President Edgar Lungu says he does not understand how people expect him to develop the country when they are asking him to sit in Lusaka and adhere to the austerity measures being implemented by government.

And President Lungu says he will decide whether or not to run for a third term in the 2021 Presidential and General elections once his second term of office comes to an end in two years’ time.

Speaking upon arrival at Kasama Airport in Northern Province where he travelled for a two-day working visit, Thursday, President Lungu said he expected to be excused from the austerity measures because his job required him to move around the country to inspect works.

“Ilyo nachilafuma ku Lusaka, someone was on radio saying ‘Lungu kuli ama austerity measure taufwile ukwendauka’. [But I wondered to myself and said] ‘austerity measures naba President [must be affected] sure? Ico njishile kuno kumona ubuyantanshi buli shani, ifileshupa fili shani pakweba ati fyendel ifintu (When I was coming here from Lusaka, I head someone on radio saying there are austerity measure, Lungu must sto travelling. The reason why I am here is to check on how the developmental agenda is progressing, and what else is affecting you so that things can advance for the better),” President Lungu said.

“But they are saying ‘no we have austerity measures’, someone was on radio saying ‘President Lungu is coming here when we have austerity measures’ but if I am not moving to see what’s going on and I am just seated in Lusaka listening to reports… (sighs)… awe balentinafye sana, ndebwela mu 2021 (no, I think they are just scared of me. But I am coming back in 2021).”

Meanwhile, President Lungu who called on his party members to accept the defection of former UPND vice-president GBM, said those that were aspiring for leadership needed to respect tenures of office.

“We should unite as a party and continue working with the government, even the last time I came here I talked about this. The Kasama Mayor and DC, the MP for Kasama please unite and work together. What’s so hard about working together? Elections are coming in 2021, if you are ambitious, show your ambition by working hard and uniting people then leadership will come eventually. I know what’s going on in Kasama, GBM and his friends have come to join us from UPND, you welcomed them but you haven’t brought them into the family of PF, what is going on?” President Lungu asked.

“Namwishiba, ngachakweba ati mulechusha abantu tabakatupele ishuko lyakutungulula. (You know what? If you are distancing yourselves from people, they will not entrust us with leadership again. Bring people to PF. Even those that are leaving UPND know very well that in PF we work together, but you are pushing them away and blocking them. But they say ‘my father’s house has many rooms, even those that leave will still find a place to stay when they return’. So what are you scared of? Some people are just scared [for their positions], but there is only one leader at a time.”

He also said he would decide whether or not to run for a third term of office once his current mandate expires.

“Right now we have the MP, we have the DC, and we have the Mayor. When their time comes to an end, they will consider whether they want to stand again or not, to renew their mandate or not. Similarly, I am President, when my time comes to go, I will decide whether I want to go for a third mandate or not. But I am not fearing you people because of the fact that you are ambitious, being ambitious is very normal, but it’s how you manage your ambition which matters. So I am praying that the heart and spirit of unity that late President Michael Sata left in PF comes back here in Kasama. Mr Sata welcomed everyone to work with him, but what’s so hard with you here? I feel so sorry for some of you aspiring for positions because you will lose these positions. If you are too selfish, you cannot work with people. So I want to appeal to you MPs, 2021 is still far, if you have wronged anyone, make peace with people or they will not vote for you again. If you want to come back in 2021, work with people,” said President Lungu.

After addressing party members at the airport, President Lungu proceeded to commission the Mungwi District Hospital that had been constructed at a total cost of K13 million. The President announced that the newly constructed hospital would carter for a population of more than 200,000 people from within Mungwi and surrounding areas.

President Lungu also called on Chiefs in Northern Province to support his government.