In this audio, Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba says it is not right to assume that President Edgar Lungu enjoys globetrotting because he squeezes himself in hotels abroad, leaving the comfort of State House and his family.
And Kalaba says it is every Zambian’s responsibility to speak good about the country.
Speaking when he featured on ZNBC’s Government Forum yesterday, Kalaba insisted that President Lungu’s trips were beneficial because that was the only way Zambia could be heard at international platforms.
‘If you hear anybody come and tell you that the President is globetrotting and he is investing in worthless trips then just know that they are now engaging in a futile discussion because I think there should come a time in the life of a nation that we should go beyond the political divide, we should go beyond just talking for the sake of it. A President will not leave his house, just like you Chitalu Chilufya will not leave the comfort of your own house to go and sleep at a neighbours house. There is no comfort in there. He goes into a hotel room, squeezed and he has left the comfort of his house where he has got the comfort of space to mingle and interact with his own family and [people say] he likes gallivanting, it is not true,” Kalaba said.
“Every trip that the President undertakes is extremely strategic. Remember that we are in the economic diplomacy era, every trip that he undertakes is critical.”
Take a listen:
Kalaba said most people condemned the Head of State’s trips because they did not understand the intricacies of how government obtained funding for vital projects.
“The President recently attended the Africa Arab Summit, from there, the Arab Bank for economic development in Africa gave Zambia approximately about $10 million dollars, $10 million just from one trip that the President went to attend to invest in the water reticulation for our country. It is things like that which our people might not know because sometimes when these signings are done, we never appreciate the intricacies of what really took place,” he said.
Kalaba also said there were specific meetings where as Foreign Affairs Minister, he could not be accorded a chance to speak on behalf of the President.
“Imagine in a meeting of over forty Heads of States, each president will speak and the rest of us will be told to submit written submissions, simply because we are not represented by the President ,” Kalaba said.
Kalaba also said President Lungu had significantly cut down the numbers of those in his entourage as an austerity measure.
And Kalaba said it was every citizen’s responsibility to speak good about the country.
“It is the responsibility of every Zambian who goes out of Zambia to speak good about the country. I know that of late, we have seen this propensity of some of our citizens to go and speak bad about Zambia so that they can attract wild screaming headlines. But to who’s advantage is that statement you are making? Definitely not in the interest of Zambia so it is very important that Zambians living in the diaspora are the number one, it is not just that 10 or few officers who are at the embassy that they should wait for. It is every Zambian’s responsibility,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kalaba admitted that there was a lot of misappropriation of funds by some foreign missions abroad but that it was being addressed by ensuring that all accountants deployed into Foreign Service were staff from the Ministry of Finance.
“We have since changed the criteria of deployment of accountants, they are all from the Ministry of Finance and so far the books in general are clean compared to the previous scenario. We also receive quarterly reports from the missions to account for their efficiency and relevance,” said Kalaba.