PRESIDENT Lungu says he will not deny access to information and freedom of expression to the media and the citizenry because it is a constitutional right.
The President said his administration will allow citizens to freely express themselves and that he will not prevent any media organisation from covering him.
Mr Lungu said this here on Wednesday when he addressed Zambians resident in Zimbabwe.
“I usually tell the media to come closer so that you do not distort what I say. Zambians will judge for themselves what the President meant, no matter how you distort it.
“Zambians are intelligent enough to know what the President is saying. I will not bar a media practitioner from covering me because he has the propensity to distort my messages every day,” he said.
Mr Lungu said he was handed the national flag and the constitution, which are symbols of statehood hence he will accord Zambians freedom of information and expression.
“I will not deny you the right to information because it is a right, so let us allow people to speak and the media to cover us.
“I was asking my colleagues, fellow heads of States, how social media is performing in their respective countries and they said very destructive. You see, let us allow media to do its work and let Zambians judge for themselves,” Mr Lungu said.
The President said Zambians will speak through the ballot if his administration fails to perform.
President Lungu encouraged Zambians both at home and in the diaspora that have lost or misplaced their voters cards and National Registration Cards (NRC) to have them replaced so that they can exercise their right to vote.
“Have your voter’s cards and NRCs in place so that you can choose whom you want to bring after me.
“As for me, I am also grooming my friends to take over from me when the time comes because there has to be continuity and vision shared by all of us,” President Lungu said.
He said Zambia is now on full course from where the late President Sata left.
“I have done my 90 days and I am ready to face the challenges and I know which corners Mr Sata left for me to touch and I also know the corners he would have loved to emphasise,” he said.
Mr Lungu said development is top on his administration’s agenda adding that he will create a conducive environment for every citizen to be productive.
“As head of State, I will make it possible for you to have an environment to invest back home but I will not put money in your pockets because that is your task to take advantage of the enabling environment.
“When we said we will put more money in your pocket, we do not mean we will bring money into your pockets and sow it there but that we will make it possible for you to make money within the law,” Mr Lungu said.
And Mr Lungu has implored Zambians to continue exhibiting unity and embrace the `One Zambia One nation’ motto.
He said Zambians should subscribe to the values of the national anthem as a symbol of nationhood and unity.
“Find time to reflect on the national symbols such as the coat of arms, national anthem and flag and you will see there is no reason you should imagine that you are not part of this great nation called Zambia,” he said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba said there are 10,000 Zambians living in Zimbabwe of which 500 are registered with the Zambian embassy.
Mr Kalaba said the ministry will continue pursuing the diaspora policy as directed by President Lungu so that it can be launched before the end of the year.
Zambia’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Ndiyoyi Mutiti said Zambians resident in Zimbabwe are confident that Mr Lungu’s development agenda will steer the country to greater heights.
Mrs Mutiti hailed President Lungu for showing love and care for the Zambian community in the diaspora.
First Lady Esther Lungu encouraged Zambians in the diaspora and Zimbabwe in particular to continue exhibiting dignity and maturity in all their activities.
And former Bank of Zambia (BoZ) governor Caleb Fundanga, who spoke on behalf of the Zambian community in Zimbabwe, thanked President Lungu for the rare opportunity to interact with Zambians in the diaspora.