Uncertainty about President Michael Sata’s whereabouts and health status have greatly affected the ongoing preparations of the Zambia Agriculture and Commercial show as some exhibitors have expressed reluctance in participating.
Sources from the organizing committee and the ministry of Commerce have told the Watchdog that some exhibitors who usually confirm participation as early as three months in advance have kept a low profile and this may make this year’s agriculture show piece to be the poorest attended and participated.
The source further said that the uncertainty also affected the recently held Zambia international Trade fair in Ndola where only a handful of exhibitors, mostly government departments and parastatal organizations participated. The number of show goers also reduced compared to the past years. Sata has been unseen in public for close to a month now without any concrete statement from either statehouse or government.
“You know it takes a lot of cost for some organizations to transport products to exhibit and also the cost of upkeep for their staff, because government has kept the President’s health as a secret people are reluctant. Some are even saying that they fear that after transporting their wares they may find that the show is cancelled in the event of a state funeral,” said the source.
The show is expected to run from 31st July to 5th August 2014 but a check revealed that only a few stands were receiving renovations. Even the small scale business people who rent stands from the show society committee have also been reluctant to pay until they get confirmation that all will be well.