“We expect the Head of State when he is speaking to the nation to explain to us why he is always out of the country week in and week out.
“(People) expect the Head of State to explain why he is always out of the country instead of attending to the problems that are here. They expect the Head of State to inform the nation about the returns that are coming out of his multiple journeys that he is making each and every week.
“Hon. Speaker, if the Head of the Nation takes out US$6 million every week going out of the country, the nation needs to know how much he is bringing in by his going out.”
HON. P. D. SIBANDA: Thank you Madam Speaker for allowing me also to debate on the issue of the Presidential Speech that was presented last year. Before I even get into the merits of my matter, it is important that I indicate that in normal and ordinary countries, when the Head of State is going to give a speech, it is either through a normal Presidential Speech or State of the Nation Address, usually business comes to a standstill.
Hon. Speaker, an address by a President of a country is not a normal address. It is not something that is ordinary. It is usually something that is extraordinary because it is a speech by the Chief Executive of the country. Usually it is a speech that is intended to outline the major challenges that the nation is facing, including the symptoms that some of my colleagues have already highlighted. When the Head of State is speaking, you expect to hear touchable and real solutions to the challenges that the nation is facing. The speech by the Head of State is a speech that is supposed to give the nation the direction that the country is going to take in a certain given period of time. Therefore, a speech by the President is not an ordinary speech, it is an extraordinary speech; it is an important speech in a country. Ordinarily, it is supposed to bring business to a standstill.
However, in this country, I have realised that be it the State of the Nation Address or be it any other speech by the President; because we are all aware that the President does not make speeches every day except during campaigns that you might be able to see him on television now and again making speeches. Ordinarily, when there are no campaigns, when you see the Head of State coming into Parliament to make a speech, you all pay attention. It is a speech that is supposed to grab the attention of the nation.
I have realised, the few years that I have been in Parliament that in this country, even when the Head of State is going to address, it is business as usual. People do not pay attention. It does not grab the attention of the population. I have always been wondering why that is the scenario. When the Head of State speaks, there are certain things that you expect, especially the one that he gave when he was opening Parliament, we expected that the Head of State was obviously going to speak to issues of our 98% unemployment rate; the crumbling health sector, highlight on the education sector that has become a pale shadow of what is known of it or that he would speak about rampant corruption that is bedeviling this nation, especially the public sector like my colleague Hon. Tshuma indicated.
Continued next page