Sata’s still pictures raise eyebrows

United Party for National Development (UPND) has demanded that President Sata appears on national television and addresses the nation because the still pictures that were circulated by State House on Monday had fueled more speculation about the whereabouts of the Head of State and his health status.

And MMD president Nevers Mumba has said while his party was relieved that President Sata had returned to Zambia safely, it was disappointed that the ruling party had mishandled the Presidency and his trip to Israel on a working holiday.

Meanwhile, the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) has said that the continued absence of President Michael Sata from the public eye will continue to undermine the governance of the nation.

UPND deputy president for political affairs Canisious Banda said it was not going to help government to continue hiding President Sata because as Head of State, there were State functions that he was expected to perform and Zambians would certainly want to see and hear from him.

Dr Banda said in any functioning democracy, citizens had the right to know where their Head of State was, what he was doing and who he was meeting because it was the taxpayers money that was being used.

He said Zambians were yearning to see and hear President Sata and that the still pictures State House had circulated on Monday had fueled more speculation and innuendoes.

“Let us put President Sata into prayers. We should put him in the hands of God because he is human as any other citizen and is bound to fall ill. He has been absent for almost a month and we do not know who is governing the country. Where is his voice? He needs to rest and we appeal to his family to prevail on him so that he can rest,” Dr Banda said.

And Dr Mumba said the MMD would publicly abhor maneuvers of any political party that wished to make political mileage out of the unfortunate situation President Sata was in.

He said MMD was morally bound to respond to public demands to provide leadership, hope and direction in guiding the PF government on how to handle such sensitive matters of the President which bordered on national security.

Dr Mumba said President Sata was the property of Zambians who voted for him and not a private property of the PF stating that his trip to Israel and his return to Zambia should have been handled in a manner befitting a Republican President.

The MMD leader said the threats, harassment and intimidation by the police and certain quarters against Zambians commenting on the President’s health were uncalled for and should be condemned with the contempt they deserved.

“The government should realise that anyone including a president can fall ill and therefore any required medical attention or trips abroad should be announced transparently. Thereafter, it is the duty of State House to keep the nation briefed through regular press briefings. This diffuses tension and keeps the nation calm. As things stand, if the President needs more time to fully recuperate or indeed even further medical attention abroad, he should be allowed to go on leave. This is his constitutional right,” Dr Mumba said.

And FDD spokesperson Antonio Mwanza says it was clear that the PF did not treasure the Presidency, hence the reason why it was showing lack of respect for President Sata.

He said in an interview with the Daily Nation yesterday that the continued absence of President Sata had created increased anxiety in the country.

“People want to know why he is not making himself available to the public. It is unhealthy for him to continue playing hide and seek,” said Mr. Mwanza.

He said it was shocking that the PF government and its leadership in general were pursuing an irresponsible route that lacks courtesy and concern for the nation.

“With all these rumours and speculation about him, the only responsible thing for him to do is to hold a live national address to assure the nation that all is well and that the nation is not on auto pilot,

“Sending or posting those photos will not help the PF and President Sata in particular to end the current speculations on his health and whereabouts,” said Mr. Mwanza.He said the action by State House to post photographs about President Sata addressing the Cabinet on Monday was an act of desperation, adding that the action has created more speculations because no journalists were invited to the meeting.

“This photo shopping on Face Book by the PF shows the lack of seriousness on the part of President Sata as leader of the nation. Mind you, his continued games of hide and seek has an economic bearing on the nation as it usurps investor confidence,” said Mr. Mwanza.