ZAMBIANS must continue working hard to maintain economic productivity because even President Edgar Lungu has carried on despite the COVID-19 pandemic, says Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Isaac Chipampe.

And Chipampe says people can brand President Lungu’s working visits as campaigns if they like but they have to understand that as Head of State, he has a duty to continue working for the people of Zambia.

In an interview, Chipampe urged Zambians to maintain a hard working attitude even amid the devastating pandemic because the Head of State had carried on working, while observing COVID-19 health guidelines.

“The President has always said, even as recently as Sunday, he was talking about work; that we should not just close ourselves because there is COVID-19. Yes, COVID-19 is a pandemic and it’s deadly, but we have to work, and we have to work very hard. When he says that, he doesn’t just mean you and me, he means all of us, including himself. What the President is doing is working and what he has emphasised is that while you are working, you observe the guidelines. He has emphasised that you should wear masks, even yesterday (Monday), he was talking about wearing masks, social distancing and sanitising and all those health guidelines,” Chipampe said.

“He is telling you that if you are found positive and you are sent home, you should not just stay at home and cover yourself with the beddings, no, you have to do some work like the way you are doing right now, whether you are at home or in the newsroom. So, that is what he is promoting and I think he has been one of the Presidents that has tried to motivate people to work in this crisis we are in. If he is the first person to tell people to shut their doors, close themselves from the world because of COVID-19, then the whole country will just be dead! What will happen to production? What will happen to productivity? What will happen to GDP? If all of us just say, ‘there is COVID, let us stay at home.’ What will happen to the economy of the country? So, that is the position.”

And Chipampe said President Lungu would not be swayed by stakeholders who politicised his trips as merely being campaigns, adding that stakeholders should accept that the Head of State was the incumbent and that he had to continue working.

“The President has to meet his people; the President has to see how projects are going; the President has to see for himself how people are living and he is not going to stop that because of an election year. The President will continue doing that because whatever he does officially is official work. So, he has to continue working whether it is 2021 or 2019 or 2022, the President has to work. People must accept that he is the incumbent and he has to continue working, he shouldn’t shy away from work just because it is an election year. Whether they call it campaigning, it is up to them, the fact is that the President is in office and he has to continue working,” said Chipampe.