THE presidency is not a private business and President Michael Sata must come out and speak to the citizens about the state of the nation including the myth surrounding his secret foreign trips, Federation of Free Trade Unions of Zambia (FFTUZ) president Joyce Nonde-Simukoko has demanded.
Mrs Nonde-Simukoko said while President Sata’s style of dealing with national issues was different from his predecessors, it was important for citizens to be informed about what was happening to their Head of State.
Mrs Nonde-Simukoko said Government should avoid turning the country into a rumour mongering nation where national issues were subjected to speculation.
Mrs Nonde-Simukoko said President Sata has been absent from the public for long spells and that Zambians were missing times when they would directly interact with the president through press conferences or or through other public foras.
Mrs Nonde-Simukoko said in an interview that President Sata should stop considering the presidency as a private matter and that his government should stop keeping the nation in suspence each time Mr Sata was out of the country.
She said the health of a president should never be a state secrete because that would compromise the political stability and governance of the country.
“President Sata and his government should understand that the presidency is not a private matter and he must come out and address the nation about the state of the nation including the myth surrounding his health and secret foreign travels. Government through its spokesperson should avoid tension by informing the nation about what is happening with the President” Mrs Nonde-Simukoko said.
She recaaled that during Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s reign, the nation was ever informed each time the former president went to the University Teaching Hospital for his routine medical check-up.
She also said President Sata should make himself publicly available because there was no harm in the Head of State allowing himself to be subjected to public secruitny in the way he was governing the country.
She said the silence surrounding the health of Mr Sata was dangerous because there were some people who would use the speculations and rumours to alarm the nation.
“There is no harm in telling the nation if Mr Sata is not well. The government spokesperson must always give comprehensive statements so that people with malicious ideas do not alarm the nation on matters that are straight forward,” Mrs Nonde-Simukoko said.
She said it was worrying that some media houses deliberately chose to misinform the nation by reporting that President Sata had arrived in the country from Ethiopia where he had gone to ateend the African Union summit.
The Post last week reported that President Sata had returned from Ethiopia and that he had described the AU summit as a success because there had been no hitches experienced.
“Some newspaper had told lies that the President had returned from Ethiopia but I was wondering why Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda was still acting president. So there is need for accurate and adequate information from government,” Mrs Nonde-Simukoko said
The health status of President Sata and some of his foreign trips have been a subject of speculation because of the myths and secrets surrounding them yet while in the opposition, Mr Sata was a prominent of transparency in the affairs of the presidency.
Mr Sata was strongly against the practice of the Head of State accessing medical services outside the country and while late president Levy Mwanawasa was ill in France, Mr Sata demanded that a tribunal should have been set to determine as to where Dr Mwanawasa was capable of continuing being president.