The Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) says the continued absence of President Michael Sata from public engagements is causing a lot of anxieties, stress and political tension in Zambia and has appealed to government to be bold and tell Zambians the true physical and mental status of the Head of State.
And the former ruling party has charged that Zambia was not going to benefit anything from the US- Africa Business Forum with Vice-President Guy Scott representing the country while President Sata remained in hibernation.
MMD national secretary Muhabi Lungu said it was shocking that in the last one an half months since President Sata withdrew from public appearances, some government officials have continued peddling lies that the Head of State was well and performing presidential functions when in fact not.
Mr Lungu said the Patriotic Front (PF) government and State House owed Zambians an explanation on why President Sata has for almost two months been appearing to the nation in still pictures.
He told the Daily Nation that Zambians had been subjected to the worst form of torture by having a sitting President who was hiding from the people who elected him to govern the country.
He said President Sata had become an absentee Head of State who was being paid for hiding from his own citizens.
Mr Lungu said it was annoying for PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba to say that President Sata did not need to address Zambians or communicate with them because he had nothing to tell the citizens.
He recalled that while in the opposition, President Sata always had something to tell Zambians through endless press conferences and that Zambians were expecting him to be more active now that he had become Head of State.
Mr Lungu said it was an insult to Zambians for President Sata to have resorted to face book as a medium of communicating his policy pronouncements adding that every reasonable and civilized leader in the world had always opened himself to the public through press conferences. He wondered what it was President Sata was trying to achieve by going into hiding and communicating to the people through face book which was restricted to a small population.
“If President Sata is enjoying good health, why has he gone into hibernation and only appearing to the people through still pictures? Even when we have motion pictures, there is no voice of the President. We are deeply concerned and the continued absence of President Sata from public appearances is causing a lot of anxieties and tension in the country.
“ We cannot have a President who does not speak to the people. Every President in the world holds a press conference where they are subjected to scrutiny by journalists and we want to see Mr Sata interacting with the media and taking questions from them. What kind of a President do we have who does not want to hold press conferences and yet when he was in the opposition, he could call a media briefing at every opportunity,” Mr Lungu said.
And MMD chairperson for international relations ambassador Joyce Musenge said Zambia was going to miss out on a lot of important business and economic discussions at the US Africa Business Summit because most Heads of State would not be willing to interact with a Vice-President.
Ambassador Musenge said Dr Scott was not the best to attend the Summit because the meeting was exclusively meant for African heads of State and that the Vice-President would be excluded from attending selected high profile discussions because of his position.
She said President Sata whom government was insisting was enjoying good health should have found time to attend the US Africa Business Summit because the meeting was an opportunity for Zambia to attract the best investment.
Ambassador Musenge said the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) for which US President Barack Obama was working to build his legacy in Africa should have been an avenue for Zambia to spell out its opportunities.
The US Africa Business Summit was the first of its kind and that it was important for President Sata to have found time to attend instead of delegating Dr Scott who was likely to miss important round table discussions by Africa’s Heads of State.