By MAIMBO MWEEMBA
Transparency International Zambia (TI-Z) says they are concerned with the inconsistencies and contradictions in media statements attributed to top political and government officials within the UPND administration.
TI-Z executive director Maurice Nyambe said that in the recent past, government positions on issues such as the true stock of public debt, Mukula trade, president’s travel arrangements and the presence of cadres in markets and bus stations, among others, have been issued by different officials, with significant contradictions.
Mr Nyambe said that the political party officials within the UPND party and its alliance partners have been issuing statements on government business without noting the distinction between political party affairs and affairs of the state.
“Honourable Chushi Kasanda, who by virtue of being Minister of Information and Media is the Chief Government Spokesperson, has largely remained mute on critical governance issues, while different ministers, party officials and other top government officials have been issuing inconsistent statements,” he said.
Mr Nyambe has since called upon the UPND government to urgently harmonize their public statements by developing and implementing a clear communication strategy.
“Government should generate consolidated positions on national issues before any statements are issued to the public. For instance, there is still need for a clear position on whether there is indeed hidden public debt, following apparent contradictions between President Hichilema’s statement on BBC Focus on Africa on 1st September 2021, and Finance Minister Musokotwane’s Ministerial Statement to Parliament on 5th October 2021,” he said.
And he has also suggested that all government official positions should initially be issued through the Chief Government Spokesperson.
Mr Nyambe further said that political party functionaries from the UPND and its alliance partners should refrain from issuing statements on matters that relate to the state.
“It is our considered view that implementing a clear strategy for communicating will help government to engage better with the Zambian public, whilst also preventing the embarrassment of giving contradictory positions over the same issues,” he said.