Video – Republic of Zambia address by His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu President of The Republic of Zambia on The Progress Made in the Application of The National Values and Principles delivered to The Fourth Session of The Twelfth National Assembly on Friday, 6th March 2020
Republic of Zambia address by His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu President of The Republic of Zambia on The Progress Made in the Application of The National Values and Principles delivered to The Fourth Session of The Twelfth National Assembly on Friday, 6th March 2020
- Before I proceed with my address, let me take this opportunity to request the honourable members to stand and join me in observing a Minute of Silence in Honour of the late Member of Parliament for Chilubi Constituency, Honourable Rosario Chailunga Fundanga, who passed away on 20th November, 2019 as well as our people who lost their lives at the hands of mobs following gassing incidents across the country.
(Minute of Silence)
- May the soul of the departed Member of Parliament and our Brothers and Sisters Rest in Eternal Peace!
- Members of this august house, the people of Chilubi and the nation at large will fondly remember the late Honourable Fundanga for her invaluable contribution to this house, her constituency and the nation at large. May her soul rest in eternal peace.
- Following the passing on of Honourable Fundanga, the people of Chilubi elected a new Member of Parliament on Thursday 13th February 2020. Let me, therefore, welcome Honourable Mulenga Fube, MP to the house.
- I congratulate you on your election. In the same vein, I commend all those who participated in the Chilubi by-election for exercising their democratic right and enhancing our growing democracy.
- It is more than three months ago since Zambia woke up to a horrible reality that the country was under attack from unknown people who not just inflicted physical harm but also applied psychological warfare on our people.
- The launch pad was Chingola but since then many parts of Zambia have experienced this inhuman phenomenon of gas attacks on our people, often culminating in loss of lives at the hands of mobs, acting in the name of ‘community justice’. These coordinated gas attacks have triggered irrational mob attacks on suspects, vandalism of public property, death of innocent lives and constant fear among our people in many communities.
- We have witnessed merciless killings of innocent people in not only Chingola but also in other parts of our motherland. We have equally witnessed merciless reactions from citizens after these killings. We have witnessed spraying of chemicals on families, school children, and the public in general.
- We have witnessed repulsive reactions by citizens, including stoning and burning of suspects. We have seen horrifying pictures on social media. We have also witnessed mass hysteria; people reacting violently to rumours of attacks; failing to sleep for fear of the worst.
- We have lost in excess of 50 lives of people murdered by various mobs across the country. About 24 people have survived, either saved by security people or Good Samaritans, like traditional or religious leaders.
- Regrettably, in some cases, my government is aware that some traditional leaders and church leaders have either directly or indirectly fueled and instigated these mob attacks.
- As if that is not enough, in the ensuing confusion, police have shot people. Some of those who have died in the most unfortunate circumstances include, schoolboys, Frank Mugala aged only 14; and Sydney Moonga, aged 17.
- The deaths of these two boys and other citizens are incomprehensibly regrettable, and my heart goes out to the bereaved families. This is what the enemy achieved in their effort to destabilize our peaceful nation.
- Twenty-six (26) suspects have so far been arrested and investigations are still going on; while the security situation has generally improved.
- It has been observed however that, the enemy has shifted focus to the rural areas where false information is now being given to the public with a view to inciting citizens to rise and cause public disorder.
- Let me thank the headmen, headwomen, religious and community leaders, civil servants and individual citizens who have played a major role in rescuing victims that have almost been lynched by mobs. Your Samaritan gesture of citizen patriotism and good neighbourliness is highly commendable.
- In the same vein, let me strongly warn those headmen and women, religious, civic and all community leaders encouraging mob justice that the law will soon catch up with you. The state shall catch up with the enemies of the state and isolate them from the Zambian population.
- At this juncture, i wish to thank the men and women in uniform for their gallant efforts to restore order and peace. Their work is not over. Neither is ours. As Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces and Head of State and Government, I want to promise Zambians that the enemies of our people will be crushed and buried.
- To this effect, I am seriously considering constituting a commission of inquiry to get to the bottom of these gassing and mob attacks, and be rest assured that all the culprits will be brought to book regardless of their standing in society.
- The enemy will surely be defeated, without any doubt, and life will return to normal for our people sooner than later.
- The people of this great nation, Zambia have, through the constitution, mandated the president of the republic to address this august house at least twice in a session of parliament. The first mandatory address being the official opening of parliament in September and the second being this march address, on the national values and principles, in accordance with Article 9, Sub-Article (2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia.
- Today, therefore, I am here to address the house and the nation at large on the progress the country has made in the application of national values and principles which should define who we are as a people.
- This is the fourth time i am addressing parliament and the nation on the progress made in the application of our national values and principles. As I undertake this constitutional duty, it should be noted that inculcating national values and principles and building a nation’s character is a long term undertaking, requiring concerted efforts by all stakeholders.
- The country has equally witnessed violence during elections. We need to make a deliberate effort to work with one another for the benefit of our motherland. We have one choice and that only choice is to succeed as one nation. But we can only succeed in tackling the challenges we face as a nation, if we accept to see ourselves as “One Zambia, One Nation, and One People”. Elections should not divide us into perpetual political hostility and warring camps!
- It goes without saying that we cannot improve the lives of our people through political violence. It is disheartening that we continue experiencing violence during elections. It is an abomination that we should even lose lives because of an election. One Zambian life lost is one life too many.
- Let me sound a stern warning that enough is enough. I direct all law enforcement agencies to arrest the situation once and for all. There should be no sacred cows in administering justice. Similarly, we should have no Sacrificial Lambs! The law should always take its full course on perpetrators of political violence or mob attacks, regardless of one’s political affiliation or any other consideration. Tribalism and hate speech has no place in Zambia. Politicians, please stop it!
- Government is equally concerned with the escalation of negative sentiments based on narrow sectarian interests. Our country is a nation of 73 ethnic groupings. We all have an equal stake in this country. There is no merit in anyone trying to demean other citizens based on tribe, so as to gain political mileage. There should be an immediate stop to this negative and divisive trend. Tribalism and hate speech has no place in Zambia. Politician, please stop it!
- Let me now restate to the house and the nation, the set of national values and principles that we have embraced for ourselves as enshrined in article 8 of the constitution of the Republic of Zambia. These are:
(i) Morality and Ethics;
(ii) Patriotism and National Unity;
(iii) Democracy and Constitutionalism;
(iv) Human dignity, equity, social justice, equality and non-discrimination;
(v) Good governance and integrity; and
(vi) Sustainable development.
- These values and principles influence our attitude, behaviour and conduct as a people. They also contribute to the conscience of the nation and provide a moral compass in the formulation of policy and running of government, businesses and one’s personal life. The importance of these national values and principles cannot, therefore, be over-emphasised.
- I will now proceed to highlight the progress we have made as a nation on the application of each of our national values and principles.
Morality and ethics
- Morality and ethics is about what we as a people consider to be socially acceptable and desirable. These include hospitality, generosity, and respect for elders, the environment, human life, and property.
- Let me thank the distinguished countrymen and women who are living to defend hard work, generosity, integrity, respect for human life, elders and public property.
- To all Zambians who have said no to mob justice, chemical spraying, and disregard for human life; to all Zambians who have respect for elders, property, and the environment, I want to salute and thank you for upholding good morals and ethics.
- I would like to call upon the church, traditional leaders, teachers, parents and guardians to fully take up their god given role of positively guiding and mentoring our children and youth to become responsible citizens who value and uphold hard work, honesty, respect for human life, respect for elders, respect for property and respect for the environment. This involves valuing integrity, hard work, loyalty and honesty.
- There are, however, vices that are prevalent in our communities such as child marriage; Gender Based Violence (GBV); as well as alcohol and substance abuse, which degrade our moral fibre. These vices are detrimental to the health and wellbeing of our society. We must all proactively guard against them.
- Alcohol and substance abuse remains a matter of public concern. Alcohol and substance abuse is a significant contributing factor to gender based violence, promiscuity and the spread of HIV and AIDS. Alcohol and substance abuse also contributes to road traffic accidents, low productivity, and social disorder.
Due to abuse of alcohol, we are now seeing more families breaking up and a general decline in moral values. As a country, we must not allow ourselves to lose our moral compass.
- Consequently, my government will not relent in sensitising the people on the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse. To this effect, we sensitised 644,940 people in 2019 as compared to 486,104 in 2018 on the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse. This milestone was achieved through public awareness programmes carried out in institutions of learning, workplaces and community-based structures.
- In addition, my government is providing counselling and rehabilitation to drug dependent persons. In 2019, government supported 797 clients compared to 757 in 2018. Further, 471 cases involving learners in institutions of learning were handled as compared to 367 in 2018.
- I applaud authorities in those institutions that were able to identify vulnerable learners and facilitated counselling and rehabilitation. The authorities must go further to identify the root causes of delinquency among our learners because, we need a drug-free environment in our institutions of learning.
- I, therefore, call upon parents, the communities and the church to take keen interest in the welfare of our children.
- Government is equally aware of the abuse of drugs among sportsmen and sportswomen. This is why government has continued to implement the ‘anti-doping in sport programme’. In 2019, government sensitised 3,000 sportsmen and sportswomen, comprising 2,000 males and 1,000 females.
- My government will continue to conduct anti-doping training and awareness campaigns. We value the role sport plays in building character and imparting positive values.
- Developments in information and communication technology have transformed our society. It is interesting to see how information and communication technology has enhanced the way we acquire information and knowledge, as well as how we are able to reach all corners of the world at the touch of a button. As of 30th September 2019, the country had an estimated 9.1 million active internet users, representing an internet penetration rate of 52.2 percent. This is above the continental average of 35.9 percent.
- The digital era has, positively and negatively, impacted morality and ethics in ways we could hardly have imagined a few years ago. The digital era has rapidly changed the way we conduct our business, politics, education, careers and much more.
Our people can easily access useful information that is helpful in their businesses, careers or education. While some of our people use this technology appropriately, it is of concern to my government that others use it to violate human rights and to commit crime.
- Formulation of stringent laws and enforcement could deter some of our people in the habit of circulating inappropriate materials. Yet again, culprits of these indiscretions cannot be brought to book if the information technology regulator and the police do not coordinate to track them down.
- I am happy to inform the house that the two organs have arrested some criminals so far and some are undergoing trial in court of law. But this is not enough, social media abuse is in fact getting worse by the day. Have we not seen pictures of accident victims being splashed on social media? Have we not seen pictures of human beings being stoned and burnt, lately on social media? The abuse of social media is real and the battle is far from being won.
- In 2019, sensitisation programmes on the appropriate use of social media were conducted in 70 secondary schools, covering 15 districts in Western and Copperbelt provinces. These programmes targeted pupils, members of staff and district education boards. I am happy that our schools are responding positively to these interventions.
- In addition, training of more Zambia Police officers in Cyber-Crime Detection and Forensic Investigation has been undertaken.
- I am equally gratified that a number of print media, radio and television stations are increasingly promoting discussions on these important subjects of Social Media and Cyber-Crime. Let us introspect and rethink how we interact with information and communication technology platforms. Let us not abuse great inventions created to improve our lives.
- In line with my government’s commitment to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) and the “National Strategy on Ending Child Marriage”, our vision is to reduce child marriage in 2021 by 40 per cent and to have a Zambia free from child marriage by 2030.
- The incidences of child marriages and teenage pregnancies in the country are of great concern. It is morally unacceptable to force young girls into early marriages. This denies them the right to enjoy their childhood, a healthy life and an uninterrupted education. It is for this reason, that we are working with traditional leaders to curb this scourge in their respective chiefdoms. In 2019, government sensitised 146 traditional leaders in 14 districts of eastern, central and north-western provinces.
- The initiative of working with traditional leaders in ending child marriages won the country a gold award for innovative management at the 2019 African Association of Public Administration and Management Round table Conference in Cairo, Egypt. This accolade must inspire us to work hard and do more in eradicating child marriages.
- I want to commend our traditional leaders who have taken it upon themselves to withdraw children from marriages and taken them back to school. Notable among them are Chief Madzimawe, Chief Mumena and the late Chief Nyamphande the Fourth. We want to see more of such affirmative action across our chiefdoms. This is a clear demonstration that once our traditional leaders, civic and religious leaders partner with government to address social vices, a lot can be achieved.
- Apart from child marriage, our communities are grappling with the problem of teenage pregnancy. To this effect, government has continued implementing the adolescent health strategy. In 2019, 1,967 health workers and 3,025 Peer Educators were trained in adolescent health. Currently, the country has 464 health facilities offering adolescent health services. This is all in a bid to ensure that our teenagers are well informed about reproductive health and the dangers of teenage pregnancy.
- A number of stakeholders are complementing government’s efforts in addressing teenage pregnancy. Government is, therefore, appreciative of the initiative taken by stakeholders in introducing a website on reproductive health education and sensitisation. This tool is complementing the traditional outreach programmes to raise awareness and prevent the occurrence of teenage pregnancies among our children.
The increasing number of child defilement cases, remains a great concern to government. Our sensitisation programmes against this vice have resulted in an increase in the number of cases being reported and dealt with. A total of 2,653 cases of defilement comprising 2,637 girls and 16 boys were reported throughout the country in 2019, while 2,578 were reported in 2018 of which 2,574 were girls and 4 were boys.
- We need to do more to address this challenge. I, therefore, implore our traditional leaders, families, the church, civil society and law enforcement agencies to redouble efforts in protecting our innocent children. Families must desist from the temptation of protecting perpetrators from facing the law.
- Gender-Based Violence is a social cultural matter that continues to erode the moral fibre of our society. It is saddening to note that the number of gender based violence cases reported countrywide increased from 22,073 in 2018 to 25,121 in 2019. The majority of victims were women and girls, accounting for 19,720 cases. While we appreciate the efforts being made to report these cases, our collective effort should also be on reducing the incidences of gender based violence in our communities. Let us inculcate good morals in our children from a tender age. This way, they will grow up to be loving, caring and respectful citizens.
- To this end, my government is taking a holistic approach in combating the vice. This includes sensitisation of the public, prosecution of perpetrators as well as protection and rehabilitation of victims.
- To facilitate the protection, rehabilitation and legal support to victims of Gender Based Violence, 32 One-Stop Centres have been established in selected hospitals in all the ten provinces.
- We have also continued to establish fast track courts across the country. We now have 7 Fast Track Courts, with one additional Fast Track Court having been established in Kitwe in 2019. These courts are facilitating the speedy disposal of Gender Based Violence cases.
- In my last address on national values and principles, I informed this august house that my government had put in place measures to bring examination malpractices to an end.
- I am glad to report that in 2019 the country recorded malpractice-free examinations. I commend the teachers, learners, parents and other stakeholders for this achievement. This is as it should be. We cannot build a progressive Zambia if the foundation of our children is based on deceit and falsehood.
Patriotism and National Unity
- Every Zambian has a duty to love this country, defend its interests and work for the unity of the nation regardless of one’s race, tribe, religion or political affiliation. We equally have to build our unity around the motto of One Zambia, One Nation. This is the heartbeat in fostering political stability, national unity and sustainable development.
- One way of showing love for our country is to care for public assets such as road signs mounted to guide road users and minimise accidents. Love for our country includes our animals, which are our national heritage. I bring this issue up as a result of the recent killing of 2 rhinos by an overspeeding driver. That action was unpatriotic. I am glad that the culprit was brought to book.
- As president of the republic, in the recent spate of gassing incidents, I found it very shameful, unacceptable and regrettable to see our own people vandalising police stations, schools, market places, hospitals and other public infrastructure.
- When people vandalized these public assets recently, we did not only undermine our own security and destroyed our much needed infrastructure, but we also denounced the values of patriotism, good citizenship, collective sovereignty and national unity.
- I want to reiterate that, we must protect public infrastructure against vandalism. We must take pride in bringing beauty to our homes, workplaces, and public places as patriotic Zambians. We must guard mother Zambia, jealously.
- Being patriotic means always being positive and speaking good about Zambia, both at home and abroad. My government is fully committed to working together with all well-meaning patriotic Zambians to market and advertise our beautiful and peaceful country.
- I have observed with concern that some of our local contractors who are awarded contracts have not delivered to the expectation of their clients. I want to see you be more patriotic by ensuring that you deliver quality works on time and within cost. To the foreign contractors, I equally want to see you deliver value for money. This is one area our development partners could help us in upholding and applying patriotism.
- My government has continued to implement the buy Zambian campaign, an important aspect of patriotism. To promote ownership and sustainability of this initiative, government is supporting the private sector to enhance the market share for Zambian products on the domestic and international markets. To this effect, local products are certified for meeting quality standards and are clearly labeled with the proudly Zambian logo. These include trade kings, Californian Beverage, ZAMBEEF, etc. As at 31st December 2019, 21 companies were registered to use the proudly Zambian campaign logo.
- The proudly Zambia logo helps us to easily identify local products in our shops or chain stores. When we support that farmer who grows oranges or vegetables in Chibombo, she will plough back the profits into growing more vegetables and oranges. This inevitably encourages her to employ more people and create more job opportunities. The more of such farmers we have, the more we are likely to attract other players in the value chain, ultimately, our economy will grow.
- The proudly Zambian campaign is being promoted through sensitisation activities at various shows and fairs in the country and abroad, as well as on radio, television and print media. It is exciting to watch all those adverts on our national television that promote Zambian manufactured goods, which our people are able to relate to and are happily willing to buy those products. That is buying proudly Zambian.
- I urge more of our companies in Zambia to take advantage of this initiative and register to be flag carriers of the buy Zambian campaign. I also urge our people to support government and Zambian businesses by buying local products who’s quality is comparable to imported products. Further, all government institutions are being encouraged to consider buying local products. This will not only promote the growth of our local industry but also contribute to the economic development of the country.
- Giving the best of ourselves in the service of others is yet another way of demonstrating patriotism. I am, therefore, encouraged by what i see happening in some of our institutions. For instance, we have been able to localise specialist treatment and build local capacity, thanks to our dedicated team of medical personnel. As a result, we have seen ground-breaking surgeries in kidney transplant, open and closed heart surgery and separation of Siamese Twins being conducted by our local medical personnel.
- I also salute our crop scientists who are dedicating
Their time to give us climate resilient seed varieties. This is contributing towards household and national food security. Being patriotic means preserving our environment against the threat and impact of climate change. I call upon every Zambian to join me in a patriotic crusade of planting trees as well as engaging in clean and smart energy generation such as solar as opposed to cutting trees and charcoal burning.
- As citizens, let us continue developing and nurturing a strong sense of devotion and attachment to our country. We need to develop a deep sense of loyalty to the nation and enduring support in defence of our country without expecting any payback or reward. Let each and every citizen make a conscience decision to put the interest of the nation first, before self. Let us promote hard work, innovation and patriotism among ourselves. It is unfortunate to see some of our own people who want to go against all this good values.
Democracy and constitutionalism
- Democracy allows everyone to freely and fairly participate in the governance of the country without any form of coercion, intimidation or discrimination. This goes hand in hand with constitutionalism, which is about upholding the rule of law by both government and the governed.
- It is in this spirit that my administration continues implementing legal reforms aimed at addressing emerging issues that hinge on democracy and the rule of law.
- The emerging issues included the lacunae surrounding some of the fundamental provisions in our constitution, concerns raised over the public order act and the need to strengthen the electoral process. Legal reforms are being undertaken following extensive consultations, with a view to enhancing the rule of law and the effective participation of our people in the running of the affairs of the nation.
- I am glad to report that my administration has made some significant progress in fostering legal reforms in addressing known lacunae. For example, I am pleased to report that many patriotic Zambians and stakeholders have taken interest in reading and assimilating the proposed provisions in the Constitutional Amendment Bill Number 10.
- In Bill 10, our chiefs and traditional leaders hope to regain their heritage security and smooth succession; political players want to see an extension to the period of Presidential Petition from 14 days to 30 days; in Bill 10, many Zambians want the Christian Nation identity to be secured and protected; in bill 10, our women, youth and the differently abled want their own representation in parliament; the judiciary want clarity of hierarchy between the Supreme Court and Concourt; in Bill 10, our people want enhanced Separations of Powers; Bank of Zambia want to see their mandate harmonized to regional and global standards; and in Bill 10, all of us want to clear and bury all legal lacunae and inconsistencies found in the current Constitution.
- The Health Insurance Act no. 2 of 2018 has made it mandatory for all Zambians to contribute to the scheme and reduce the cost of seeking medical attention. The Public Finance Management Act no. 1 of 2018, has streamlined the management of public finances, with more stringent sanctions against culprits.
- The above are some of the issues that speak to our national values and principles of democracy and constitutionalism. As citizens, it is my obligation, your obligation and our obligation to effectively, together, participate in legal reforms to enhance our democracy and progressive constitutionalism. Our legal reform process begins with the supreme law of the land. Our constitution, and all subsequent legislation that governs our nation.
- My government remains committed to upholding and fostering the key tenets of democracy, including free and fair elections, free media, citizen participation and representation, multi-party political system, citizen equality, rule of law, separation of powers, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, political transparency and leadership accountability.
- One of the threats to our democracy is voter apathy. A voter, who is a citizen of the country, is the running fuel and engine of democracy. When we do not vote, democracy suffers. When democracy suffers, good governance suffers. The recurrence of voter apathy in general elections and significantly in by-elections, remains a concern to all of us. For instance, in 2019 all parliamentary and local government by-elections, the voter turnout was less than 50%, an indication that most of our citizens do not understand and appreciate the importance of our democratic system.
- In this regard, I appeal to learning institutions, civil society organisations, faith-based organisations and non-state actors to get to the root cause of voter apathy in the country and devise effective ways of re-energising the sense of civic duty in our people. We need to nurture our democracy.
- Further, i appeal to the media in the country to play an active role in reporting positively information on the importance of voting and democratic values. The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) should also devote more time and resources to sensitise and create public awareness among our people.
Human dignity, equity, social justice, equality and non-discrimination
- Every human being has an inherent right to life and human dignity. We, therefore, need to treat everyone with love and respect, regardless of social class, race, gender, nationality, education or religion. This is why my government is improving access to electricity, water and sanitation, among others.
- My government is also making steady progress in supporting our girl child in the education sector. For example, my government keeps on scoring high under the Girls Education, Women Empowerment and Livelihoods (GEWEL) project with support from the World Bank. With the aim of increasing access to the livelihood support for women and access to secondary school education for disadvantaged girls in extremely poor household, the GEWEL project reached 16,082 beneficiaries in 2018 and increased to 16,584 beneficiaries in 2019. Such are practical government programmes aimed at fostering human dignity, social justice, equality and non-discrimination among Zambians.
- As a pro-poor government, we are equally paying particular attention to the marginalised sections of our society. As you may be aware, the social cash transfer program aimed at helping to reduce poverty through transfer of money to persons who meet the specified criteria of vulnerability stands out in this case. By comparison, the individual and household beneficiaries of the social cash transfer initiative in 2018 was 574,663, while in 2019 increased to 632,327.
- In all these efforts, my government is working with religious organisations, non-governmental organisations, the private sector, the donor community and our traditional leaders to promote and improve the dignity and livelihood of our people.
- To improve the dignity of our people in rural areas, we have made progress in the implementation of the Open Defecation-Free Programme. In 2019, the Lundu Chiefdom in Muchinga province became the latest chiefdom to attain the open defecation-free status. This brings the total number of open defecation-free status chiefdoms to 53 out of 288 chiefdoms in the country. In addition, 60 percent of the targeted 7.8 million people in 102 selected rural districts now have access to hand washing facilities.
- Furthermore, 152,808 sewer connections were made to provide adequate sanitation and promote hygiene for close to 1.3 million people in urban areas.
- To make good on social justice and equity, my government is increasing access to electricity in rural areas. Eight grid extensions were completed in 2019, resulting in 408 initial connections. Rural households are the primary target for connection to the electricity grid and this is done at a subsidized fee.
- Further, 16,662 households out of the targeted 22,000 households countrywide have so far been connected to electricity under the electricity service access project. In addition, we are working on three mini grids and 25 grid extension projects across the country that are at various stages of construction. This is work in progress and we are certain we shall reach our target.
- In the same vein, in December last year, i personally initiated and consequently commissioned the 32.5 kilowatts solar power station in Chief Chibwika’s area in Mwinilunga District with the aim of helping to change and improve the lives of our people. My government plans to install and support many such initiatives across Zambia.
Today, i am happy to report to this house and the nation that the off grid solar power station in Chief Chibwika’s chiefdom now connects over 300 households, schools as well as a clinic to electricity. This is evident testimony that the government is committed to improving the human dignity and lives of our citizens without leaving anyone behind.
- To encourage enrolment, attendance and concentration in class, my government has been implementing the home grown school-feeding programme. The programme provides meals to learners from poor and vulnerable households in selected districts and provinces. As at December 2019, 1,156,760 learners were being fed every day in 3,004 schools covering 39 selected districts. The 2019-targeted reach of 1,156,760 is a big improvement in terms of beneficiaries. Evidently, provision of education and feeding support to vulnerable children is an important way of promoting equality; social justice; equity and non-discrimination.
- Further, 14,395 vulnerable children and adolescents were supported with education bursaries through the service efficiency and effectiveness for vulnerable children and adolescents initiative. This support is enabling the most vulnerable children in our society to meet their basic needs and prevent them from delinquency.
- In our resolve to promote inclusive education, government is offering education to all, including persons who are differently abled. Currently, there are 215 inclusive schools across the country. I am happy to note that Zambia has 458 teachers who are competent in sign language and 253 in braille.
- To further promote social justice and equity, government continues to increase access to information and communication facilities, especially in rural areas. This is being done through the construction of communication towers. Government would have erected 1,009 towers by the end of 2020. So far 776 towers have been erected, out of which 655 are functional compared to 338 in 2018.
- These towers have improved communication in rural areas and brought the benefits of digital technology to our people. The benefits include mobile telecommunication and financial inclusion through mobile money and internet banking.
- Further, nine additional radio stations and one television station have been licensed, bringing the total to 142 radio stations and 45 television stations countrywide. This has increased access to information for our people. More importantly, plurality of voices in the media means that Zambia’s democracy has been enhanced, as the media is a marketplace of ideas.
- Government is committed to enhancing equal access to justice, particularly for vulnerable groups as well as inmates.
- Following the launch of the national legal aid policy, government, in 2019, embarked on sensitisation programmes in Southern, Central, Copperbelt, North-Western and Lusaka provinces. During these sensitisation programmes, the general citizenry was also provided with legal aid clinics. These sensitisation programmes will be extended to the remaining provinces.
- To promote social justice and equity among the poor, government is training, 280 para-legals at different levels. It is also gratifying to note that, in 2019, 9,229 people sought legal aid assistance and were all assisted.
Good governance and integrity
- Good governance is necessary to achieving our national goals for sustainable development. We are ensuring citizen participation, accountability and transparency in the running of the affairs of the country.
- We have continued to promote the participation of our people in decision making and the country has witnessed a marked increase in participation in the development coordinating committees by private and other non-state actors. This is important as these platforms provide our people with an opportunity to participate in the development process of this country.
- To further promote participation of our people at local level, we have enacted the local government act no.2 of 2019. The act gives effect to the decentralisation of functions, responsibilities and services to be provided at all levels of local government. In addition, the act provides for the role of traditional leaders in the democratic governance of the country.
- I am glad to report that the implementation of this act has commenced. So far, development committees have been formed and are operational in 1,326 out of the 1,624 wards.
- Government has also tabled the national planning and budgeting bill no. 22 of 2019 before this august house. The bill aims at providing an integrated national planning and budgeting process. Once enacted into law, the legislation will improve good governance by providing a participatory and decentralised national planning and budgeting process.
- I urge members of this august house to support the bill as it will facilitate and enhance our peoples’ participation in national development.
- To consolidate good governance and the integrity of our electoral process, there is need to ensure, among others, that all citizens eligible to vote are accorded an opportunity to exercise their democratic right. It is for this reason that, this year, the Electoral Commission of Zambia will conduct the Voter Registration Exercise.
- I urge all stakeholders in the electoral process to play their respective roles in order for our elections to continue being credible and transparent.
- To promote good governance and integrity in the provision of services, government has continued to deploy electronic services. The deployment of electronic systems in the public service has restricted discretion by officials and increased detection of corruption.
- I am glad to inform the house and the nation that government has developed an integrated digital platform known as the government service bus and payment gateway. This platform has been developed with an internet based single-window service for accessing and delivering selected government services electronically. More of our citizens will be able to access and pay for services using the internet from the comfort of their homes, offices or business premises.
- Some of the electronic services that will be launched soon on the government service bus and payment gateway include the motor vehicle road worthiness; road tax and carbon emission service; business-name searches and clearance; printout and annual returns and online business registration.
- Furthermore, payment of ground rent; consideration fees; certificates of title; land surveys and forestry fees; and Interpol vehicle clearance will be included on the single window electronic platform. Other services to come on board are hunting and safari park licences; online tax identification registration and declarations; visas and work permits.
- My government remains committed to the fight against corruption. Under the corruption prevention interventions, we have introduced anti-corruption content in the school curriculum at primary and secondary school levels, to instil high integrity values in our young people.
- In addition, significant progress has been made to further institutionalise prevention of corruption. In 2019, 30 more integrity committees were established in both public and private sectors bringing the total number to 94. These efforts are practical steps in closing all leaking taps in management of public funds.
- With regard to prosecutions, the Anti-Corruption Commission secured 17 convictions and recorded seven acquittals during the period under review.
- I urge individuals, the public sector as well as non-state actors to continue partnering with government in the fight against corruption. We must all hate corruption in order to fight and eradicate it because corruption is number one enemy in sustainable development and good governance.
- Remember corruption is a two-way vice that requires concerted effort to curb. Join my government in fighting corruption; join us in developing zambia, without living anyone behind.
- I have consistently reminded the media that, they play a critical role in promoting democracy and good governance. However, the nation has witnessed the erosion of Media Ethics by practitioners, as well as Media Owners. The critical role that the media plays, as the Fourth Estate, as well as a watchdog of society, has been circumvented by financial and political interest; all we hear and read is not editorial content but propaganda aiming to bolster Media Owners and Political Players’ interests. This must stop!
- I condemn in the strongest terms actions by people abusing the social media platform to victimise, undermine and embarrass those they choose to target. Country men and women, there is no integrity in filming accident victims instead of helping them? Neither is there any integrity in filming terminally ill people and sharing to the general public?
- Despite all this, my government has allowed the media to operate without interference. My hope and prayer is that journalists will soon free themselves from the new form of control by people with money.
- My government has prioritised sustainable development in our quest to achieve socio-economic development and preserve the environment for our needs and the needs of generations to come. This will ensure that our development process guarantees inter-generational equity.
- We remain mindful of the inter-linkages of the economic, social and environmental pillars. Our aspirations for a decent life for our people through economic development have, therefore, not been at the exclusion of social and environmental sustainability.
- Climate change can impede our sustainable development agenda. That is why it is imperative that we continue to mitigate against the effects of climate change. Accordingly, we will continue to support research in agriculture in order to develop more climate resilient seed varieties. Currently, we are promoting the use of conservation farming practices, especially in the drought prone areas of our country.
- I am glad to inform this august house that the number of farmers practising conservation farming stood at 532,000 in 2019 in comparison to 267,000 in 2018.
- Countrymen and women, my heart bleeds to see the recent calamities our facing our people across the country. The people of Kanyama, Chilanga and Luangwa in Lusaka Province. The people of Lumezi, Mambwe,Nyimba, Lusangazi, Petauke and Lundazi in the Eastern Province. The people of Chama, Mafinga, and Kanchibiya in Muchinga province. People of Mungwi, Kasama, Kaputa, Chilubi Island and Luwingu in Northern Province. People of Lunga, Chembe, and Milenge in Luapula Province. People of Chitambo in Central Province. The people of Kitwe and Chililabombwe in Copperbelt Province. The people of Chavuma and Zambezi in North-Western province. The people of mitete in western province. And the people of Sinazongwe, Gwembe, Chikankata, Mazabuka and Siavonga in the Southern Province of Zambia. All these nationals have been affected by flooding as a result of climate change.
- The devastating effects of climate change can cause an economic and social shutdown. For example, recently eastern province was cut off from the rest of the country, while in many places pupils and especially mother had no access to food, their schools, health facilities and markets.
- Furthermore, other negative effects of this flooding has caused insecurity among our nationals as dangerous reptiles have been brought into direct contact and conflict with our people.
- To ensure we mitigate the effect that climate change is causing to our environment, afforestation and reforestation are key interventions in promoting sustainable use of our forestry resources. To this effect, 34,650 pine trees and 13,432 fruit trees were planted in the Lake Tanganyika basin in Northern province during the 2019/2020 rainy season. This initiative is aimed at protecting the ecological integrity of the basin.
- I commend all the stakeholders who have taken a lead in supporting this developmental milestone of planting trees. I look forward to seeing the fruition of the ‘Plant a Million Trees initiative’, and many others. Tree planting improves the water holding capacity and the carbon sink, in addition to bringing general beauty to our environment.
- Innovations are the spice of development. They not only catalyse the pace of development, but also build the momentum for change. I salute the efforts being made in various sectors as we pursue development in a sustainable manner.
- These efforts include the diversification of our energy sources, developments in information and communication technology applications as well as in medicine and other sciences.
- For example, last year, a University of Zambia engineering researcher, Dr. Sam Sichilalu, came up with an innovation to generate fuel from polymer waste such as discarded tyres, plastics and rubber.
- This innovation has the potential to contribute significantly to the production of cheaper energy and improve sanitation. In addition, this new energy source could save our forest resource and help mitigate against climate change. Our women and youth would also have a window of opportunity to provide raw materials to the industry in the form of discarded tyres, plastics and rubber.
- I encourage the captains of industry to take keen interest in the various innovations being show-cased by our higher learning and research institutions. Zambia would be richer if these innovations were quickly patented and commercialized. I further encourage the commerce industry and researchers to tap the potential of existing and new rural innovations such, food preservation, food and nutrition production, prevention of ailments, etc.
- We have a duty to safeguard our natural resources. Accordingly, government has continued to regulate the utilisation of ground water resources in the country. So far, 32,000 boreholes and 94 drilling companies have been registered. To further guide the public on water utilisation, cabinet has approved the national water supply and sanitation policy.
- In 2019 alone, we constructed 1,454 boreholes countrywide. Further, the chongwe water supply and sanitation project and the Kafulafuta Water Supply Systems Project have reached an advanced stage, currently standing at 90 percent and 55 percent, respectively.
- I also want to encourage my fellow citizens to develop the culture of water harvesting. At household level, a lot of run-off water can be harvested during the rainy season for use in our gardens and other domestic purposes. Communities and local authorities can also pool resources and apply them on constructing small scale dams. As Government, we will continue to work on existing water harvesting projects across the country.
- Zambia is renowned for its rich wildlife and pristine national parks. This vital resource can easily be lost due to rampant poaching and climate change effects. Government has, therefore, empowered local communities in villages to manage and preserve the natural wildlife for them to continue receiving economic benefits through tourism.
- So far, community conservancies have been established in selected game management areas to help conserve our wildlife and build sustainable wildlife-based economies for the affected communities. This initiative will also influence positive and proactive practices of conserving wildlife as well as reducing human animal conflicts. The heightened sense of community ownership inevitably leads to a reduction in poaching.
- The discovery of gold in north-western province and a number of districts in other parts of the country resulted in an increase in illegal mining activities. It is unfortunate and regrettable to note that the discovery of gold and other precious minerals has currently birthed unlicenced mining, unsafe mining practices where people have been buried alive and criminal activities while scrambling of this precious mineral.
- In order to safeguard this precious mineral and other natural resources and ensure sustainability in the mining sector, my government has introduced a number of measures to mitigate illegal mining and its negative effects on our economy.
- Subsequently, government has declared gold a strategic resource and established the ZCCM Gold Company Limited to spearhead and manage the gold mining value chain in a formal and structured manner. This measure will ensure that, we exploit this natural resource in a sustainable manner and transform our country’s economic fortunes.
- Indiscriminate disposal of solid waste has continued to be a menace and a public health hazard in our communities. In addition, it impedes our progress in achieving sustainable development.
- I have observed with concern that the Keep Zambia Clean, Green and Healthy campaign is yielding very little results. When you look around the cities, there is little improvement at reaching the desired objective. Councils are not proactively collecting garbage and cleaning the cities. How are councils justifying the receipt of Equalisation Funds when social services are poorly delivered? Mayors and council secretaries, what are you doing to ensure your towns and cities are clean, green and healthy?
- And what are you as citizens doing at individual to keep your surroundings clean, green and healthy, on a daily basis? The one-day cleaning exercise a month is noted but insufficient. To all public and private institutions, take this responsibility very seriously and ensure everyone is dedicated to cleaning their surroundings. Further, all community leaders should ensure that households clean their surroundings every day and arrange for appropriate community waste disposal.
- Councils should be innovative and create a competitive reward system for those households and communities who are adhering to keeping their surroundings clean, green and healthy. I further encourage the private sector to join by supporting this initiative.
- I also call upon our people and agencies managing the markets and other trading areas to ensure that they put in place effective waste management strategies. Further, i urge industries, the corporate world and the mining companies to ensure that they comply with the law on pollution management and solid waste disposal.
- We must begin with our own homes. We must dispose all our waste in the right manner. We must keep our home environment clean, green and healthy.
- A healthy population is key to achieving sustainable development. Therefore, the emergence of the coronavirus is not only a public health concern but also a threat to sustainable development. Zambia, being part of the global village, is susceptible to the disease. In this regard, government has put in place measures to enhance public health security in the country including creating a contingency fund for emergency preparedness, prevention and mitigation. Further, the Zambian missions abroad are monitoring the situation regarding Zambians studying or living in the affected countries. In addition, all our ports of entry are on equally on high alert.
- Here in Zambia, let us all be alert and adhere to the guidance being provided by health officials, such as washing hands regularly, covering your mouth with your elbow when coughing and seeking medical attention from the nearest health facility, as well as advice as quickly as possible when you feel you have flu like symptoms. These measures apply to other infectious diseases such as ebola.
- National values and principles are a critical ingredient in the development of a prosperous Zambia. I am convinced that adherence to our national values and principles will keep us focused on addressing the needs of our people.
- It is our duty to invest time, resources and energy in making our national values and principles a defining feature of our country. We must all stand up and live by these values and principles. We owe it to the next generation to inculcate our national values and principles in their lives. National values and principles are the glue that holds us together as a nation. Let our greatness be measured not by our qualifications or wealth, but by the strength of our devotion to our national values and principles.
- I recall that each time i paid a visit to my village as a young man then, i was always reminded that the worth of a person was not in the number of chickens, goats or cattle one owned, but rather the good name one carried. By that, they meant the values and principles that one lived by, and were an example to others.
- I also treasure the experiences and lessons i learnt from my extended family on the importance of respect and family. This provided a sense of belonging and security because as a child i was safe even when my biological parents were not there. This value was taught and passed on from the older folks to the younger generation in every part of Zambia. This is the Zambia I know and desire to see.
- We have, therefore, no excuse but to live by our national values and principles. It is our duty now to ensure that this wisdom continues to be taught to the younger generation in the spirit and name of “One Zambia, One Nation”.
- For you and me, Zambia is our only god given country, our own true nation, our only heritage, and collectively our home. Therefore, we have no choice but to keep Zambia peaceful and beautiful; not only for ourselves today, but for our children and their children, for tomorrow and eternity.
- May the Almighty God bless us all and our Great Nation, Zambia.
- I thank you.