Inaugural speech of the 6th Republican President, H.E. Edgar Chagwa Lungu

Posted on : 11-07-2015 | Back | Print

Your Ladyship, the Acting Chief Justice, Madam Lombe Chibesakunda;
Your Excellencies; Heads of State and Government;
Your Honour, the Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr. Guy L. Scott, MP, and Dr. Charlotte Harland Scott;
Honourable Mr. Speaker, Justice Dr. Patrick Matibini and Mrs. Matibini;
Your Excellency, the first president of the Republic of Zambia, Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda;
Your Excellency, the fourth president of the republic of Zambia, Mr. Rupiah Bwezani Banda and Mrs. Thandiwe Banda;
The secretary general of the Patriotic Front, Mr. Davies Chama,
Members of the Central committee of the Patriotic Front,
The immediate-past First Lady, Dr. Christine Kaseba-Sata;
Honourable Cabinet Ministers, deputy Ministers and members of parliament;
Secretary to the Cabinet, Dr. Roland Msiska,
Your Ladyships and Lordships, Justices of the Supreme and High courts,
Your worship the mayor of the city of Lusaka, Engineer Mulenga Sata, and other civic leaders;
Leaders of political parties;
Your excellencies, special representatives of Heads of state and Government,
Permanent Secretaries and Senior Government officials;
Service chiefs;
Your royal highnesses;
Your excellencies, Ambassadors and high commissioners accredited to the republic of Zambia.

Countrymen and women:

Fifty-eight years ago, I was born Edgar Chagwa Lungu at Ndola Central Hospital and grew up in Kitwe’s Chimwemwe Township.

As I stand before you today, as the 6th president of the great republic of Zambia, I am overwhelmed with gratitude, and I feel greatly humbled that you have decided to make me your servant—you are my masters, I am your servant.

My primary and inescapable duty is to enjoin you my fellow countrymen and women in all corners of our large country in expressing our unqualified and very profound gratitude to god almighty for preserving and guiding us in the very trying three months since the tragic untimely death of our beloved president, his excellency Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata M.H.S.R.I.P. It has not been an easy time.

It is only our unique collective wisdom and the spirit of human fellowship so firmly embedded in our national psyche that has sustained us. This extraordinary fellowship forms our national cohesion.

Countrymen and women:

The process leading to the election especially for us in the ruling patriotic front (pf) was fraught with difficulties but ultimately the good lord guided us and my nomination as the presidential candidate of our party was validated.

There is no room, let alone time for rancour or settling of scores of any kind. On the other hand, I want to tender my gratitude to all my colleagues in our great party, the patriotic front for their unanimous decision to elect me as president of the party, which ultimately qualified me as presidential candidate for the party.

The journey was sometimes acrimonious and fractious, as we tried to find middle ground as a family and also, as we fought battles with the opposition.

We traversed the country, we went to the election and we won because we focused more on that which unites us than that which divides us.

The just ended election clearly shows that there is still work to be done on the nation-building front. Some campaigners stooped so low as to appeal to tribalism and regionalism, name-calling, and violence. Such politicking runs counter to the fundamental principle of upholding human dignity on which Zambia was founded: the principle of one Zambia, one nation. This cannot not be sacrificed for political expedience especially that which is driven by tribalism.

We must never forget that the freedom we enjoy in Zambia was achieved at a great sacrifice by our founding fathers. Those pandering to tribalism and dividing our people are working against the great sacrifices our forefathers made.
For that reason, we must remain true to the vision of our founding fathers—a united Zambia, proud and free; a people that will appreciate one another on the basis of character and not tribe because this scourge is a real threat to national cohesion.

We must always realise that at the end of the day, we are one family, one people — created in the image of god.
We now must move forward as a united and healed party, a united nation, a united people!

Whenever elections are over, we Zambians have demonstrated that Zambia is bigger than anyone of us.
To this effect, I take this opportunity to congratulate the ten (10) other contenders who ran for the presidency, especially Mr. Hakainde Hichilema who mounted a formidable campaign.

The free atmosphere under which the election was conducted is a clear testimony of a mature democracy. This kind of competition natures our democracy!

This was made possible because the pf Government has guaranteed free speech, freedom of association, freedom of assembly and many other civil and political liberties we guarantee have enabled our democracy to survive the challenges our nation faces.

I wish to recognize the valuable endorsement from president Rupiah Bwezani Banda, the MMD members of parliament, the MMD members across the country and all the voters from other political parties and non-members of political parties who supported my candidature.

To you all, I say, may the lord richly bless you for making those selfless decisions that will assist to foster unity and development in our country.

To the all the citizens in general, I express my gratitude, with due humility for the trust reposed in me by electing me the 6th president of our great republic.

You have placed on my shoulders a very heavy responsibility to be ever mindful that I have no leeway for lapses which may induce Zambians to think that they misplaced their confidence and trust in me.

We were eleven (11) candidates for the presidency and each and every one of us had profound messages to the voters and the country as a whole.

The bottom line is that we all want our country to go forward and to banish squalor and poverty. Only one of us could end up as president and I have that singular honour. I am humbled and eternally indebted to you my fellow citizens.

Countrymen and women:

I will serve with diligence and deep sense of duty and commitment and I will not hesitate to submit myself to your guidance and wisdom.

There are no victors nor vanquished in this process. We are all winners and have an equal duty to foster harmony and togetherness. It is the only way to accelerate the development of our country. I promise to work towards making political processes in our country free and open.

Countrymen and women:

The fabulous wealth living side by side with abject poverty is a moral outrage and a slur on our collective conscience. It hurts me.

It is unacceptable and we must all join the crusade against poverty, not through dazzling rhetoric but through working hard.

We must balance our privileges and rights with duty, responsibility and obligation to our country.

I am fully aware of the depths of poverty that continue to afflict the great majority of our people.

It unsettles me to see families go hungry when ours is a wealthy nation.

I am aware of the many mothers that walk long distances in order to give birth; to collect water; to take children to school…

I am aware of many young people who still cannot access a decent education; the many youths without jobs because the economy is not big enough to absorb them;

I am aware of farmers who experience delayed payments for their crop;

I am aware of a few people who are getting stupendously rich illegally, while the majority teeter on the brink of poverty. This saddens me!

Countrymen and women:

I am stepping in the shoes of a giant of a man, a man who was our torch bearer and symbol of our party’s vision of a robust transformative development agenda, which in the last three years has moved our country forward and created a momentum which we must accelerate.

President Sata’s legacy will forever be our beacon of inspiration. Like late president Sata, I come from a humble background and have experienced the agony and anguish of deprivation.

I will be your reliable and uniting ally in our war against inequality, social injustice and deprivation.
I become president at a time when the outlook for the global economy is gloomy. The world bank has downgraded the global GDP growth from 3.5% to 3%.

We are all aware of the significant decline in commodity prices including our major export commodity, copper.

There will be need not only for belt tightening but for radical rethinking of the way we do things. It cannot be business as usual.

We shall continue building all the socio-economic infrastructure projects planned under the leadership of our late president. All the projects and programmes shall be executed as planned and where possible even accelerated.

The overaching aims of our socio-economic diversification, poverty reduction, and promotion of meaningful participation of Zambians in their economy, as entrepreneurs and workers shall be enhanced.

We expect our socio-economic policies to accelerate Zambia’s march to a middle-income country on a sustainable basis by the year 2030.

Countrymen and women:

we will be a listening Government. Our doors will always remain wide open to workers, farmers, all entrepreneurs, small, medium and large businesses who keep our economy running. This includes the man on the street who completes the value chain as the consumer. To you all, we will listen.

Our country will continue to maintain and even improve on a conducive environment for investors both local and external. Our policies will be underpinned by consistence and predictability.

Recently we have restructured the revenue system for the mining industry from a corporate profit-based tax to a mineral royalty one, which is simple and a final tax.

Government’s desire to ensure companies pay the right taxes. This is an imperative of good tenets of governance.
Let me assure investors that we remain open to dialogue so that Government continues to provide the desired conducive environment for private sector growth.

Countrymen and women:

As your president, I want to focus on doubling the number of defence personnel houses and other essential workers.
I want to complete the massive road expansion programme. I want to complete the construction of the 650 health posts among the many other development programmes.

I want to hand you a new constitution. We will definitely deliver a people-driven constitution as per the roadmap we released recently.

Countrymen and women:

This is a momentous day.

On this day I would like to thank you Zambians.

I would like to thank you for being a peaceful and loving people.

You have re-energised me and re-affirmed the pf spirit that has in the past overcome hunger and despair, the spirit that has lifted Zambia from the brink of political instability.

My administration shall continue with the transformation of our country. To realise this dream, we must remain a beacon of peace and hope. We ought to stick to the rule of law and good governance.

To our friends in the region, africa and beyond, we warmly extend a hand of friendship, brotherhood and solidarity, Zambia shall continue to pursue progressive policies of peaceful co-existence, non-interference in the affairs of other state, and mutual respect for one another.

Countrymen and women:

At this point and time, I would like to thank one person, a reliable ally and partner, my wife Esther for the unflinching support and wise counsel.

She and my family have endured the loneliness of the absence of a father and a husband during my long time away from home during the campaign trail.

My wife of more than 30 years, Esther! You are a true friend and a true comrade.

I also want to thank my Grandson Lishomwa and sons and daughters and all my in-laws. I am glad to have you by my side. Thank you.

I render my deep thanks to my wider family in the PF and indeed my many friends and every Zambian who supported and encouraged and me in one way or another.

I want to thank my great team—the members of Central Committee, Members of Parliament, Cabinet Ministers, volunteers, the national campaign team, local campaign teams across the country, our great PF cadres who keep this great party going. Your support has been invaluable from the start and I will need you even more in the days ahead!

For those opposition leaders who may have conceded defeat, I thank you for acknowledging this basic character of democracy.

To local and foreign business and foreign business, let me assure you that your investment shall remain safe on my watch and we shall try as much as possible to balance your interests against our people’s interest.

Copper is important to us, as the main foreign currency earner but I want to step up the rate of economic diversification and explore ways of earning more money from agriculture. We seek nothing but a win-win situation from our partners.

Countrymen and women:

To all of you gathered here…all of you foot soldiers that contributed in a big and small way, you make me proud.
I would like to stop here and get back to work as your new president and commander–in-chief because there is no honey moon. This is just a curtain raiser. We have work to do.

I want you to remember that today, you voted for a jubilee president, a person who will target reducing your poverty and not my poverty.

A person who will grow jobs and give you hope. A person who shares the same background as you.

To the people of Zambia I say a million thanks for your kind thoughts and consideration that I can preside over your fate and destiny.

I will need your endless prayers for in the end only god is our final guide and arbiter.

Countrymen and women:

As I conclude, let me state that politics is not just about winning and celebrating the victory. It is about meeting the needs and aspirations of the people.

Let me remind my colleagues in Government and the ruling party that the period before the next elections is very short. We must, therefore, work very hard in the remaining eighteen (18) months to retain the confidence of our masters, the zambian people.

Our work starts today.

God has been gracious to Zambia and we pledge to honour him by adhering to Christian virtues. Zambia shall remain a Christian nation tolerant of other religions.

May god bless the republic and let us always hold each other’s hand and reach out and let love be at the core of all our activities.

God bless you all!

God bless Zambia!

I thank you!

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