PRESIDENT Lungu has challenged Zambians to inculcate a culture of unity and hard work to attain a stable, peaceful and prosperous nation in the next 50 years.
The President said citizens should uphold the national aspiration of transforming the country into a highly-productive society through innovation and competitiveness.
“This will reaffirm the spirit of our being a land of work and joy in unity, as captured in our national anthem,” he said.
President Lungu said this yesterday on the eve of the Africa Freedom Day, which falls today.
This year’s national theme for the commemoration is: “Celebrating 50 years of our national existence and accelerating socio-economic transformation”.
Mr Lungu said the world is undergoing rapid economic and social change and it is important for the country to move in tandem with the rest of the globe.
He said Zambians are duty-bound to be patriotic and pursue self-advancement based on firm moral and ethical principles.
“The national anthem should remind every Zambian of the solemn undertaking to create a united and unitary state, proud, free and at peace with itself, dignified among other nations and self-reliant, prosperous through hard work and a country anchored in God and blessed by His hand,” he said.
Mr Lungu said every citizen should consolidate the achievements of the founding fathers in nation-building.
He said Zambia is a country of equality among men and women, all entitled to the dignity of work and its rewards.
It is also bestowed with abundant natural resources that can should be used to enhance the country’s socio-economic development.
“The real challenge for us is to translate this vast potential into concrete programmes of development that benefit our people.
“As envisioned by our founding fathers, we should strive to rise to the occasion in the face of challenges and forge ahead to ensure prosperity for all Zambians,” President Lungu said.
He said on its part, his administration will continue carrying out infrastructure development such as the construction of roads, schools and universities to increase access to quality education.
Mr Lungu also said Government will continue to enhance the agriculture sector by linking it to agro-processing for value addition.
He said in the mining sector, there is need to ensure citizens become major suppliers to mining companies as well as promoting value addition through copper processing within the country.
“Furthermore, we need to improve the monitoring and auditing of copper mining to ensure that we effectively tax the sector for the benefit of our people.
“I would also like to encourage Zambians to go into joint ventures with foreign mining companies to ensure that some of the proceeds from copper mining are retained in the country,” he said.
He said Zambians have a task to emerge as major entrepreneurs with the capacity of investing both locally and abroad.
The President observed that the country has been spared from war along tribal or ethnic lines, largely by the promotion of the ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ motto.
Zambia is a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society, which calls for co-existence among different groups.
“I have also made it a personal crusade to inculcate the spirit of ‘One Zambia, One nation’ in all of my national undertakings.
“I am happy that successive governments have continued to nurture this unity of our people, thereby contributing to the peace and stability that we continue to enjoy,” he said.
President Lungu said Zambians should also commit to consolidating its democratic culture.
African Freedom Day is a day to remember and honour men and women who sacrificed immensely for the continent’s freedom and independence.
Mr Lungu said Zambia’s priority should be to continue working with all Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora for socio-economic transformation of the continent.
“Today, Zambia is a sovereign state because of the courage, vision and sacrifice of those men and women. Few are still with us and many have gone.
“To them all, we pay our indelible debt of gratitude. We dedicate this day to them and honour the memory of their heroic deeds. They taught us the true meaning of love of one’s country – service above self,” Mr Lungu said.
The President said this year’s theme is appropriate as it reminds the country of the need to reflect on the past achievements and challenges to enable it chart a new direction.