PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu should desist from addressing the nation only at mandatory and academic platforms because it shows lack of responsibility, says People’s Alliance for Change (PAC) president Andyford Banda.

President Edgar Lungu is this Friday expected to address the nation through Parliament on National Values and Principles.

In an interview, Banda, however, said President Lungu’s failure to address the nation during extremely difficult challenges, but only relying on mandatory platforms to communicate to Zambians, was an indication that he lacked seriousness and responsibility as Head of State.

“The point is that, as a country, we have seen a lot of challenges; we don’t seem to see the President addressing the issue of gassing in the national address because this issue should have been addressed earlier. We believe that the failure of the President to address the issue is a failure to take responsibility for what is going on in this country. The mandatory address cannot be used as a platform of the President to address a lot of challenges that the country is facing,” Banda argued.

He said President Lungu should address the nation on a regular basis.

“The President must time and again address the nation on a number of issues, the issue of lawlessness, gassing, mob injustice that has killed over 50 people; we talk about the economy, which is on its bended knees right now; we talk about the debt, which keeps on increasing and a lot of challenges. We hope that, for once, the President should change the tone. The President should not think that when going to Parliament, that is when he is going to address the nation on the issues that are facing this country. The President must take responsibility time and again to address the nation as a way of demonstrating leadership at the right time when things are happening,” Banda said.

“He should also explain to the nation why he is quiet on the many challenges the country is facing. In our country, where 50 people have died over lawlessness and insecurity in the country, we have not seen the President say anything. If the President is quiet, how should we feel safe? For me, the biggest part of the speech should be why he has been quiet on a number of challenges that the country has been facing and what assurances is he going to give so that going forward, he is going to act on things as they come.”

He said this year’s address should not be taken seriously as it is likely to be a mere academic exercise.

“That platform, which is mandatory by law, I cannot take him seriously; it is just an academic issue and he will be forced to say what he needs to talk about. He should address things as they happen. This address on National Values is an academic address; we believe that it was actually unnecessary for this address to be introduced. This address is like the same Christian nation, which is academic. Right now, as we speak, people are writing a speech for him, meaning that it is not coming out from his heart, it is coming out from what people have written for him,” argued Banda.

“We know that all this gassing is going to come out from the speech; for us, we are not going to take it seriously because it is just mandatory; it is law. So, how [are] we expected to take him seriously when he is being forced by law? For us, we are not going to take whatever he is going to say seriously. For us to take him seriously, he should address the nation when things are happening; when people expect him to address the nation.”

President Lungu has so far held only three press conferences since being elected twice in 2015 and 2016, the latest briefing being on November 8, last year, at State House.