PRESIDENT Edgar Chagwa Lungu has said that some politicians, civil leaders are in the habit of insulting him so as to ride on his name and title so as to gain some media coverage.
Speaking to journalists before his departure to Addis Ababa to attend the African Union summit, President Lungu who laughed off accusations that he was a dictator wondered how a dictator would openly take criticism, or consult with the nation such as was the case in the decision on whether Zambia should pull out or stay in the ICC.
The head of state noted that those calling him names or insulting him are only setting a bad precedence on what the freedom of speech and opinion should be.
“I will not be distracted from doing my job because you are calling me a dictator, when I am not one, they are enjoying the coverage you are giving them when they say Edgar this. I am President so when you insult the President you get coverage and freedom of the press allows that,” President Lungu mocked.
“…So for me those who are thinking they will get mileage or prominence by insulting me, humiliating me, they are just setting a bad precedence for the freedom of speech and opinion. However, I will not take them on because I will be elevating them to my level, I am too dignified for that,” he said.
President Lungu added that he was a very busy man to reduce himself into pettiness, name calling or discourse that does not add value to the nation.
“..they should find more substantive matters when dealing with me because I am a very busy man,” President Lungu remarked.
“I met Catholic representatives yesterday and I will meet the Catholic bishops and I will hear their voice, the Archbishop spoke publicly but I will speak to him quietly and you know that is not what a dictator does.”
He mocked and questioned what kind of dictator he was if he can take criticism and indulge in consultation.
“A dictator does not consult, a dictator does not take criticism. I have taken so much, I have been punched so much but I have not hit back. Obviously I can hit back and all fairness I am a human being. But I believe people should be given enough latitude to contribute, to criticise to do checks and balances and that is what democracy calls for,” said President Lungu.