President Sata, whose state of health has been a subject of public debate in recent months, told the workers who had turned up for the event that he was “enjoying good health,” echoing his comments from this past Good Friday, while taunting his opponents who were not present at the state function.
“Where is Nevers Mumba? Where is HH? They are not here because they are ashamed that I look healthy,” President Sata said. “Do I look sick? Does anyone who is sick look like me? What type of leaders are these who wish others death?”
Other observers have noted that throughout Mr. Sata’s 10-plus years as an opposition leader, he never attended official functions.
Despite the president’s expressed strength, he also made an unusual reference to the possibility of appointing a successor to continue leading a Patriotic Front government after his retirement.
Sata said he had “a lot people” lined up to succeeed him in the PF, where rumours of infighting among future presidential suitors are rife.
“Go and tell them that I am still alive. We have a lot of people in PF who are ready to take over.”
President Sata’s infrequent appearances before the media have fueled speculation among concerned citizens over the possibility of diminished ability to govern. Now, in the last 3 appearances before reporters, Sata has made reference to his own health, which is understood as a sign that it is a highly sensitive topic for Zambia’s head of state.