved for his Excellency President Edgar Lungu, the President of the Great Republic. Your excellency, right from the start, you showed not only personal interest in the successful completion of this project but also, as a sitting President, you were able to propose a new and progressive approach on the broader question of how former head of states should be dealt with going forward. Your Excellency you went out of your way to accommodate my proposals for doing this project differently from what was the practice before,” he said.
“Whereas previously and by statute, the state was the one that was completely in charge of the entire process of procurement of all services, including selection of architects, constructing company and supervision of such projects. In my particular case, you allowed me to choose my own architect, construction campany, and I was able to supervise the construction from start to finish in very close collaboration with the line government ministries who were always ready when I called them, to come and assist me. I can only hope that other retirement homes for former President’s that are yet to be completed……..I am aware of the fact that many of them have left us, but I hope that the system will apply and they will benefit from this model so that surviving families can see their houses being completed more expeditiously and satisfaction.”
He said President Lungu must have been feeling proud to be handing over his retirement house.
“What is happening here today, me and my family, has happened to me before when I was vice-President. I was privileged to be instructed by president Mwanawasa to hand over the Presidential house to Dr Kaunda, the first president. I recall my feelings then and I said it loudly then, and I will say it again, because that is how you are feeling. I felt greatly honored that it was me who had to hand over the house to Dr Kaunda, the father of this Nation, I felt like his son, his elder son who has built a house for him and is handling it over to his father. Am sure some kind of that feeling is in you Mr. President. It must ne a great feeling for you because it was a great feeling for me,” Banda said.
Credit: News Diggers, November 23, 2018