SPECIAL Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Isaac Chipampe says President Edgar Lungu is not someone who wants to be Head of State for life.
And Chipampe has accused News Diggers of trying to spin President Lungu’s remarks in which he hinted that he would leave power in 2031.
Speaking when he featured on Radio Delight Kwitonta last Thursday, President Lungu said he would be out of power in 2026 or 2031.
“Those law-breakers who want to take advantage of this season kubakanuna, kubekata! (we will arrest them!) What is important is that we want to get our moral conscience, reflect on the need for peace. Ichikalamba mutende. Ngo ulewufwaisha wu kateka limbi kuti mwaisa mu 2026 nganafumapo, limbi kuti mwaisa mu 2031 but nga mulefwaya uku onaula ichalo kwikata. (What is important is peace. If you really want to have the position of President, you will come in 2026 when I will be out of power or 2031, but if you want to destroy the country, you will be arrested!),” said President Lungu.
But speaking when he featured on Hot FM’s Red Hot Breakfast show, Tuesday, Chipampe argued that the President was a democrat who believed in democratic values, adding that News Diggers tried to spin what the Head of State said last Thursday on Radio Delight Kwitonta.
“The President is a democrat and he believes in democratic values. He respects the Constitution and he swore to respect the Constitution. He is not going to depart from that value. The President is confident that he is going to win the elections in 2026 so if the media is trying to spin what the President said, then you may as well…As somebody said on this programme, go and ask the Diggers! themselves what they are trying to achieve,” Chipampe said.
“His term ends in 2026 if he wins the elections this year, and he is very confident that he is taking the elections this year that is why he is talking about 2026. But if some people are talking about 2031 and so forth, I think they are trying to brand the President as somebody who doesn’t believe in democratic ideals. I can assure you that the media, which is slanted against the ruling party and the President, are going to spin most of the things that will be said by the President.”
When asked what his office was doing to engage News Diggers! Chipampe complained that the news media tended to distort everything.
“I think I have been engaging the media. I speak to the Diggers! reporters almost everyday, they call me. But what I have noticed is that the media first want to publish, once they distort everything, they do damage, then they call me. I think that is not how we should be dealing with each other. I have been to the Hot FM studios, I have been to The Mast so we don’t have any barrier media,” Chipampe replied.
And when asked if there could be audio evidence to clarify President Lungu’s remarks, he said the Head of State didn’t want to be President for life.
“Everyone in Zambia knows that the President wouldn’t have that set of mind. He is focused on finishing his term and going for the second term. So, even engaging the Diggers! it could be a waste of time for lack of a better term, they know themselves. I am refuting. I am talking about what the President believes in. I meet him everyday and I know what he thinks about. He is not one person who wants to be President for life and I think no one is above the law and the President has always said he is not above the law,” he replied.
Meanwhile, Chipampe insisted that there was a level-playing field in the country ahead of the August 12 polls.
“There is already a level-playing field; we have seen so much said by the opposition parties in the media, everyone is allowed to speak. I haven’t heard any intimidation in terms of what people are saying, even if it is hurtful. I think President Lungu really allows people to debate over issues. So, I think the level-playing field is there and if some parties feel it is not there, there are institutions that are there where they can petition,” said Chipampe.