President Edgar Chagwa Lungu has delivered his maiden speech to the African Union (AU) at the on-going 24th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State.
President Lungu thanked the AU for the overwhelming support that Zambia received during the trying period following the death His Excellency Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata and the challenging transition that followed.
“You supported us during the transition period as the democratic credentials and governance institutions were put to test. I am pleased to inform this august House that the just ended presidential by-election in my country, in what was a hotly contested race, has once again demonstrated the collective resolve of the Zambian people to ensure that Democracy and Good Governance are firmly entrenched in our governance system,” President Lungu said.
The President also thanked the AU, SADC and COMESA for sending Election Monitoring and Observation Missions to Zambia.
“The elections were declared as transparent, peaceful, free, fair and credible. Zambia continues, therefore, to be privileged to have demonstrated that it is possible to have peaceful changes of Government, even for that matter, from one political party to another.”
President Lungu reaffirmed Zambia’s commitment to the ideals of the African Union and pledged his administration’s readiness to remain fully engaged in the activities the continental body. Zambia will seek to enhance her presence at the continental level and beyond, by making her voice heard and actively participating in the programmes of the Union.
On the subject of AU Agenda 2063, Zambia firmly believes that this is an important blueprint for the future of our continent and should be fully supported, as a vehicle for Africa’s development.
“We need to ensure that the spirit and resolve contained in this carefully crafted document is fully incorporated into the Post 2015 Development Agenda process and other global developmental efforts,” he said.
“It is in the same vein that as a continent, Africa should prioritise her strategic economic partnerships in order to ensure that they speak to the African Agenda and that our interests are safeguarded.”
The Head of State reassured the AU Assembly that Zambia will be more actively engaged in peace-building and conflict-resolution initiatives on the continent, and particularly within SADC and the Great Lakes region. He called for collaborated efforts to combat the Ebola pandemic, which he described as a serious emerging threat to global social and economic security. “While the pandemic may now be showing signs of decline, the continent should continue to remain alert and my Government will render support to the various commendable efforts already being made.”
President Lungu condemned the increasing occurrences of ruthless attacks and violent tendencies of terrorist groups as well as the militarisation of extreme faith-based organisations in some parts of Africa and called for urgent concerted effort to deal with the problem.
Regarding the reform of the United Nations, the President reassured the AU Assembly that Zambia will, through her membership of the AU Committee of Ten, continue to play her part in ensuring that the process is accelerated. “To this effect, I wish to inform this august house that Zambia will be hosting the next meeting of the C-10.”
Zambia supports AU theme for 2015 as a measure of long-standing commitment to the importance of women to development and their role in leadership. “I wish to confirm to this august House that, in accordance with the Beijing Platform, immediately following my assumption of office, I appointed a female Vice-President, Her Honour Mrs. Inonge Mutukwa Wina, M.P., the first in the history of my country!”