“I am firmly in control in running the affairs of the country and I know it is my responsibility to provide leadership in the political arena and the economic affairs of the country”, President Edgar Lungu declared on arrival from New York yesterday.
Speaking soon after touching down at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, President Lungu called on political leaders who did not believe in God to allow him and Zambians who were believers to go ahead with the national day of prayer and fasting instead of attacking him.
President Lungu said he would provide leadership even in difficult times such as the current economic crisis the country was facing. He was in New York for the 70th general assembly of heads of state and government at the United Nations.
“Let us not politicize God. Those who do not believe in God should stay away and leave the rest of us to do so.”
President Lungu said the Government had put in place many measures to deal with problems confronting the country.
The Head of State stated that he was aware that some political leaders in the opposition had been insinuating that he had failed to provide leadership and was therefore hiding behind prayer and fasting.
President Lungu said the Kwacha that had suffered severe depreciation in the month of September had started gaining against the dollar and that Government had put measures in place to make sure the economic situation did not deteriorate beyond the current situation. The Head of State said he was a strong believer in God in times of joy and difficulty and when he was asking Zambians to seek the face of God, it did not mean that he had failed.
“My call to my colleagues in the political arena is that they should take my call for prayers and fasting very seriously. I understand my colleagues are saying I have abdicated my responsibility and are claiming that I am hiding behind prayers and fasting.
‘‘I am firmly in control and I know it is my responsibility to provide leadership both in the political arena, the economy and elsewhere. I believe in God in times of joy and difficulties and when I say we seek the face of God, I am not saying I have failed. So those who do not believe in God, let them keep away from this matter,” President Lungu said.
President Lungu said the Kwacha had started gaining against the dollar and that those who had better ideas of how best to arrest the free fall of the country’s currency were free to bring their ideas on board.
He said the opposition leaders and other stakeholders did not have to wait until everything had collapsed for them to offer alternative ideas.
The Head of State said Zambia had gone the route of calling for national Indaba before and that nothing tangible had come out and he was not therefore keen on taking the same route just because the Kwacha was depreciating.
’’But to ask me to convene an Indaba just because the Kwacha is failing against the dollar is not correct. Late president Levy Mwanawasa had four to five Indabas but what came out of there?
‘‘We have the Economic Association of Zambia, the lawyers and other stakeholders and we have economists in Government and the private sector who can work together as one.
‘‘Those who do not want to pray and fast with us, please leave us alone. I am a believer in God in happiness, joy and difficult times and Zambians are with me on that one,” President Lungu said.