FORMER Minister of Transport and Communications William Harrington has challenged President Edgar Lungu to hold a press conference as opposed to merely addressing the nation through Parliament because not doing so is creating a perception that he is afraid to face the media.
In an interview with News Diggers!, Harrington appealed to the Head of State to emulate his predecessors who held press conferences at regular intervals.
He said the media needed to be given an opportunity to ask President Lungu questions and clarify other issues of concern to the people.
“I am challenging President Edgar Lungu to hold a press conference to address the media instead of the usual habit of going to Parliament to address the nation. [This is] because, it doesn’t afford the media an opportunity to ask him questions on points of clarification. I know people have questions which you would like him [to answer]. All his predecessors, starting from the first Republican President [Dr Kenneth Kaunda], would hold a press conference at regular intervals as opposed to merely addressing Parliament,” Harrington said.
“There are a lot of issues which you [the media] would want him to address which he may not address in Parliament but in a press conference, you would be able to challenge him and ask him a lot of questions depending on burning issues. So whilst an address to Parliament is only good for purposes of debates by our representatives, it does not give the forth estate, the media, chance to interact with him on the occasion. We want him to face the media [so that] we who are not in Parliament can also ask the media to ask him about this and that. He is creating a perception that he is fearing to face the media.”
He further said by failing to hold press conferences, the President was creating an unfortunate perception that he did not have answers to the many challenges that the nation was currently facing.
“By failing, ignoring or refusing to hold press conferences, the President is creating an unfortunate perception that he does not have answers to the many challenges that the nation is facing currently. And President Lungu will be leaving a sad legacy if he continues to fail to hold press conferences,” said Harrington.