PRESIDENT Michael Sata has warned opposition leaders against criminalising visits their colleagues make to State House.

There have been squabbles in the opposition MMD over their officials who visit State House.

MMD national secretary Maj Richard Kachingwe and Mafinga member of parliament Catherine Namugala have been condemned by some of their colleagues in the party over their alleged visits to State House, with Copperbelt MMD youths also challenging Petauke Central member of parliament Dora Siliya to explain her visit to State House.

In response, Maj Kachingwe said there was nothing wrong with MMD officials visiting State House, a remark that has not been received well by senior members who are now pushing for his expulsion from the former ruling party.
But President Sata has described the quarrels as counterproductive.

"As Head of State, I find it regrettable that visiting State House must be criminalised by those with vested interests. Surely, by now we must be seen to be departing from this type of pedestal politics as a nation," President Sata said in a statement released by his special assistant for press and public relations George Chellah.

"Let me reaffirm that State House remains open and as elected representatives of the people, we look forward to greater and progressive forms of engagement with different stakeholders, including the opposition."
The President said he was available to meet any Zambian on matters of national interest.

"Historically, State House has been visited by people from all walks of life and I shall therefore not segregate for as long as my schedule permits and intending visitors follow laid down processes, and their intentions are in the interest of national building and unity," stated President Sata.

"As leaders, if we genuinely desire to serve the Zambian people, we must respectfully and in the spirit of consultation, consensus and nation building engage each other for the benefit of the general populace and the country."