PRESIDENTIAL spokesperson Amos Chanda says all people surrounding President Edgar Lungu have no criminal records.
During a special live interview with ZNBC following what he termed a fake report circulated about President Lungu making changes to his Cabinet, Chanda said fake postings have far more consequences than merely refuting the claims they contain.
He told interviewer, Franklin Tembo Junior that the report was the work of people with time to waste.
When asked about the reshuffles rumour, Chanda said it was fabricated by people who had nothing to do with their time.
“It is absolutely false, people who invest in this have too much idle time on their hands. Again there is a historical…That when Dr Kaunda went to Mfuwe, he came back with a list of reshuffles. This President has his own style, he his own way of doing things, if he wants he can make cabinet [reshuffle] from where he was in South Luangwa, if he wants he can make it in State House, he can announce any time, there is no standing order as some politician always boast about knowing government procedure, totally ignorant, totally far from the truth,” Chanda said.
“There is not standing order that designates when to announce when the President is out, when he is in State House, according to circumstances of a time, they will announce when the President has arrived where he has gone, they can announce the day before. They can announce at the airport, anytime.”
He said the rumour of reshuffles had impacted the running of government and business.
“Yes, it has had an impact. We have received calls, State House is inundated with calls from diplomats. You can imagine the people supposedly affected…purported to have been removed. It has an effect of causing some disruption in normal government operations, disruptions in the markets, business people want to reconfigure their relationships, they want to see where there is policy shift,” Chanda said.
“It has an effect not just to disrupt government business which is why it is mischievous for people to invest time in purveying falsehoods, especially around the Presidency. It is very serious to announce a falsehood around the presidency.”
He said any statement from State House, he would announce it.
“It will have a date stamp, two stamps, above and below, it will be confirmed within 30 minutes by the State broadcaster, the Minister of Information will confirm, the public newspaper Daily Mail and Times of Zambia will carry on their websites,” he said.
Chanda added that President Lungu had tasked Vice-President Inonge Wina to inform the ministers and members of parliament to continue with normal government business.
“If ZNBC has not confirmed my statement within 30 minutes of it being issued, that statement is fake. If it does not have a stamp like that one, it is fake. The President has informed her honour the Vice-President to inform all ministers, all the MPs to proceed and carry on with normal functioning of Parliament that government is stable, he hasn’t made any changes,” he said.
“All government agencies tasked to deal with these things must deal with them. All WhatsApp groups, any WhatsApp message is linked to a number, ZICTA has got the registration of every phone number, how are they not dealing with this…why can’t ZICTA go in and stop this mischief?”
When asked if such posting were making governance difficult, Chanda said “It is…you would think that it is something you would just dismiss but a falsehood alleging the demise of a President, the President of Nigeria had to go on TV.”
Meanwhile, Chanda said the President invites whoever he wishes to State House for social events.
“When there is a State function, the President and the first lady have their own guest list, a standard one. That guest list changes when a new President comes and another one goes. We invite their friends, they will enter that guest list, the friends of Dr Kaunda were not the friends of Dr Chiluba, friends of Dr Chiluba were not friends of Mwanawasa, so the guest list keeps changing. For now the people appearing on the guest list are friends of the President and he will keep inviting them. There are those who he invites by virtue of office, diplomats…” said Chanda.
“Even when it’s not a State function, when it comes to socialising, the President is not restricted from inviting whoever he thinks he can invite. If someone is not a convict, what stigma do you want to place on that person in order for the President to move away from them? What lack of credibility? A friend is a friend. If he has no criminal record, that friend will be cleared. State House has a stringent security clearance system; they will not clear anyone with a criminal record to see the President. All the people around the President do not have criminal records, so no one is secluded from that.”