Proposed physician general’s office will be discriminatory

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The suggestion by the Zambia Medical Association to establish an office of the physician general to thoroughly scrutinize the health of presidential aspirants has received diverse reactions.

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The Zambian Voice said it was unfair for the Zambia Medical Association to suggest that the office of the physician general should be established to thoroughly exam the health of presidential hopefuls.

Zambian Voice executive director Chilufya Tayali told ZANIS that such suggestions were unfair especially in this era of HIV/AIDS where some ailments were not supposed to be disclosed to the public unless the person suffering from it sees it fit.

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Mr. Tayali said presidential aspirants attract attention from the public because of the nature of the top job.

He further stated that disqualifying the presidential candidates on the basis of ill health will be as good as dragging their health matters in public domain.

"We do not support that move because anyone can die any time, whether fit or sick and people are free to exercise their democratic right of aspiring for presidency if they feel they are fit to deliver," he said.

Mr. Tayali alleged that the Zambia Medical Association’s proposal was beyond its jurisdiction.

He said the nation should focus on whether the candidate was capable of leading the country effectively because no one has power over life.

But the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) has said the suggestion was progressive because the country has been subjected to mental, depression and physiological turmoil by losing two sitting presidents in a space of six years.

FODEP executive director Macdonald Chipenzi said if the office of the physician general was formed, it should follow proper operational mechanisms and be allowed to operate without influence from government.

Mr. Chipenzi suggested that the physician general should be engaged through an independent committee and ratified by parliament so that the person entrusted to take up the challenge does not operate in fear.

"If the physician general is autonomous from interference, the death of sitting presidents can be avoided. These problems of two extra-ordinary presidential elections have been created two times because government usually handles the health of the republican presidents in secrecy," he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Chipenzi has commended the Patriotic Front (PF) for resolving their intra party wrangles.

He stated that if the division was not solved, it would have had a negative bearing on the party’s future.

He has also called on political parties not to use derogatory remarks during campaigns.

Zambia lost two sitting Presidents in a space of six years. President Levy Mwanawasa died in office in 2008 after ruling for seven years while President Michael Sata died this year after three of being in office.

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