Government has dismissed media reports suggesting that President Rupiah Banda snubbed the FIFA team that brought the World Cup Trophy to Zambia last weekend.
Chief Government Spokesperson Ronnie Shikapwasha said in a statement to ZANIS in Lusakayesterday that reports that the organizers of the trophy tour were unhappy that Vice President George Kunda received the trophy on behalf of the President are also untrue.
Lieutenant General Shikapwasha said contrary to reports by a private newspaper, the World Cup trophy team was very pleased that the Zambian government was represented by the Vice President to receive the trophy.
“The truth, in fact is that the FIFA team that brought the World Cup want it on record that they were very pleased and thankful that the Zambian Government sent the Vice President to receive the trophy,” he said.
Lt. Gen. Shikapwasha, who is also Information and Broadcasting Services Minister, said the organizers of the tour have rated the reception organized in Zambia far higher than in most countries where it had been received at ministerial level.
“The story is a deliberate concoction, giving the impression that the organizers of the trophy tour, Coca Cola, did not allow Vice President Kunda to touch the cup, and yet this was merely a matter of procedure as explained by Coca Cola Zambia Head of Corporate Affairs, Chibamba Kanyama”, he said.
He said there was nothing unusual about what happened and wondered why the explanation by Mr. Kanyama was not satisfactory to the author of the media story, who he said wanted to make controversy out of a straight forward issue.
The November 10 edition of The Post Newspaper carried a story suggesting that President Rupiah Banda snubbed the FIFA World Cup Trophy, forcing organizers to deny the country’s highest representative, the Vice President Kunda, from removing the trophy from the glass seal at a ceremony at Intercontinental Hotel.
However, Coca Cola Head of Corporate Affairs Chibamba Kanyama explained that there was nothing sinister about the Vice President not touching the World Cup Trophy.
Meanwhile, Lt. Gen Shikapwasha has expressed displeasure at the misrepresentation of facts over what President Rupiah Banda said about Patriotic Front leader Michael Sata, alleging that he called him “son of Satan”.
He said it was clear that the misrepresentation of facts was part of a campaign to create an impression that there was enmity between President Banda and Mr. Sata.
The President has since categorically refuted having said the alleged remarks attributed to him in a story in one of the tabloid newspapers.
“This misrepresentation of facts must thus be read with the fabrication that veteran politician Grey Zulu had been treated like a criminal and that he did not receive any support during the funeral of his late son, Agrippa,” he explained.
Lt. Gen. Shikapwasha said Mr. Zulu and his family categorically denied the statement, including the verbatim report.
He said the truth was that the Zulu family was very pleased with the support rendered to them by the government and President Banda in particular.
He urged the media personnel to avoid sensationalism in their reporting but to always ensure that they stick to the truth.