Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda said purported statement from State House was false as it had no markings of official correspondence.
“It is absolutely false, people who invest in this have too much idle time on their hands. It is historical when President Kenneth Kaunda went to Mfuwe, he came back with a list of reshuffles, this President (President Lungu) has his own style and he has his own way of doing things,” Chanda said.
“If he wants he can make cabinet reshuffle from where he was in South Luangwa, he can do it, and if he wants he can make it in State House. He can announce anytime there is no standing order as some politician who was boasting about knowing government procedure, totally ignorant, far from the truth, there is no standing order that designates to announce when the President is out.”
He added: “State House according to the circumstances of the time, will either announce when the President has gone, they can announce a day before or at the airport, there is no standing order contrary to that falsehood. I know of a neighbouring country, the established protocol is that they announce when the President is halfway through the journey, another country without embarrassing them, they announce when the President has arrived at the destination. You can’t say there is an order that says when the President gets on the plane there is got to be an announcement.”
Chanda said the Presidency had been bombarded with a lot of calls over the alleged reshuffles.
“It has had an impact we received calls, State House is inundated with calls from diplomats, you can imagine the people supposedly affected and purported to have been removed, it has an effect of causing some disruption in normal government operations, disruption in the markets because business people want to reconfigure the relationships, they want to see whether there is policy shift,” he said.
“It has an effect not just to disrupt government but to disrupt the markets. It is mischievous for people to invest time in purveying falsehoods especially around the Presidency, it is very serious to announce a falsehood around the Presidency especially to say this is statement A when in fact this is Statement B.”
The Presidential aide also shed light on the standard procedure of announcing Presidential statements.
“Statements from State House are very clear, the protocol surrounding the announcement of statements from State House is I (Chanda) will announce it, it will have a stamp above and below. It will be confirmed within 30 minutes by the state broadcaster ZNBC, the Ministry of Information will confirm should there be a situation where I am unreachable. The public newspapers will carry the statement on their website versions that this is a statement,” he said.
“If a statement like that falsehood is seen within 30 minutes if ZNBC does not carry it then the public can ignore it. If it means interrupting a transmission, we will do so.”
A statement has been doing the rounds in the aftermath of President Lungu’s retreat at Mfuwe with speculations over why he opted to leave out his aides rife.
Chanda also parried allegations of corruption among some Presidential aides.
“State House a stringent clearance system, we will not clear anyone with a criminal record to see the President. All the people around the President do not have criminal records, no one is secluded from that,” he said.