February 5, 2004

IMF policies will aggravate poverty situation, Kaunda says

IMF and World Bank policies will send poverty stricken Zambians faster to their graves, said Dr. Kenneth Kaunda. In his solidarity message to the Catholic Sisters' statement on the country's economic and social situation, Dr. Kaunda said the IMF and World Bank's directives to the Zambian government to reduce funding for education and health sectors, would deprive Zambians of development. "If at our time of leadership we listened to IMF, we couldn't have managed to record positive results in education, mining, health and other critical sectors," Dr. Kaunda said. "How do you expect Zambians to benefit from the IMF and World Bank directives when they are denied education and health services?" "When you look at the reasons why HIV/AIDS is rampant in Sub-Saharan Africa, it is poverty. Where a patient eats well, he or she will live longer and this is not the case in our country. Many of our people are at risk of being sent to their graves quickly," Dr. Kaunda said. "Look at the Northern Hemisphere because they eat well, HIV/AIDS is not rampant." He furthermore let know that if Zambia continues to have harsh conditions of living, AIDS will claim lives of its citizens quickly. He also expressed his disappointment with former president Chiluba's government for abolishing the co-operative societies. Accordingly Kaunda said that the co-operative movement could have acted as an effective instrument to mitigate the HIV/AIDS effects.
The former president also noticed that the Zambia Association of Sisterhoods were correct in observing that the appalling deteriorating of quality education in the country had placed the future of children at stake. He wondered why IMF had directed the government to stop employing teachers when there was serious shortage of teachers in the rural areas. "In our time, we had between seven and 13 teachers at a rural school, but today we have situation where a headmaster and his wife take care of more 250 pupils," he said. "The sisters are right to observe that education and health sectors have collapsed in our country."
For Kaunda it was moreover also painful to see how the feeder roads had been left unattended to by government. "It is sad because we built those roads for the benefit of the people. Sadly they are all gone. It is painful thing." Furthermore, the ex-president noted that the rate at which accidents were occurring in the country was distressing. Hence, the current road safety situation in Zambia called for a vigorous response from road safety experts and all other concerned individuals and institution. Dr. Kaunda also called upon the business community to assist in the distribution of the books to enable children have access to the road safety guide and commended government for reinforcing laws that prevented overloading and computerisation of the Road Traffic Commission. (The Post, Lusaka)


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