PRESIDENTIAL SPOKESPERSON Amos Chanda says no formal recognition honor was accorded to any youth this year on Youth Day.
Responding to media claims why government decided to honor the late leader of a section of small scale miners, Mr. Youngson Kalobo, Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations, Amos Chanda said government had not awarded any records of honour this year to any youth.
Mr. Chanda explained that the formal Honours’ List is under the Presidency, headed by the Her Honour the Vice-President and this year, no special recognition was given to anyone.
“On Women’s Day on 8th March, the President made a special recognition of some women; so did Hon Given Lubinda on International Human Rights Day on 10th December 2018. On Youth Day, President Lungu laid a wreath at the Freedom Statue in honour of the fallen youths who contributed to Zambia’s freedom struggle. He did not specifically confer any honours any one individual,” Mr. Chanda said.
He went on to explain that government has a formal procedure that requires structured approvals for anyone to be be given State Honours.
“The formal Honours’ List is under the Presidency, headed by the Her Honour the Vice-President. Her committee identies and evaluates potential recipients and the approved names are entered into the Government Gazette which is exclusively published shed by the Government Printer.”
Therefore, any other localized decisions outside this established criteria and protocols does not constitute State Honours.
Meanwhile, in a series of tweets in response to Mr Chanda’s statement, academic and political commentator, Dr Sishuwa Sishuwa, stated that the President’s spokesperson appears not to understand the distinction between the State and the Government. Dr Sishuwa, who had earlier criticized the move by the Government to honour a known gangster who caused havoc during his time, tweeted:
“Amos Chanda is being deliberately disingenuous. First, there was no claim that the individual honoured by the Kitwe DC and Copperbelt PS on behalf of Govt appears on the State Honour’s List, so Amos is making a counter argument to a non-existent argument…Second, President Lungu’s spokesperson is conflating the State and Government. This perhaps is indicative of his and the PF’s general assumption that the State and the Government are the same. They are not, and Amos would do well to learn the distinction between the two”, tweeted Dr Sishuwa.
Dr Sishuwa, an outspoken critic of government excesses, also advised Mr Chanda to desist from usurping the role of the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, Dora Siliya, who is the appropriate and official spokesperson of the Government.
“And while it should be fairly obvious to many, l should also mention that it is beyond the functions of a presidential press aide to speak on behalf of Government. That task is the responsibility of the Minister of Information and the Chief Govt spokesperson, @Dora_Siliya. Lastly, officers of any Govt that operates according to the law cannot act outside powers given to them by the State. If they step outside the institutionalised due process and start arbitrarily to dish out honours, they are operating outside the formal rules & must be dismissed!” he wrote.