PRESIDENT Michael Sata has certainly scored a first by signing up on Facebook which will accord him a platform on which to interact with the Zambian people and others beyond the frontiers of the country.
The President’s decision to utilise the social media to communicate his views on national issues demonstrates his resolve to reach out to every Zambian and to be able to get feedback from them at the shortest possible time.
The step taken by the Head of State stems from the recognition of the massive benefits that have come with advanced technology in this global village.
It is also in tandem with the determined strides Government is making to promote the usage of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) right from the formative stages of childhood to every sphere of human activity in the country.
Technology has made communication easier in that at the click of a button, information would be disseminated to a wider audience.
This is what has motivated many other world leaders to join Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media which are fast proving to be effective modes of spreading out information and connecting with the masses in a fruitful way.
It is a pity that some jackals, or freeloading valueless individuals, have hijacked the social media for their selfish interests.
These are clueless people who have demonstrated their ignorance on the code of conduct that offers protection to all citizens of this country, but such chicanery cannot endure for long.
President Sata has joined eminent global leaders who are using social media for news and valuable analysis on business, economics, technology, culture, politics and other aspects of people’s lives.
The case in point is the response he gave yesterday to the growing disquiet on Zambia’s external debt and his assurance that the country is not about to slip into another debt trap because what is being encouraged is borrowing for the right reasons.
Since his surprise entry into the social media network last weekend, the number of people visiting President Sata’s page has shot up to more than 20,000 subscribers, an indication that the Head of State enjoys a lot of popularity
He also has given relief to the Zambian people who, on many issues he will be sharing with them, will not have to beat the bureaucracy that usually impedes communication.
This is a positive step especially that it is following on the heels of the State House website which was launched to allow citizens to know Government’s development agenda.
We urge Government to ensure ICT facilities are not beyond the affordability of many Zambians who should not be left out of such useful exchange of information as with the President.
It is a known fact that many people, particularly in rural areas, do not have access to computers although they have quickly tapped into the mobile phone industry.
It would be a tremendous achievement for Zambia if more people could afford phones with internet connectivity so that they could be able to participate in these new developments.
As Mr Sata has aptly stated, anything that gives people an opportunity to interact with the President is a welcome move.