PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu is ready to have his immunity removed when he leaves office, but has described as perverse the culture of demonizing former leaders by a clique of individuals intent on usurping State power.
He said he was not afraid of his immunity being removed but that such a remote eventuality would not deter him from performing the onerous task the people of Zambia bestowed on him as the Head of State.
The President said he was aware that there were some senior civil servants and public workers who stole Government’s classified documents which they leaked to unauthorized persons and institutions with the aim of finding faults in his officials.
Speaking to journalists shortly before his departure to Zimbabwe for Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) summit, President Lungu said if stripping former leaders of their immunity was the trend Zambians had adopted, he was ready to face the law but regretted the culture of vengeance.
He said he would be able to answer all the queries as he was governing the country to the best of his ability and that he did not mind the consequences should the next president continue on the path of governing the country on the principle of retribution, vindictiveness and hatred which had over the years left the country divided and hurting.
He said Zambia was a united country under one President, one Cabinet, one Government and one people and that he had been preaching reconciliation so that the country could heal from the wounds of hatred which was being perpetrated by a clique whose agenda was to take over power.
The Head of State said his Government was aware that there was a group of individuals whose lives were anchored on demonizing other citizens while pontificating righteousness about themselves.
President Lungu said he was governing the country to the best of his ability and according to the law and was not scared about the threats of losing his immunity by those who had been propagating hate messages against former leaders under the guise of fighting corruption.
“I do not mind if my immunity is going to be removed after I have served this country.
I am aware that there is a campaign to excite whoever would take over from me that he should continue with the trend of removing my immunity. I am game if that is the trend Zambians would want to have.
I am not scared and will be able to answer all the queries because in this country, there is the doctrine of the presumption being innocent until proved guilty.
Bat it is really sad that we can have a country where every successive Government will go hunting the leaders of the previous government.
We are not dull and we know what is happening,” President Lungu said.
And the President revealed that those who were in the habit of stealing classified Government documents and leaking them to unauthorized persons and institutions were being driven by the agenda to embarrass him and his officials.
He said some institutions were quick to institute investigations against senior Government officials and leaking their activities to the media but slow to inform the nation about clearing the same officers.
The Head of State warned that he would not tolerate the continued leaking and stealing of secret Government information and that the officers who will be discovered should be ready to face the wrath of the law.
He said he would not hesitate to remove from office public officers who were acting like moles and spies against his Government because their conduct was a danger to the smooth governance of the country.
Meanwhile, the Head of State said he was talking to other leaders in the region over reports that Zambia’s goods were being shunned by some countries in the region because of the xenophobia violence in South Africa.
He said xenophobia was going to be part of the agenda at the SADC summit.
And Sandra Machima reports from Harare that Zimbabwe central business town yesterday came to virtual standstill when President Edgar Lungu’s motorcade swept the central town.
President Lungu is in Zimbabwe to attend the 34th SADC heads of state summit which is taking place today under the regional strategy and roadmap for industrialisation.
President Lungu arrived in Zimbabwe at Harare international airport at 15:10 hours and was accompanied by the First lady Esther Lungu and Amos Chanda, his special assistant for press and public relations as well as his special assistant for political affairs Kaizer Zulu. President Lungu was received at the airport by Foreign Affairs Minister Harry Kalaba, Zambian high commissioner to Zimbabwe Ndiyoyi Mutiti, deputy minister of finance Mvunga and Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Mumbengegwi and his counterpart for Transport Obert Mpofu.
President Lungu later met Presidents Robert Mugabe and Nambian President Hage Geingob.