STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka
PRESIDENT Lungu says there is no dictatorship in Zambia because he could not have been consulting or seeking opinions of others
on national issues if he was an authoritarian.
The President says a dictator does not consult or take insults like he does.
“I have taken so much, I have been punched so much, but I have not hit back. But, obviously, I can hit back because I am a human being,” he said.
He was speaking to journalists at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport yesterday shortly before leaving for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to attend the 28th Summit of the African Union (AU).
President Lungu said he believes people should be given enough latitude to talk and criticise because that is what democracy is all about.
The head of State has vowed not to be distracted from doing his job because he is not a dictator.
“The opposition are enjoying the coverage that you are giving them as they insult me because I am President. When you insult the President, you get coverage. Freedom of the press allows that.
“But I think they should find more substantive issues to deal with and not deal with me because I am very busy. I have told the Church that I will meet them and I will hear their voice. The bishops spoke publicly but I will speak to them in privacy, and that’s not what a dictator does,” he said.
President Lungu said the opposition are abusing the freedom of the press but he will not take them on because if he does, he will be elevating them to his level, which is dignified.
“For me it’s not about getting mileage and prominence by insulting me, humiliating me and saying things,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Lungu says Zambia needs to bring up children, especially the girl child, in a manner that will make them to be useful citizens so that the country does not lose the future.
President Lungu says if the youth, particularly the girl child, are protected, Zambia will be building its future.
This year’s AU Summit theme is ‘Harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in youths’.
The President said his government is interested in harvesting democratic dividends from people.
“For the girl child, life starts in the womb and grows under the tutorage of the mother in a home. Without a good mother – a mother who knows when to take the child to school – to under-five and all those little things, then there is no future for the nation. A dedicated mother will know how and when to feed the children,” he said.
The head of State said the issue of raising the girl child is a very intricate matter.
“We need to begin analysing why some mothers neglect the girl child. The mother is the starting point for life. So we are doing this for the future of this country,” he said.