THE Government has said President Rupiah Banda and
Vice-President, George Kunda cannot be subjected to a debate with United Party for National Development (UPND) president, Hakainde Hichilema because that would demean their status.
Chief Government spokesperson, Ronnie Shikapwasha said in a statement yesterday that it would be wrong for the president to reduce himself to the level of Mr Hichilema, a deputy leader of a political party grouping that had no developmental agenda except lies and insults.
He said it would be extremely demeaning for President Banda or Mr Kunda to accept the challenge by Mr Hichilema to a public debate organised by the Press Freedom Committee of The Post newspapers, which was openly biased.
He said Mr Hichilema was just a deputy leader of the PF/UPND Pact and was too low to spar with the head of State or his deputy.
Time for debates would come during 2011 elections and Mr Hichilema would be given an opportunity should he manage to unseat Patriotic Front leader, Michael Sata from the PF/UPND Pact.
“It will also be totally illogical for the ruling party that won presidential elections a year ago and has more than 50 per cent seats in the National Assembly to test its popularity by debating with Mr Hichilema,” he said.
What should concern Mr Hichilema was not who between him and the president was popular but how popular he was within his party and the PF/UPND Pact.
The opposition leader should be concerned about the many UPND supporters that were leaving his party because he had aligned it with the PF which people disrespected for its dictatorial style and violence.
[Times of Zambia]