President Edgar Lungu’s Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda says the Head of State can be within Zambia but still designate another person to act on his behalf.

And Chanda has revealed that President Lungu will take another vacation within this festive season, but hastened to add that he is well.

Meanwhile, Chanda has dispelled rumours that President Lungu has made reshuffles to his Cabinet, saying it’s still intact.

Speaking during an impromptu ZNBC Special Interview programme, Tuesday, Chanda insisted that President Lungu was on a short vacation within the country and returned to work on Monday.

He disclosed that the Head of State had signed an Instrument designating Defence Minister Davies Chama to act as President.

“The President was on short vacation. He completed that short vacation and returned to work yesterday (Monday), about 14:00 hours. So, he will resume duties. By operation of the law, if the President is out of the country, he’s on leave, for any other reason he’s unable to perform those functions, he will sign an instrument of designation to allow the person appointed, to act as President to discharge those functions. In this case, the President signed an instrument designating Honourable Davies Chama, Defence Minister, to act as President,” Chanda explained.

“The President was in the country, he was on leave, the Vice-President (Inonge Wina) was out of the country, therefore, another person had to be designated. Without that absence of the Vice-President, by operation of the law, she takes over automatically.”

Asked by his host, Franklin Tembo Jnr. whether Chama’s acting suggested that something was wrong as he could not act if the President was in the country, Chanda insisted that there was absolutely nothing wrong.

He reiterated that the President could be within the country, but designate another person to act.

“There’s absolutely nothing…this kind of rumour mongering that makes people think that way. You and I grew up believing that if Dr Kaunda was not in office, the Chief Justice became President. There was never a thing like that. The President can be within the country and the Vice-President will act. If the Vice-President is not there, anyone other person will act. So, there is nothing. The President, yes, was in the country and Hon. Davies Mwila (Chama) was acting President,” Chanda said.

And Chanda announced that President Lungu would again take another vacation within the course of this festive season.

“The President will again take leave within the course of this festive season. Her Honour, the Vice-President, should she be available, she will act as President. If she will not be available, the President will sign an instrument, designating another person to act as President. That vacation he will take, I can tell you, will still be within the country and another person will act as President. The first round of his vacation, as planned by State House, has been undertaken. In between, he has a State visit to Japan, before or after, he will take another vacation. So, the President is well, he will take leave as it is designated,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chanda also dispelled rumours that President Lungu had made reshuffles to Cabinet.

“It’s this culture of rumour mongering and peddling false information, which brings me to the point that the President has not made any changes to Cabinet! He has not reshuffled any Minister, the government is intact. If he wants, he can make Cabinet from where he was in South Luangwa. If he wants, he can make it in State House. He can announce any time, there is no standing order that designates when to announce when the President is out,” he said.

Asked again whether the status of some of President Lungu’s associates, who were making appearances at public functions should be questioned, Chanda responded by asking whether a Republican President can’t have friends.

“Can’t the President have friends? If the President has friends when he assumes power, should those friends just disappear in thin air? For instance, when there is a State function, the President and the First Lady have a guest. A standard one. That guest list changes. When the new President comes and another one goes, they will invite their friends,” he responded.

But when Tembo insisted some of the suggestions indicate that they are here for dubious means; some don’t have credibility, Chanda said it was just malice as President Lungu’s friends had no criminal record.

“Again that is just malice! If somebody is not a convict, what stigma do you want to place on that person in order for the President to move away from them? What lack of credibility? A friend is a friend. If he has no criminal record, that friend will be cleared. State House will not clear anyone with a criminal record to see the President. All the people around the President do not have criminal records so no one is secluded,” argued Chanda.