Zambia’s 6th Republican President Edgar Lungu has reiterated his call to the opposition political party leaders to work together with his Government to solve the challenges that Zambians are experiencing.
The President said this when he proposed a toast during a State luncheon to celebrate his inauguration as 6th Republican President at State House in Lusaka.
Mr Lungu said the election period was now over and it was time to forge ahead, work together to continue the development programmes that the Government had already set in motion to improve the standard of living of the people.
“Let me once again invite my colleagues in the opposition to work together to solve the many challenges that the people are facing,” Mr Lungu said.
He appealed to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and other regional bodies to continue working together for the development of the region.
“It is important to work together in the region. We remain indebted for your cordial relationship, let’s keep the same spirit and support for each other,” Mr Lungu said.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugab, who is also SADC chairperson, said Zambia was special to the region.
“Your Excellency Mr Edgar Lungu, you are inheriting a country that made sacrifices that we might not forget, as it gave birth to freedom to a number of countries in the region,” Mr Mugabe said.
He toasted to the peaceful manner Zambians conducted themselves during the election and appealed for continued peace and prosperity.
Earlier, Mr Lungu said he was grateful for the people of Zambia for voting him as President just after the nation celebrated its Golden Jubilee, saying that he was a Jubilee President.
The President said the process leading up to the election of PF in the January 20, 2015 election was not easy but that there was no room for settling scores.
“The just-ended election shows that there is still work to be done on the nation-building front. Some campaigners stooped low to appeal to tribalism 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,” Mr Lungu said.
Zambia was one great family which was bigger than any individual and everyone, including the 10 losing candidates, should work together to develop the country.
Mr Lungu said in his presidency, he had a duty to foster harmony and unity, a duty he was ready to do while submitting to the citizens’
The high levels of poverty in Zambia, he said, were unacceptable and the problem needed to be fought with hard work and not rhetoric.
Like his predecessor, Mr Lungu said he was going to fight inequality in Zambia and ensure that the country’s wealth was fairly distributed.
“I am stepping in the shoes of a giant of a man, a man who was our torch-bearer and a symbol of our party’s vision of a robust transformative agenda, which in the last three years has moved our country forward and created a momentum which we must accelerate,” he said.
Mr Lungu congratulated the losing presidential hopefuls, especially the United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema whom he said mounted a formidable campaign.
He said the doors to his office were open to the opposition to work with his Government to eliminate poverty.
Mr Lungu said he was grateful for the many endorsements he received from many traditional leaders, political leaders and the Zambian people who trusted him to lead the nation.
The President said he was particularly grateful for the support he received from former president Rupiah Banda.
Mr Lungu congratulated the PF Government for providing an enabling environment which saw the presidential by-elections being held in a democratic manner.
He would continue with the road-building projects as well as building of health posts and ensure that the mining companies paid sufficient tax which would help the nation.