State House special assistant to the President for press and public relations Isaac Chipampe addresses journalists at State House on February 19, 2020 – Picture by Tenson Mkhala
SPECIAL Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Isaac Chipampe says President Edgar Lungu does not need to take part in a Presidential debate to persuade people to vote for him.

And Chipampe says opposition leaders should not expect invitation cards for state functions to be dropped at their doorsteps.

In an interview, Chipampe said Presidential debates were not in the Constitution and that it was wrong to force anyone to take part.

He added that there was no need for President Lungu to take part in a Presidential debate because people could see how he had developed the country in the shortest period.

“I think there is no time for Presidential debates. Presidential debates are not even in our Constitution. So, it is just those who want to appear on TV to debate [that] can appear, nobody will stop them. But as far as Presidential debates are concerned, they are not in the Constitution to force anyone to do them. Each Presidential candidate I am sure has his or her own strategy on how they want to convince or persuade the Zambian people to vote for them, Presidential debate or no Presidential debate,” Chipampe said.

“I think for those who are not in government, maybe it is an opportunity for them. But for President Lungu, people can see what he has done. He doesn’t need to persuade people through Presidential debates, people can see how he has developed this country in the shortest period of time. So, he doesn’t need a Presidential debate.”vlcsnap-1962015

Chipampe further said Dr Kaunda’s state funeral was one of the best state events, in terms of organisation.

“Let me put it this way, the most important thing is a proper and deserving send-off for his Excellency Dr Kenneth Kaunda our first Republican president, our founding father for this nation. He deserves a proper send-off. I think the Zambian government has done a well-deserved job, a well commendable job in terms of a proper send-off for Dr Kaunda, because he deserved it. The government led by his Excellency Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu has done a commendable job in terms of preparations and the ongoing send-off, firstly by according people the opportunity to mourn his excellency Dr Kaunda in all provinces. That has been done,” Chipampe said.

“Secondly by according him a proper state funeral, everyone who saw it, either on TV or by going to the Showgrounds would tell you that it was one of the best state events in terms of organisation. I think the military was on point, the people who were singing were on point, the master of ceremony did a commendable job, Brigadier General Mwenya as usual. Everything was done properly, sticking to time. As you heard, the speeches were fantastic, including the speech by his Excellency the President, I think it was appropriate for the host President.”

And commenting on the non-attendance of some opposition leaders at the state funeral, Chipampe said opposition leaders should not expect invitation cards for state functions to be dropped at their door steps

“The issue of who didn’t attend and who attended as far as his Excellency is concerned is a non-issue. As far as the President is concerned what matters is how we are doing the send-off, how Dr Kaunda is being respected. That is what matters to him, individuals don’t matter, personal interests, grudges, egos and so forth don’t matter at all. As the President said those who won’t make it to showgrounds will watch it on TV and there were a lot of Zambians, not only in Lusaka, who watched on TV. They have no issue because all of us could not get into the showgrounds. The President as you know through Cabinet invites opposition leaders to attend this function,” said Chipampe.

“All the opposition cannot expect the invitations to be delivered on their door steps. What usually happens is that opposition leaders send their people to pick these cards from Cabinet Office. As far as Cabinet Office is concerned, all opposition leaders were invited. So, you cannot force people who don’t want to attend the function to attend. Those who wanted to attend, I saw a couple of the opposition leaders, they picked their letters. That is just to tell you what happens. For President Lungu what matters is a proper send-off for his excellency. He won’t be diverted from that by those who are grumbling about not being invited and being invited, what matters is the proper send-off.”


  1. Let also UPND stay away from ZNBC debates. It is pointless to debate with those who can not challenge PF or can never get closer to governing the nation.

  2. Chipampe must be a very dull person, anyway what kind of people can Lungu get as his aide? Can you compare Lungu to Biden? Clinton? Obama? and many others who have debated before elections?

  3. Lungu can not debate. That is the truth. His depth of knowledge on many issues is shallow. Many presidents do debate. Even grumpy Trump did debates. I have watched Dictator Museveni debating Covid 19.Museveni reads and is knowledgeable. Whether one debates or does not debate depends on their level of confidence and their grasp and knowledge of facts. Someone anywhere refusing to debate fears to be challenged on facts and to be exposed as ignorant.

  4. Arrogance! May be office of president should also be run by Chief Justice during campaigns so that the playing field is leveled…..that’s the sense that should have been in bill 10 not the nonsense that they proposed!!!

  5. debates are good and healthy. it gives people chance to understand or even ask tough questions why things have gone wrong or right under someone’s watch and what the hope for the better day is. why would somebody prefer rallies where they wont be asked questions and avoid debates where tough questions will be asked?????? the question is why is the economy so bad now than ever before in history under the current government?? What message do they have to turn around the weakening economy if we give them another 5 year mandate???? Covid-19 is everywhere in the world but the economies of many countries including SADC havent degrade to the level it has for Zambia. How come individuals have amassed so much wealth when government remain poor. those r the questions voters need answers for in debates.

  6. we are not interested in tribal debates, but economic debates! things that put food on the table. issues of bread and butter. we want intelligent debates not shallow cadre interpretation of the state of the economy, no. we have economists who understand the state of the economy. other issue is integrity of elections, what punishment has been metted on chavula the IT expert who found himself in the server room at mulungushi, a place supposed to be secure??? why chairperson was announcing wrong results in some regions?? those questions can be answered in debates


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