PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has tried his best to ensure that Zambia’s economy thrives, but some people do not want the country to succeed economically, says Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Isaac Chipampe.

Last week, President Lungu said while people were saying the economy was not booming, economic activities had indicated that there was money in the economy and that people were living well.

The Head of State had cited the huge volumes of vehicles on the highways as an indicator that the local economy was doing well during the commissioning of the Munali Flyover Bridge.

But in an interview, Chipampe, argued that the President was quoted out of context.

“I think he didn’t say that, he was quoted out of context, as usual, by yourselves. He was not saying because of cars. There are a lot of factors that make you determine whether the economy is booming and, of course, we all know there is COVID, which has impacted economies. But in the comparative, Zambia in this situation we find ourselves in, the world, not only Zambia, has tried, this government has tried. Because you can imagine if we had closed ourselves, what would have happened? And this President said, ‘no, we can’t close ourselves. We are landlocked and we depend on other countries, just like other countries. So, if we closed ourselves as a landlocked country, that would be a disaster for us.’ At least there are economic activities happening,” Chipampe explained.

“We see a lot of construction going on; those are determinants that something is happening in that country. If you go to other countries, you find it worse than it is in Zambia. So under the circumstances, this government has really tried under President Lungu. Although ourselves we don’t see that, we are always on the negative side. But I can tell you that we have tried under the circumstances; it could have been worse! Let us be patriotic and come out of this. Everybody knows that economies have been impacted and if the President is the first one to say that, ‘no, Zambia’s economy is terrible and so forth’ who is going to…That will be the end of the country. The President should be the first one to blow the trumpet that, ‘we are doing well.’ When he says that, people start saying, ‘no, how can he say that when people are starving?’ Tell me which country where people don’t starve, any country you find people are struggling!”

And Chipampe alleged that there were some stakeholders within Zambia that did not want the economy to succeed.

“That is why the President is saying, ‘let us work hard in whatever we are doing.’ There are people who don’t even want Zambia to succeed economically, who want everything to fail obviously because they want to be in leadership. That is why the President always says, ‘no one will praise you as long as you are in opposition.’ So, you blow your own trumpet, work hard and blow your own trumpet,” he said.

When asked about President Lungu’s relations with Belarusian businessman Aleksandr Zingman, who was arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for alleged arms dealing activities, Chipampe said that State House would not comment on the matter.

“We are not going to comment on it. We leave it to the Diggers! to continue with their agenda. There are a lot of topics to comment about…Certainly that is not one of them,” replied Chipampe.

Speaking during the commissioning of Munali Flyover Bridge, which is under the Lusaka City Decongestion project, President Lungu said that the project was necessitated by the increased congestion in Lusaka arising from the increased number of vehicles on the road, which meant that people were living well.

“The Patriotic Front government has continued to facilitate the massive development of infrastructure across the country. Last year, in August and October, we opened to the public two flyover bridges under the Lusaka City Decongestion project at Makeni and Arcades, respectively. Today, we bear witness to the opening of yet another bridge under the same project here at Munali. This is, indeed, unprecedented and the benefits of this infrastructure are for the people of Zambia. I remain grateful to the people and government of India for their continued partnership and support in changing the lives of the Zambian people,” said President Lungu last Thursday.

“We have made huge strides in infrastructural development, yet this is only the beginning. As we transform the face of Lusaka, our country’s capital city and major economic hub, I wish to assure you that we will not leave the rest of our towns, whether urban or rural, behind. Much as we expect positive spill-over effects of development in Lusaka to other parts of the country, we still prioritise their growth and will continue to foster integrated development. The significance of the Lusaka Decongestion Project to resolving the traffic problem in Lusaka cannot be overemphasised. This project was necessitated by increased congestion in Lusaka arising from increased number of vehicles on the roads. When you talk of increased numbers of vehicles on the road, it reminds us of one thing, the economy. People will tell you the economy is not booming, yet activities which indicate that there is money in the economy and people are living well are there for all to see. This is the contradiction of our political activity where you see white you insist it’s black.”