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Zambia Daily Mail

front01.jpgPRESIDENT Mwanawasa has described the performance of the Railway Systems of Zambia (RSZ) as shameful because of its failure to deliver on the rosy promises management made when it won the concession.

The President has since instructed new Minister of Communication and Transport, Dora Siliya, to establish why the company has failed to tick and if it is incapable of delivering the required services.

Dr Mwanawasa said this at State House yesterday when he swore in Ms Siliya, Southern Province Minister, Daniel Munkombwe and senior private secretary, Florence Chawelwa.

“The performance of the Railway Systems is very shameful.

It is in a deplorable condition, especially between Livingstone and Chingola,” Dr Mwanawasa said.

“It has been turned into a trap. Many lives and goods have been lost in derailments,” he said.

The President said he had earlier indicated that Government would repossess the company and give it to another investor capable of delivering expected services.

But he decided to suspend the decision after getting some advice, which he was still studying.

Dr Mwanawasa said the railway tracks and the wagons themselves were in bad shape and could possibly be described as being unfit for use.

When Government signed the agreement, the RSZ managing director made promises that the company was going to give small-scale loans to people living along the railway line to enable them venture into viable farming activities.

“But what happened to those promises? Were they proposing love to me? It is important that we find a solution to the problems facing the company,” Dr Mwanawasa said.

And the President told Ms Siliya to look into the operations of Zamtel, which needed to be reorganised for it to meaningfully contribute to the country’s development.

Dr Mwanawasa said he was against the liberalisation of the international gateway because countries that did so were performing far worse than Zambia.

He said Celtel and MTN were foreign companies that should first ask their countries of origin whether or not they had liberalised their international gateways before requesting Zambia to do the same.

“In the case of Celtel and MTN, let them begin with persuading their countries to liberalise international gateways before convincing us.

We do not want to tamper with our security,” he said.

Dr Mwanawasa also urged Ms Siliya to ensure that telecommunication services reached rural areas so that small-scale farmers could access Internet facilities and be able to communicate with their markets that were far from where they lived.

The President said the condition of some roads in the country left much to be desired because they were becoming worse.

And Dr Mwanawasa was confident that Mr Munkombwe was going to excel in his duties although some people were saying he was too old to perform his duties as minister.

The President said he was impressed with Mr Munkombwe’s performance in the MMD, as he had managed to penetrate all political parties in the province.

Dr Mwanawasa said it was important that regions benefited from the country’s economic development and would ensure that he appointed people who knew their localities well.

And the President told Mrs Chawelwa that there was a lot of work at State House and she should not complain of being over-assigned because her job demanded just that.

Dr Mwanawasa said all workers at State House were expected to work hard for them to give a good example to their colleagues in other Government departments.

Before her appointment in the new job, Mrs Chawelwa was Africa Wildlife Foundation regional internal auditor for 11 countries in East and Southern Africa.

Zambia Daily Mail

                                 

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