Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda says President Edgar Lungu is not bothered with the forthcoming Constitutional Court’s ruling over his eligibility to contest the 2021 general elections.
And Chanda says Zambia’s diplomatic credentials have continued getting attractive as evidenced by the kind of international figures that have visited the country for various programmes.
Meanwhile, Chanda says there has been a slow down in debt contraction after the President gave a direction to concentrate on finishing projects that are nearing completion.
Speaking on Diamond TV’s Costa show, Sunday evening, Chanda said President Lungu had no prejudicial position.
“Whatever the outcome of the court case on the 7th (of December), the government continues to run because there is a five year mandate for the President in office until 2021. He is not bothered about anything,” Chanda said.
“He’s the President elected for five years, between now and 2021. This is not a decision that takes him to 2026, whichever the ruling, there will be a Presidential election in 2021 and the winner of the 2021 elections will rule from 2021 to 2026, so it’s just the exaggeration of issues and unnecessary portrayal of events. There is no prejudicial positions from the President. The debate has been going on, the opposition say the President is not qualified…they are talking, members of the ruling party are saying the President is qualified but outside of that, the judges will make a decision.”
And Chanda said Zambia’s image to the international community was outstanding.
“You must separate mere reckless talk and reality. In many years, the diplomatic credentials of this country have never been this high. You have seen foreign Heads of State coming in, members of the Royal Family…he’s sixth in line to the throne, he’s one of the senior members in the British Royal family. Ministers, Presidents, when we seek an appointment with a foreign Head of State, you can ask…If our diplomatic credentials are down, the Prime Minister and King of Japan would not be seeking audience with us. President Xi Jinping, just everyone…So the diplomatic credentials of this country under this President have been very high, you can ask PS Lombe or anyone in the diplomatic circles. So it is a complete falsehood trying to say the country’s diplomatic credentials are very low,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chanda said there was no reckless borrowing in President Lungu’s administration.
“There is no recklessness in terms of borrowing from China. The way Zambia borrowed in 1964, in 2006, it’s the same way it will borrow against what it thinks it can pay. Even at a time when Dr Kaunda’s government had a cash crisis and they had to print mealie- meal coupons…Zambia has never defaulted on its debts, so the strategy is to borrow in a manner where Zambia is not exposed to a possibility if default. That must be made very clear, there is no default now, there is no default being foreseen because the borrowing is within the accepted threshold. There is a slow down in debt contraction because the President has given direction to make sure that we accelerate to complete the projects that are nearing completion. To move towards concessional and zero interest loans,” he said.
Chanda also said President Lungu was committed to the fight against corruption.
“The President has made it very clear that he will not stand on an anthill and shout corruption or give directions to arrest people just because someone has made an allegation. The President is committed to institutionalising the fight against corruption, giving the investigative agencies the independence they need. There was a lot of pressure from members of the Patriotic Front who were extremely unhappy with the FIC at one point, didn’t he (the President) meet her (FIC director general Mary Tshuma) and gave her the assurance, the independence and autonomy she needed to operate? Isn’t she still in office?” he asked.
Chanda dispelled allegations that PF was not allowing the opposition to freely interact with citizens.
“We have had so many by-elections, haven’t you seen any public gathering by the opposition? The president of the UPND, Mr Hakainde Hichilema just a day ago had a big meeting at Intercontinental Hotel, did you see any interference in there? The case you are talking about in Eastern Province, how did Mr [Harry] Kalaba know that those plain clothed people, whoever it was, they were intelligence officers and police? Police officers carry their uniforms with a number, so if you are able to identify… sometimes we must move away from the realm of conjecture and be specific, this intelligence officer, how did he identify him? That incident, did it really take place? I don’t want to cast doubt, I do not know of that incident, we learnt through the Mast [Newspaper]that that incident took place, I have no details,” said Chanda.