PRESIDENT Lungu’s special assistant for press and public relations, Amos Chanda, says the state of the nation does not mirror a country that the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) and its incarcerated leader Hakainde Hichilema is painting to the international community.
The UPND have persistently been telling the international community that Zambia has slipped into dictatorship since the arrest of Mr Hichilema, who is still facing treason charges.
Mr Hichilema was yesterday quoted alleging that there is a dictatorship in Zambia, which Mr Chanda dismissed.
“The accused, including other sympathisers like Nevers Mumba, have developed a narrative which is totally at variance with what the state of the nation and state of our democracy is. The existence of democracy does not presuppose the absence of law and order,” he said.
Mr Chanda said to the contrary, Zambia’s image internationally is good.
He accused the UPND of paying some media organisations in Europe and South Africa to portray Zambia as a failed state.
“They have paid a lot of media consultants in Europe and South Africa to drive a narrative that Zambia was a failed state and that there was dictatorship and that there was no rule of law and freedom of expression,” he said.
Mr Chanda said the country is functioning normally and that the President is focussed on bringing development.
“The international profile of this country is on the high. That contradicts the paid-for media in Europe and South Africa that suggest otherwise,” he said.
“This is not how a dictatorship looks, that the accused will have the freedom to speak to the media, the media can report what they want; foreign companies are operating normally, contracts are being enforced fairly and the country is functioning. The judiciary is functioning independently and all institutions of governance,” he said.
Mr Chanda, however, said President Lungu is not worried by the narrative, but is worried rather that some “citizens can be bought; that any Zambian can be so unpatriotic as to consciously undertake to damage the country so that no investment comes; so that Zambia is isolated.”
Mr Chanda also reminded Dr Mumba of his former status and what is expected of him despite his spiralling political career.
“It’s with considerable surprise and regret that Dr Mumba, who was not only Zambia’s high commissioner to Canada but also served as republican vice-president, can fail to understand how diplomatic exchange takes place. When the President accepts an invitation, it’s an expression of full mutual respect. It is, therefore, shocking that Dr Mumba has undertaken to malign a country with express falsehood by attempting to mobilise international isolation against his motherland,” Mr Chanda said.
Dr Mumba was quoted urging foreign dignitaries not to come to Zambia.
He said the President is not worried because he knows he will be vindicated by the courts of law.
“If the accused is acquitted, the President won’t interfere, like he is not interfering now,” he said.
“As an individual, he actually wishes this did not happen. One day he told me that he actually feels sorry for these people that they run deliberately into the face of the law, create unnecessary problems and they cry “wolf” afterwards.”
He said the President is focussed on governing and he will not be distracted.
Mr Chanda said the President will ensure that the country does not come to a standstill because of one court case.
Mr Chanda said the President is overwhelmed with invitations to launch projects in various parts of the country.
“We are doing our best to govern as fairly as possible,” he said.