AS the year 2018 comes to an end Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Mr. Amos Chanda tonight featured on Diamond TV live phone in programme to answer pertinent issues of the nation with regard to the presidency.
To begin his discussion Mr. Chanda put to ease any speculations of the Presidents whereabouts by announcing again that that there was nothing wrong with the President and that President Edgar Lungu is currently in Luangwa on a working vacation as he readies himself for a busy 2019.
He however, complained that the coming of social media which has many advantages has also some disadvantages as there has been an increase of malicious propaganda and spread of misinformation.
He added that the Presidency has observed from before will always remain open and never operate in secrecy.
And with regards to complaints on borrowing, public finances, taxation and accusations of corruption, Mr Chanda revealed that the main reason President Lungu got into politics was his concern for the people and now that he has ascended to power he has had to make some tough decisions that injure his political career as they hit the people hard in the interim but are for the good of the people in the long run.
“The very thing that took him into politics is his concern about the people.. but to suggest that people started suffering with starting of his presidency is incorrect, he knows the priority of the poor but again we must be evident based,” Mr Chanda said.
“…The idea of government is to deliver a service…the idea of anyone seeking office is to go there and make a difference. [Fuel, electricity] he did say it was a painful decision (to up tariffs) but he had to approve cost reflective tariffs. There was a national report that if no measures were taken to change power tariffs this economy would contract by 30 percent.”
“So do u want the tariffs yo be at 10 percent and kill the economy in three months so that people do not feel the pain?” Mr. Chanda asked.
“He sympathies with the pain people feel but he said he tried to be a ‘surgeon’. If you say this wound is too deep we can not put a surgical knife in there, you will end up with an amputation.”
And when asked on the Presidents stance on corruption Mr. Chanda said President Lungu was actively fighting corruption but the only problem was that people want a blood letting; “and this idea must seriously go, when there is an investigation going on you can not fire somebody unless there is credible evidence as was the case in the Ministry of Infrastructure.”
He highlighted that the officers fired at Infrastructure the story has been quiet because no politician was involved but one can see that action was done.
He added that a minister was equally fired in an apparent reference to [Kambwili] when too much evidence was pointing at him with regard to corruption.
And to emphasis and give justification of President Lungu’s active fight against corruption, Mr. Chanda pointed out that President Lungu has institutionalized the fight against corruption.
“President Lungu has upgraded offices, he has upgraded audit offices. If you look at the audit report it’s half the size… this is an institutional reaction,” Mr Chanda said.
“Let me make it clear he [President Lungu] has made it very clear to us that we are not going to be bullied to go on an ant hill, shout at someone, send police and direct the arrest of someone as long as you have an allegation and you are in an elevated position… that he will not do.
Mr Chanda said President Lungu is committed to instutionalizing corruption and giving the investigative agencies the space they need.
He highlighted that even the critical FIC whom Patriotic Front members wanted abolished, President Lungu met them and assured them of their autonomy.