PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has charged that he is neither a stooge nor a puppet and has rubbished assertions that his decisions on how to govern the country are being influenced by former president Rupiah Banda and other people outside Government.
President Lungu said he was not being held hostage by any individual and that he was his own man as no one was playing with his mind to influence his presidential decisions.
Speaking to journalists shortly after his arrival from Mfuwe where he had gone for a retreat, President Lungu said he had promised Zambians that his style of governance would be anchored on extensive consultations because he wanted his decisions to be clear.
He said he had been consulting first republican president Kenneth Kaunda and fourth President Rupiah Banda, and that he had the right to consult any other Zambian because he wanted to run an efficient government.
“Let those talking about my style of governance know that I am neither a stooge nor a puppet. No one is playing with my mind in my decision-making and I am my own man.
I told you when I was campaigning that I would be consulting extensively and I have been consulting Dr Kaunda, Mr Rupiah Banda and other Zambians,” President Lungu said.
And the President said he was splitting the Ministry of Mines, Water and Energy Development because it was overloaded and complicated to effectively operate and efficiently deliver to the expectations of citizens.
President Lungu said he was not splitting the ministries to create jobs and appease some people but that he was trying to make work easier and effective for those involved.
He said that it was only natural that when systems were being reorganized, jobs would be created or lost that did not mean he was doing so to create employment for certain individuals.
“I thought the Ministry of Mines, Water and Energy Development was overloaded and complicated. I consulted Cabinet and other technocrats about this and if some people think I am creating jobs that is just a by-the-way result in the process of streamlining the ministry. If jobs are created and you find a job, good luck for you,” President Lungu said.
Meanwhile, the Head of State has ruled out the possibility of the Patriotic Front (PD) and the MMD merging, stating that the ruling party was not yet ready for such a political marriage.
He said at an appropriate time, the party would have to justify proposals that the two political parties should merge because they were both national in character.
He said the PF was happy with the support it received from the MMD and that if the former ruling party wanted to join the governing party, it was free do so because the ruling party was open and ready to accommodate any new members.