The Zambia Voice has disputed media reports that President Michael Sata arrived back home from his working holiday in Israel on Friday aboard the presidential challenger and has stated that it was doubtful that the Head of State could have landed at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport.
Zambian Voice executive director has since challenged government to show proof of President Michael Sata’s arrival in the country since the Head of State has not appeared to public including some of his own ministers.
“I was at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport much earlier than the time some sections of the media have reported the presidential challenger landed. Some of the colleagues from the media found me there and there was no plane that landed at the airport at 22:05 hours. The presidential challenger could not have landed at the Kenneth Kaunda International without anyone seeing it. It is highly likely that someone is not saying the truth,” Mr Tayali said.
Mr Tayali said even the presidential helicopter could have been seen taking off from the airport for State House had the challenger landed at the at the time that was stated by some sections of the media.
Mr Tayali’s comments come in the wake of growing speculation over President Sata’s trip to Israel for a working holiday and his return.
The Zambian Voice chief yesterday received a photograph of President Sata with his grand children from unknown people but he told the Daily Nation that it was not clear whether the picture was the latest of the Head of State.
The same picture was also posted on the facebook page of Commerce deputy Minister Miles Sampa except that his posting was dated 5th July 2014.
Mr Tayali said from the time he left, President Sata had been off the radar over the goings-on in Israel except for a few international media reports that he was receiving treatment at a named hospital in Tel Aviv.
“From the time he left the country, it has been speculation after speculation. It is only Chanda Kasolo (Luapula Province permanent Secretary) who said something tangible that as a family, they had convinced the President to take leave, but even then government came out with the working holiday theory.
“Even the Republican Vice President Guy Scott in Parliament failed to clearly state the situation surrounding the Israeli visit whether it was for a holiday or for medical purposes,” Mr Tayali said.
He said now that the President was back, there was even more question about how he arrived in the absence of any Cabinet minister or the Patriotic Front (PF) entourage to receive him at the Airport.
Mr Tayali explained that he was at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport on Friday night seeing off a friend on the last flight out of Lusaka that night and did not at any time witness the landing of the Presidential Challenger that brought him home.
“It is not a small plane like a car that I can miss its landing, if it landed at 2205 as stated in some local media, can they prove by documentation where the President arrived. I should have been privileged to witness his homecoming,” he said.
Mr Tayali charged speculation could have been avoided if there was transparency in the handling of the office of the President.
He said even the presence of the sentries at State House could no longer be relied upon as a sign of his presence because in the past, they have remained there even in his absence.
There has been speculation about President Sata’s health condition after his sudden trip to Israel and his subsequent ‘silent’ return last Friday.