CHIEF Government Spokesperson Chushi Kasanda says all former presidents and political parties were invited to the National Day of Prayer and Fasting.
Commenting on former works and supply minister Sylvia Chalikosa’s remarks that former president Edgar Lungu was not invited by the State to the national prayers, Kasanda said it was not true.
“It is very untrue. Those were national prayers, meaning they were countrywide prayers and all political parties were invited for the day of National Prayer. For those that did not come to the day of Fasting and National Prayer, it was their wish. It was voluntary, it was not compulsory at all. So that is very untrue, all political parties were invited and all former heads of state were invited,” Kasanda said.
When asked to comment on complaints by stakeholders that ZNBC only covered government activities, Kasanda said the national broadcaster would cover every Zambian who wanted coverage.
“I will give an example of yesterday (Tuesday), honourable (Harry) Kalaba had a press briefing, and I had asked my team that can you go there and cover him. This is a broadcasting [station] for all Zambians. Any Zambian that wants to be covered; we shall cover them. As you are aware, you are from the media, it has to take somebody to reach out to you, we may not know where they are, but if they reach out to us, we shall definitely cover them without fail. The President has been very categorical and very clear that he wants us to cover each and every Zambian in this country and that is exactly what we want to do at ZNBC,” said Kasanda.
In an interview recently, Chalikosa said Lungu chose to commemorate the day at St Theresa Catholic Church in a quiet manner because the state didn’t invite him to the national function.
“He wasn’t invited by the State. The churches are the ones who are supposed to organize events, then the State comes in to participate and make it a national event. But they did give us 30 cards so our people represented the party in different churches everywhere. So it was not that we shunned it except that we attended different churches, in different congregations. Some went to Catholic, some went to other churches. We were there, we may not have been given prominence like we were before. This time you saw the prominence was given to the party in power. But it doesn’t mean that we did not observe it. We did. Depending on who was organising, if it was the churches that were organizing we did receive an invitation, but if this thing is linked to the State, there was nothing from the State,” said Chalikosa.