PRESIDENT-ELECT Edgar Lungu has assured that there will be equity in the delivery of essential public services and that development will be taken to all parts of the country including areas that did not vote for the Patriotic Front(PF) Government.
The President –elect said at this year’s Kulonga traditional ceremony of the Tumbuka people in Lundazi yesterday that his Government would ensure that the country remain united and not segregated based on voting patterns.
“Instead we will use this opportunity to integrate divergent views from other regions as the Patriotic Front Government in the spirit of One Zambia, One Nation,”he said in a speech read on his behalf by Eastern Province assistant secretary Royd Tembo.
Mr Lungu said as elections were over, all meaningful Zambians should put aside their differences and rally behind the PF Government by joining forces in the fight against poverty so as to create economic emancipation for the good of mother Zambia.
He said there were need forgiveness, reconciliation and love among Zambians despite the political and regional divide that had emerged following the August 11th general elections.
He called upon the church to continue praying for peace and unity in the country.
He said it was duty of both government and opposition to ensure there was reconciliation among Zambians so that harmony could continue.
Mr Lungu said the worst form of inhumanity known to man was ethnic cleansing. He said combining the power of tradition in Zambian culture had the moral authority in the Zambian society which gives people strong base of influence.
“It means that you, your royal highnesses can influence subjects in your chiefdom to practice behaviors that benefit the community. As a custodian of culture, you have the moral authority to ask people to abandon the practice of early marriage and other practices that are detrimental to national development,” he said.
He said statistics have shown that Zambia have a high rate of gender based violence in Southern region.
Mr Lungu said the impact of sexual and gender based violence resonate in all areas of health and social programming as well as slowing down the delivery process.
He said additionally, HIV/AIDS transmission was exacerbated by violence. The President –Elect said children who experience sexual abuse were likely to be compromised in their psychological and physical wellbeing as well as many other long term effects.
“A prosperous future for this proud nation cannot be built with abused children,”he said.
Mr Lungu said the PF Government would always be happy to support the traditional leadership in their work.
In the quest to bring development to people, Mr Lungu said Government was ready to embrace everyone willing to contribute positively to the development of the country because development was for everyone regardless of the different political affiliations, tribe or creed.
The President –Elect prodded the traditional leadership to influence the adoption of behaviours that promote peace and security.
“You can say no to violence. You can also lead the way to behaviour that reflects the value of tolerance, and respect for humanity, and people will follow your footsteps. Zambia is fortunate to have such a rich history of peace including peaceful transitions of power,”he said.
Mr Lungu requested the chiefs to convey the messages on peace, non violent resolution of conflicts, peaceful co-existence and a universal respect for human rights.
He said the cultural heritage of any country was important to its image and integrity adding that traditional leaders were the custodians of tradition and culture.
Mr Lungu also said the Kulonga ceremony which was bringing together the Tumbuka speaking people from various chiefdoms in Eastern Province which was an exercise of a tremendous unifying role.
He said Government would continue recognizing the economic potential of performing creative and other forms of arts.
He said it was Government’s desire to ensure that traditional ceremonies strengthen the integrity of people’s origins and value systems.
“This is the reason why government has created the ministry of tourism and arts to mainstream the arts in development as well as the ministry of chiefs and traditional affairs for cultural heritage preservation and strengthening of traditional governance systems as enshrined in the patriotic front manifesto. Zambia prides itself in cultural diversity,” he said.
The ceremony was being presided by Chief Mphamba of the Tumbuka people of Lundazi district.