Vice-President Guy Scott yesterday told Parliament that government does not know when President Michael Sata would return from his working holiday in Israel, fueling more speculation about the nature of the state visit by the Head of State.
And Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mukondo Lungu yesterday curtailed Mafinga MMD Member of Parliament Catherine Namugala and her counterpart from Mumbwa, Brian Chituwo’s points of clarification on President Sata’s health.
Making a statement on a point of order raised by Monze Central Member of Parliament Jack Mwiimbu on President Sata’s visit to Israel, Dr Scott said government had no information on when the Head of State was coming back home.
In his statement, Dr Scott said he was not going to be specific about President Sata’s visit to Israel stating that he was not going to enter into what he called the fantasy of the social media that is currently flooded with rumours and innuendoes about the Head of State’s working holiday to Israel.
Dr Scott maintained that according to Government, President Sata was in Israel on a working holiday but that he did not know whether the Head of State and his outgoing counterpart Shimon Perez had invited journalists to their meetings.
On the military sentries that remained rooted at the main entrance of State House until Sunday when President Sata left the country on Friday evening, Dr Scott said it was a breach of protocol that did not mean anything serious.
Dr Scott said government was only able to inform the nation about President Sata’s arrival in Israel because he had been out of town and that upon his return on Saturday, he together with other government officials prepared the statement that was issued by Acting Minister of Information and Broadcasting Mwansa Kapeya on Sunday.
He told Parliament that it had never occurred to him that there was need to provide footage for President Sata meetings with President Perez and other activities in Israel.
“I will not be specific in answering the point of order by the Monze Central Member of Parliament Jack Mwiimbu over concerns about President Sata’s visit to Israel. He claims the President’s visit to Israel has been surrounded by controversy, speculation and innuendoes but I will not enter into the fantasy of the social media. I do not know when the President will be coming back and I do not know whether the President was talking to journalists when he held meetings with his counterpart (President Perez). It has not occurred to me that I should provide footage of the meeting of President Sata’s activities in Israel,” Dr Scott said.
Dr Scott’s statement about government not knowing when President Sata was going to return home triggered a flurry of questions with Mr Mwiimbu stating that the response was going to fuel more speculation and innuendoes because government had failed to tell the Zambians the truth.
‘I thought the response from the Vice-President was going to be detailed and elaborative but it has not. The answer by Dr Scott will actually lead to more speculation and Innuendoes to President Sata’s visit. Why was the President visit to Israel only announced after he had arrived in that country?” Mr Mwiimbu said.