In a bid to remain a trusted and stable democracy, Zambia will continue to observe the rule of the law regardless of who is involved said Foreign Affairs Minister hon. Harry Kalaba during his high-level inter-action with the Swedish Foreign Office here in Stockholm this week.
Hon. Kalaba said Zambia’s reputation as a country of ‘law and order’ shall remain ‘jealously guarded’ under President Edgar Lungu such that any efforts to tarnish it will be frustrated.
“President Edgar Lungu has categorically stated that there shall be a clear distinction and separation between the judiciary, legislative and administration in order to maintain democracy,” hon. Kalaba said, “….he will not interfere with operations of these three distinct arms of government as Zambia’s democracy continues to grow.”
Mr Kalaba was speaking during a meeting with Ms Annika Södar, the Swedish acting Minister of Foreign Affairs in Gamla Stan, Stockholm on Thursday during a working lunch.
The Zambian flag in a rare occasion flew high, side by side with that of Sweden, outside Foreign Affairs Minister Margaret Wallström’s office in honour of Zambia.
This is the first time Zambia and Sweden were meeting at such a high level to strengthen diplomatic relations in 14 years according to Zambia’s Charge d’ Affaires at the Zambian Embassy in Sweden Mr Anthony Mukwita who accompanied hon Kalaba to the meetings.
“In the recent past when even top government officials at ministerial level have found themselves on the wrong side of the law in Zambia,” Hon. Kalaba said, “they been visited by the law. President Edgar Lungu has done nothing to shield them regardless of party affiliation. This is a clear demonstration that he wants justice to be blind.”
Mr Kalaba said President Lungu appreciates the stellar record that Zambia has internationally and, “he wants us to guard our good governance record jealously and that we shall do. We will protect this good image because it is our crowning glory as a country beating a drum of economic diplomacy.”
According to the latest Africa Investment Index of 2017, Zambia has been placed at number five “most favoured” country of investment by Quantum Global’s independent research arm, beating even Africa’s second largest economy, South Africa.
The ranking is based on the long history of peace and political stability, including peaceful transitions that Zambia has had since independence said Mr Kalaba.
The Foreign Affairs Minister also referred to the kudos he got on behalf of Zambia from the Finnish former President and Noble Laurette Martti Ahtisaari whom in Helsinki this week commended Zambia for a top 20 ranking on the Mo Ibrahim Governance Index out of 54 surveyed countries.
The exuberant Minister of Foreign Affairs, an accomplished diplomat has constantly beseeched Zambians and potential investors to refer to credible news institutions and rating agencies in order to make informed decisions on Zambia seen by many as the Shangri-La of stability in the region.
“If your source of news is the rogue online media,” Mr Kalaba has often said, “you will think Zambia is on fire and yet half the time such media only get your name and picture correct. It is important that you make reference to credible media and institutions such as the Mo Ibrahim Index in order for you to make informed decisions on Zambia.”
In the age of the internet, however, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Zambia said there will always be alternative media sources, “but what remains important is to get the true view of every situation and for us our governance record speaks for itself.”
Mr Kalaba uses the below points to partly illustrate Zambia’s good governance law, especially regarding the 2016 polls that were accepted and endorsed as meeting international standards by the:
The European Union election monitoring group
The United States of America
The United Kingdom
The entire local church mother bodies in Zambia and including various civil society
Despite the 2016 popular election of President Lungu overtly accepted as having met international standards, sections of the opposition have continued to reject the results, a trend Mr Kalaba describes as unfortunate.
The Foreign Affairs Minister however implores the international community to look at Zambia’s great history of good governance before falling prey to potential law breakers that seek to win international sympathy by wantonly breaking the law.
“If there is any President that has shown that he will govern by the rule of the law and greater laws of natural justice,” Mr Kalaba said, “It is clearly President Lungu. We therefore appeal to the international community to interrogate closely, the genuine fair play disposition of President Lungu before making decisions based on deliberate distortions from sections of the opposition aimed at gaining political mileage at the expense of the greater good of the nation.”
Mr Kalaba who was accompanied by Zambia’s Charge d’ Affaires Mr Anthony Mukwita, including his delegation from Zambia during all top level Nordic Economic Diplomacy engagements that concluded Friday.