THE United Party for National Development (UPND) has demanded that Government should come out in the open and tell the nation about the whereabouts of President Michael Sata who had travelled to Ethiopia for the African Union (AU) Summit but has not returned since the summit closed on Tuesday this week.
UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has said it was important for government to inform citizens about the whereabouts of their President to avoid rumour mongering and speculation.
Mr Hichilema said in an interview yesterday that there was no way President Sata could have left Ethiopia on Tuesday without arriving in the country three days after the close of the meeting.
Mr Hichilema said it was politically and morally incorrect for the government to have kept the whereabouts of President Sata under a veil when the Head of State was supposed to be in the country to respond to numerous problems facing the nation.
Mr Hichilema said Zambians were extremely concerned about the secrecy surrounding President Sata’s whereabouts because as citizens, they had the right to know the health status and the movements of the president.
“We were informed when the President was going to Ethiopia and it is important for the Zambians to be informed at all times about where the President goes so that his absence from the country is not left to rumours and speculations. What are they hiding and what it that they do not want Zambians to know about their own president,’ Mr Hichilema asked.
The UPND leader explained that the silence surrounding the absence of Mr Sata from the country only showed how disorganized the ruling party was in national matters.
Mr Hichilema said Government has on several instances played the silent game on President Sata’s foreign travels and demanded that it was time the state came out clear and told the nation about where Mr Sata was and his health status.
Mr Hichilema said there was no way United States of America (USA) President Barack Obama or British Prime Minister David Cameron would travel out of their countries without the citizens being informed.
“If President Sata is not well, government should let us know. There should be no secrecy about his health. Hugo Shavez was hospitalized and the whole world was informed and journalists even had an interview with him in hospital. So what is so difficult about us Zambians knowing whether our President is sick and receiving good treatment or not,” Mr Hichilema said.
And Mr Hichilema has said the Mpongwe parliamentary by-elections will not be free and fair because opposition political parties were being denied chances to hold rallies.
He charged that the Patriotic Front (PF) government does not want the opposition political parties to participate in the Mpongwe constituency parliamentary by-election because the ruling party through the Zambia Police was denying the opposition political parties from holding rallies in the area.