What is the truth?

We do not understand the reason why there is always so much confusion surrounding President Michael Sata’s trips abroad.

Ever since he was elected in 2011, the trips of the Head of State seem to have been classified as ‘State secret’.

It is no longer common for Zambians to know where their President is travelling to until he has arrived at his destination.

This was not the case when the Presidency was held by Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Dr Fredrick Chiluba, Dr Levy Mwanawasa and Mr Rupiah Banda.

The men and women who handled the Presidency then ensured that the nation was prepared for the Head of State’s trips abroad and who would be left in charge of the State apparatus.

In the case of journalists who formed the advance party, they would be busy sending stories to their respective media houses so that the nation was updated.

But this has been a rare occurrence in the current administration where the President leaves the country and then statements explaining his whereabouts follow.

Why should it be so when the Presidency is a State institution which is only held by individuals voted for by Zambians.

Surely, Zambians deserve better from the men and women who handle the Presidency.

The confusion that has characterized the latest trip that President Sata has undertaken to Israel should be avoided if Zambians are to stop speculating.

Why is it that the President’s men and women forgot to issue a statement on the whereabouts of Mr Sata, a task which was only done two days later by the Ministry of Information?

Is it not surprising that the people who guard the President did not know that he was out of the country and continued to position themselves at the main gate of State House.

We agree with Defence Minister Edgar Lungu that mistakes can be made but our take is that this could be happening because of the secrecy surrounding the trips of the President.

The strange culture the PF government has adopted of not informing Zambians about President Sata’s trips abroad has created unnecessary speculations and rumours.

It has also caused anxiety among citizens and they have a good reason to doubt statements coming from government.

On Saturday, the country woke up to a flood of online media speculation that President Sata had left the country for several destinations and it took government more than 24 hours to issue a statement informing Zambians that in fact the Head of State had arrived in Israel.

What was so difficult about informing the country of the President’s departure and his scheduled meeting with that country’s outgoing President Shimon Perez?

Why indeed should the family say one thing and the Government another? What is the truth?