WE WILL continue probing President Edgar Lungu’s personal dealings with questionable characters like Belarussan businessman Alexander Zingman because the Head of State carries Zambia’s image and uses taxpayers’ money, says UPND national youth chairperson Likando Mufalali.

In an interview, Mufalali said President Lungu ought to exercise maximum levels of restraint and caution when choosing his associates because he projected the country’s image.

“We will continue probing the dealings of the President. What are these deals that are not coming forward? We must know because the money that is being used to fist and feed these individuals is public funds, it’s taxpayers’ money. Mr Lungu is in State House at the expense of taxpayers. And for him to dine and wine publicly and take pictures like that is a clear indication of his carelessness! It must not be allowed. Accountability must come first. Transparency of the dealings of the President and those that he has appointed to do certain things on behalf of the Zambian people must be paramount. We cannot allow a situation where people with questionable characters are flying in and out and going to State House at express permission,” Mufalali said.

“The security of this country is at risk when such people come in and out of State House and yet we have a system that is supposed to prevent such. We know there is too much power at play here. We call on Mr Lungu that if he has failed to manage this country according to the rules, we must remind him that he is on taxpayers’ money.”

Mufalali wondered why people with questionable characters had easy access to the President.

“I wouldn’t want to see President Lungu seated with persons with questionable character or persons of questionable standing in society. One thing that we should know, even for those people that make clearances for people that should see President Lungu, they should bear in mind that President Lungu carries the image of this country. If visitors of questionable characters are given access to the President, or the President himself allows this, then that is a cause of concern to all of us as Zambians. We cannot afford to have our President hijacked by people of questionable standing in society or internationally,” Mufalali added.

He also questioned President Lungu’s sincerity on claims that he had stopped drinking.

“He has to account in every step of his way. He is not just himself handling his personal businesses, no. His role in this whole nation is to handle on behalf of the Zambian people, businesses and decisions that will impact positively or negatively on the Zambian people. Just a few months ago, he was saying that it’s the work of his enemies that accused him of drinking and yet now, pictures of him having wine glasses in front of him have emerged. What is this all about? It’s quite disheartening to see our leader in the name of the President go that far with Zingman and all those men with questionable characters. And it looks like the old habits die hard. For Mr Lungu, there is no work of an enemy. He might be pretending to say, ‘I have stopped drinking’ but we have seen him drinking. The Zambian people are suffering right now. The President of this Republic, Mr Lungu, should listen to that small voice that keeps on whispering to him,” urged Mufalali.

“The problem that we have is the President himself interacting with these same men of questionable standing. And then the PS Defense and the ZAF commander also follow suit as the leader is doing. The President should not be allowed to have access to criminals unless something fishy is going on behind the curtains where the President has been hijacked. The glasses in front of the President and that interaction at that level gives us a lot of questions. That is a sign of a degenerated situation that allows thugs to go through to the President and allow them to talk, dine, and eat with the President. That carries a cost of the image of Zambia as a nation and even on the image of the President. We start questioning to say, ‘what is really going on?’ And these men should not even threaten out people here. Mr Lungu and the PF must account, including the PS Sturdy Mwale, he must account for his movements. He is flying to Russia, not because of him being himself, but because of him being Permanent Secretary of Defence. He must account for our taxes, which he uses to fly. He must account for the position that he is holding on our behalf as Zambian people.”