United States Ambassador to Zambia Mark Storella has clarified that former president Rupiah Banda’s trip to that country has not been facilitated by the American government as perceived by some quarters of society.
Ambassador Storella says the programme to have former African leaders as guest lecturers at Boston University was initiated independently by the learning institution and is meant to honor African leaders.
The US envoy noted that Mr. Banda’s invitation is meant to honor all the Zambians for the peaceful transition of power that the country experienced in the last presidential polls.
Ambassador Storella was speaking at his residence this morning during a breakfast meeting to discuss the trip that was undertaken by selected stakeholders and media practitioners to accord them an opportunity tom understand how the Freedom of information law is being applied in that country.
He added that it is important for Zambia to have a legal framework that will protect the fundamental rights of its citizens and commended the government’s commitment to enhancing press freedom.
At the same occasion, information, broadcasting and labour permanent secretary Amos Malupenga said government was working hard to ensure that the FOI bill is presented to parliament mid this year.
Mr. Malupenga said contrary to reports that the government had u-turned on the freedom of information bill,the government is busy working towards having the piece of legislation in place.
And deputy press secretary at State house Amos Chanda stated that Zambia News and Information services (ZANIS) misquoted president Sata in an article which suggested that the head of state had U-turned on the FOI issue.
On Wednesday, President Sata noted that it is important for the public media to be rolled out through the establishment of the provincial TV stations to enhance information dissemination.