Africa

Nigeria independence: Rupiah leaves for Nigeria

President BandaPRESIDENT Rupiah Banda today left for Nigeria to attend that country’s 50th independence celebrations tomorrow.

And President Banda has said he was hopeful that a solution would be found to end the countrywide strike by the Resident Doctors as he travels.

His trip follows an invitation by the Nigerian leader Goodluck Jonathan to be his special guest at the ceremony.

The President left at exactly 09:00 hrs aboard the presidential Challenger plane.

President Banda was accompanied by other senior government officials.

An advance party, comprising of businessmen who are scheduled to meet their Nigerian counterparts left yesterday aboard a chartered plane.

And addressing journalists shortly before departure President Banda explained that he decided to reshuffle the Cabinet and particularly make a change at the Ministry of Agriculture because he felt that a change at the ministry would make operations more efficient.

“I just feel that I should realign my colleagues so that I put them in a more appropriate position, and as you know the issues of maize, maize payments and maize movements, safety is very important now. So my feeling is that a rearrangement will make it more efficient,” President Banda said.

Commenting on the strike action by the resident Doctors countrywide President Banda said that there were meetings being held among interested parties and that he was hopeful that a solution would be arrived at.

“They are having a meeting today. As a matter of fact I have just got a report from the Secretary to the Cabinet, they were meeting yesterday with the Ministry of Health. I am sure that matters will be resolved. We will sit down and find a solution. It’s better not to comment before they meet,” he said.

Meanwhile President Banda says that government was soon going to make a decision regarding the constitutional review process.

“The report has been presented to us the leaders of NCC and we are going to make a decision and we will let you know the way forward,” said President Banda.

Prior to his departure, President Banda took some time in the Presidential lounge at the airport to chat to his grandson, Anthony Banda, who had just returned from Spain where he has signed a professional contract with Spanish club Deportivo.

Anthony is a football player of the Zambia under 20 team and before his latest contract played a midfielder of Spanish 2nd division team Tontedra.

Anthony joined the Vice-President George Kunda, service chiefs and senior governmental official in seeing off the President.

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