President Edgar Lungu’s press aide Amos Chanda says State House is concerned that opposition leaders are insinuating that the Head of State spent public resources on a boat cruise and other luxury activities on a trip to New York in 2015, when in fact not.
But Chanda could still not disqualify the dossier published by News Diggers as a fake, insisting that some entries on it were false.
Meanwhile, Chanda says the six years that the Patriotic Front has been in government is not sufficient to deal with the terrible unemployment challenges of the last 20 to 30 years.
Speaking when he featured on ZNBC’s Sunday Interview programme on Sunday night, Chanda said although Cabinet Office was investigating the authenticity of the dossier, he was certain that there was no boat cruise organised for the Zambian delegation.
When show host Gravazio Zulu asked if President Lungu was worried about the overwhelming corruption perception among government officials, Chanda said most of the allegations were false.
“We are worried when someone can just wake up and concoct lies and put them in the newspaper. It must worry us but more especially it must worry the liars who are just waking up for the express purpose of damaging the reputation of the country. They don’t realise that the Presidency is an institution. You can throw as many insults as you want at the President, but when you are seated in the hearts of heart alone, you must attempt to listen to your inner voice and say, is it logical, is this correct? So when senseless accusations like that come, it must worry you because, what kind of society are we creating?” Chanda asked.
“You have a newspaper like the [New] Vision newspaper who put up a lie, not just in their paper but they lie in the name of a respected publication like Forbes; that the President has K400 million and shares in Scania. He does not have that K400 million, he has no investments in Scania and neither did Forbes publish that. And as a decent government that we are, instead of moving a criminal procedure against them because we are talking about national values and principles. It should be sufficient when you are called out that can you retract because that is not true you do so: this is four weeks and they have not. Now, if a newspaper that must be at the center of enhancing public awareness of education is actually at the front line in a race to the bottom. These are the things offending public morals, that is unethical and ethics are part of the things that the President was talking about.”
In apparent reference to News Diggers, Chanda told Zulu that he was disappointed with the newspaper for going ahead to publish the dossier despite being informed that the President was not involved in any boat cruise.
“Government is a big thing, if a civil servant misguided by political motives decides that you malign the Head of State and you say things that he did not do; when you are a Newspaper and you have been told, this is not true then it is not true. If you are insisting then provide evidence that cargo ship number what what was hired. Most of those entries in the dossier are incorrect. But I can’t go further because there is an administrative inquiry to ascertain the authenticity of that thing. But I can tell you already that a crime has occurred because the bank did not issue that document. So this is the moral decay that we are talking about that newspapers must be at he forefront of projecting the values of truth. Not to concoct.”
Meanwhile, Chanda said the PF has not been in government that long for people to expect that it dealt with the unemployment challenges of the last 30 years.
“The six years that the PF has been in government is not sufficient time to deal with the terrible unemployment of the last 20 to 30 years, but steps are being undertaken. Yes, youth unemployment is one major problem that makes…even when government is succeeding and a few companies set up, culture being diversified and creating other opportunities in tourism, even with those exciting opportunities that come, still you see a threat staring in your face, youth unemployment is a major concern. The President is very concerned about that, which is why he wants agriculture and tourism to drive the agenda of job creation,” said Chanda.
“Government has promised and the promises were well intended. Every effort is being made and all ministers, he Minister of Youth, the Minister of Local Government and Minister of Commerce are all tasked and the President wants them to work very hard to make sure that the promises come to reality. Yes, rate of delivery is not corresponding with the promises that were made but a lot of work is being done in trying to make things better for the youth.”