THE government has a duty to allay fears about President Michael Sata and why he has been withdrawn from public appearances for more than two months, People’s Party (PP) president Mike Mulongoti has said.
Failing to explain what had happened to the Head of State, Mr Mulongoti said was fueling speculation, some of it uncharitable.
Mr Mulongoti told the Daily Nation that the continued absence of President Sata from public appearances was causing a lot of anxieties among the citizens and that it was prospective investors have second thoughts about coming to Zambia.
Mr Mulongoti said the emotions attached to the continued absence of President Sata both locally and regionally was stressing and that it was important that government and those handling the President should inform citizens what had exactly happened.
There was need for government to be bold and inform the nation about the state of President Sata’s physical health because his absence was creating unhealthy speculations and worries among the people.
Mr Mulongoti said the PF should not force Zambians to get used to having a President who was not visible to citizens adding that President Sata was a servant who owed Zambians an explanation why he had decided to withdraw from public appearances.
He said government officials and party zealots should stop demonizing and stigmatizing people demanding to know what could have happened to President to have disappeared from the public eye.
“What we need now is those handling the President to inform us what exactly has happened. We are not going to be forced to accept a situation of have an absentee President.
He is a servant of the people and he is using public money and it is both administratively and politically incorrect to just disappear from public eye without explanation,” Mr Mulongoti said.
He said when late president Mwanawasa was sick, the country was update frequently to avoid causing panic and anxieties among citizens.
He should President Sata stay away for more than 90 days, the PF leadership would have to be forced to invoke provisions of the constitution regarding the office of the president.
And Mr Mulongoti has charged that the Patriotic Front (PF) should stop claiming credit on infrastructure development programmes that were initiated and started by the Movement of Multiparty Democracy (MMD) and only being completed and commissioned by the ruling party.
Mr Mulongoti said it was immoral for the PF to continue claiming credit on national developmental programmes they did not initiate.
Mr Mulongoti has lashed out at Vice-President Guy Scott for claiming that the PF had managed to construct the Chiyawa Bridge now named after President Sata in the short period they had been in government.
Mr Mulongoti said the Chiyawa Bridge was an MMD project which had sourced money from the World Bank to construct a road from Chirundu through Chiyawa via Lusaka to Chisamba.
He recalled that when Bradford Machila was the MP for Kafue district, worked hard in pushing for the construction of the Chiyawa Bridge because the area had farmers such as Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) president Edith Nawakwi.
Mr Mulongoti said it was Mr Machila at the time who approached the World Bank so that they could fund the construction of the bridge under the Private, Public Partnership (PPP).
“We have no problem with the Bridge being named after Mr Sata but the PF should be truthful about this.
They cannot be claiming credit on a project that was initiated and started by the MMD. When Bradford Machila was MP for Kafue, he pushed hard to have the bridge constructed. It was the plan of the MMD to construct a road from Chirundu, through Chiyawa via Lusaka to Chisamba.
It is not possible for the PF to have sourced the money and build a bridge in the short period they have been in government. This impression that the building of Chiyawa Bridge was a PF project,” Mr Mulongoti said.