I DIDN’T take the Ministry of Agriculture on holiday, Dora Siliya has told critics.

There has been uproar on social media after Siliya’s picture with former heavy weight boxing champion Mike Tyson emerged on social media.

The pandemonium raged on when pictures of Siliya with Namibian President Hage Geingob’s former son-in-law Mark Ode Mubalama emerged, with a speculative story that the two were in a relationship.

In an exclusive interview with News Diggers, Mubalama claimed that he was no longer married to the Namibian President’s daughter, adding that they had irreconcilable differences a year after their colourful wedding. He said his heart was now with Siliya and he wanted to marry her.

When contacted, Siliya said Mubalama’s explanation was true and that she shared the same feelings with him.

She said she could not say much about it but confirmed that the two were together.

“You can also quote what Mark has told you, that is the truth. We are together and that’s all I can say,” Siliya said.

However, at a media briefing in Lusaka today January 10, 2017, Siliya said it was unacceptable for people to attack her over her decision to go on a two-week vacation because her absence did not halt the operations of her ministry. Siliya said during her vacation, all ministerial duties were ably handled by her Livestock and Fisheries counterpart Michael Katambo.

“It is not like when the Minister is out then the Ministry ceases to exist. It is the Ministry of Agriculture and not the Ministry of Dora Siliya, I didn’t carry the whole Ministry with me on holiday,” Siliya said. “The Ministry has a Permanent Secretary and there are also directors there who can perform certain functions and if the appointing authority feels the need to appoint someone to act as the case was with Hon. Katambo, he will appoint so that government continues to function.”

Siliya also rubbished accusations that she went to the U.S on holiday with a married man based in Namibia who is at the centre of marital dispute with his wife, daughter of Namibian President.

“We are in the middle of a serious outbreak of pests eating our maize fields and people want to start discussing trivial issues? Let us get serious as Zambians,” said Siliya.

Siliya also Zambians that there would be food security despite the outbreak of the army worms and the stalk borer which she said had only affected 10 percent of the country’s maize output.