United Progressive Party (UPP) spokesperson Kizito Mutangwa Mukuka says party president Saviour Chishimba has gone on a well-deserved one-year sabbatical leave to reflect on his personal life, family and corporate affairs, away political rhetoric.

Mukuka who rebuked some sections of the media for reporting that Chishimba ‘had switched off his party’ said, the president would be available for national duties whenever need arose.

“Comrades in the new struggle; We, in the United Progressive People (UPP), are deeply saddened that some sections of the media have gone miles, abandoned their core duty of informing the public professionally on very clear issues such as president Saviour Chishimba’s one-year political sabbatical leave. A sabbatical leave is simply a period that an employee or any person who is affiliated to an organisation goes on a normal paid leave, usually for a year, to accomplish specific assignments. It is, therefore, perturbing to grossly misconstrue a very clear statement. The Party President made it unequivocal that he will occasionally be available for national duties whenever need arises. Further, as you all may be aware, the President was on a study tour in Israel for over three months and upon his return the party presented him to Zambians under the Lusaka ‘SAVE’ Zambia mayoral campaign of which he graciously humbled himself, out of love of the country, to accept the initiative for the purposes of attempting to save the country from an imminent economic recession,” Mutangwa stated.

“Under the initiative, the country would have, through Lusaka, received US$5 billion injection in alternative roads and another US$2 billion in modernising houses in urban compounds. There are many credible investors who are ready to invest in Zambia on condition that their investments are secure under leaders of integrity with a guaranteed rule of law. In this context, the Party President must be commended for his gallantry and courage. He has been illegally imprisoned before for speaking for the voiceless. He continues to stand firmly on many issues that affect Zambians. We must learn to appreciate and encourage patriotic leaders. UPP’s commitment to the struggle for the birthing of a prosperous corruption free New Zambia is unshakable. Whereas President Saviour Chishimba continues to be the moral leader of our country, UPP is an entity that belongs to its general membership.”

He said the functionaries would remain operational and that an acting party president would be announced soon.

“May I, therefore, take this opportunity to inform all our members and the general public that other than just being a politician, Dr Chishimba has a private life just like anybody else. He is an authority not only in Zambia, but also internationally. He is a leading researcher and consultant who has served in multinational agencies before as overall head at country and regional levels. He also leads his own group of companies. During his well-deserved sabbatical, he will act on personal, family and corporate affairs away from political rhetoric. Although, he will be available to attend to party issues, UPP functionaries shall remain operational and, as usual, the acting Party President will be announced soon. Therefore, the story circulating on social media suggesting that Dr Savior Chishimba has ‘Switched off’ his political party UPP is not only misleading but also fake and must be treated with the contempt it deserves. We urge individuals and media houses to seek official clarifications on such matters from my office before embarrassing themselves with false publications,” stated Mutangwa.