MMD president Nevers Mumba says President Edgar Lungu must consider slowing down his various trips around the country in view of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic which has continued to take more Zambian lives.

President Lungu yesterday travelled for a three-day working visit to the Copperbelt to inspect developmental projects.

In an interview, Mumba, however, said that President Lungu must be in Lusaka to ensure that regulations his own government had put in place were observed.

“I think the leadership quality on the African continent is going to be determined by how responsibly each president fights the pandemic. The reason we have spiking numbers in our country is because this government has demonstrated that this virus is not an issue, and I did mention that we needed to take stringent measures that demonstrates to the Zambian people that this a deadly virus, locking down the country and restricting the movements of everybody until this virus was contained. The PF continued to hold meetings and defied all the regulations that they had set. Now, the second wave has come the President must lead by example by staying in Lusaka and insisting that the regulations that he has put in place are observed. If that is not done…There is no one who is above the other in terms of regulations that there is COVID,” Mumba said.

“The President must demonstrate that this virus is serious. Right now, if he continues to go around the country, he is going to devastate the health sector because we will not be able to manage this pandemic if it comes with full force. The Ministry of Health itself is a collapsed Ministry, rotten with corruption. It is not a working department and once it is overloaded by the cases, we will be in big trouble as a country. The President must stay away from any kind of activities that encourage Zambians to continue to disobey the regulations that have been set by government. We don’t understand how important this trip is, but in the midst of this pandemic, we do not think that it is a well-informed trip and is not sending a good message to the Zambian people. We are extremely concerned at the behaviour of this government.”

And he urged the Head of State to slow down his movements.

“We are just praying that the President has sent a message ahead of time that he will not be welcomed by crowds if they really mean well and care for Zambians. The cadres must understand that if they do not protect themselves, they will die, but politics will remain. This thing happened in the United States with (outgoing President) Donald Trump when everyone was observing the regulations, he continued to hold meetings, together with his staff and they started to get sick, even the people around the President got infected by COVID. We are exposing the staff of the President to this pandemic, we are going to endanger the lives of security wings, we are going to endanger the lives of the cadres, who are going to come to support the President and some people will die as a result of this trip,” said Mumba.

“The question is that, is it necessary? I think the President must reconsider every step he takes in light of the lives of the people. We must have consideration for the Zambian people. We are not asking for too much when we say, ‘Mr President, slow down and observe this pandemic and practice what you preach…’ That is the only way the Zambians are going to be protected against this pandemic.”