SPECIAL Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Isaac Chipampe says those questioning President Edgar Lungu’s perceived silence on the state of the economy should know that whatever Finance Minister Dr Bwalya Ng’andu says is ultimately the Head of State’s position.
Last week, President Lungu said because there were too many [association] presidents in the country, he wanted to be called “President General”, adding that there was need for a change in the Constitution to differentiate his distinguished title from the rest.
“The Zambia National farmers Union president Mr Jervis Zimba.., I warned him that there are too many presidents in this country. So from now on, I will be referred to as ‘President General’ so that the rest of you can be presidents. I know it is an unconstitutional for now but hopefully next time we have another Bill 10 we will stick it in. I am sure the future Bill 10 will pass through (sic),” said President Lungu.
But netizens reacted negatively to these remarks, criticising the Head of State for not talking about “more important issues like the state of the economy”.
“I wonder if someone is not aware of the difficulties we are going through. Dollar, electricity, high price on commodities, how we fear cadres more than soldiers and police,” posted Izu Mwape.
Another netizen, Chaka Kelly, said the country had serious issues he could focus on.
“We have serious issues he can focus on,” commented Kelly.
Mpanji Sikaonga asked how much the Dollar was trading against the Kwacha.
“President General how much is Kwacha to Dollar?” asked Sikaonga.
Meanwhile, Lefford Mwinga said the President should deal with the weakening Kwacha and not focus on titles.
“Deal with weakening Kwacha not ivo vamene mwayamba vau general (instead of focusing on titles),” said Mwiinga.
But in an interview, Chipampe said President Lungu had been speaking on the economy through Dr Ng’angu.
“What I can say is that the Finance Minister has been very vocal about this issues. And you know that he is the right person to talk about economic matters. I think he has been forthright he has explained to the people what is happening and the direction the government is taking. The President speaks almost every time he is out, he talks to the people. The Finance Minister has explained what is supposed to be explained. Honorable Bwalya Ng’andu has been explaining the issues concerning the economy and you know that is the right office anywhere in the world. So whatever he says is the position of the President, he meets the President before he speaks,” Chipampe said.
He said President Lungu was having a light moment when he said he wanted to be referred to as President General.
“You know there have been people that have been coming, associations have been coming. For example, the Zambia Institute of Purchasing and Supply to say ‘they would like someone called a procurement general,’ then we had the Engineering Institute of Zambia which also came that they wanted an Engineer general. So he was joking after that meeting that now we are going to have a President General. He was not serious about it. He is a human being sometimes he needs a light moment,” said Chipampe.
And when asked when the President would have a press briefing, Chipampe said, “that is an internal issue. You will be informed if it is there.”