State House has turned down a request by Voice of America’s Straight Talk Africa presenter Shaka Ssali to interview President Edgar Lungu.

In an interview with News Diggers! Ssali said he was eager to interview President Lungu anywhere, anytime over Zambia’s state of affairs, even though he did not succeed on his just ended trip to Lusaka.

“We are still waiting for our request to be granted,” said Ssali on Sunday, hours before his departure back to Washington DC.

“We are happy to interview him anytime, now or in future when he is available. That is all I can say. I cannot comment any further than that.”

An official who was part of the organising team of Ssali’s crew disclosed that State House claimed President Lungu was unreachable in the National Park in Mfuwe where he went for a holiday.

“First they said there was need for a formal request on headed paper from Voice of America. So Shaka Ssali called Washington and had the letter sent. Then State House said the letter was not signed [by an assigning editor], again he called Washington to do that and the letter was sent back; only to be told that the President is unreachable,” the official said.

“It was strange to hear that the commander-in-chief of the armed forces was unreachable, but within the country. It was difficult to believe that, because Shaka Ssali even told Amos Chanda that he was ready to charter a plane and follow the President where he was, but that was not allowed. It seems the presidency has decided to make it impossible for the interview to take place. For whatever reason, they are uncomfortable to be interviewed. But he (Ssali) managed to interview other stakeholder including HH (Hakainde Hichilema).”

President Lungu went on vacation in Mfuwe last week and is only expected back in Lusaka today or tomorrow.