President Edgar Lungu says political violence in the country can only end when the United Party for National (UPND) opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema and his party commit to the process. President Lungu said political violence in the country is being perpetrated by the UPND.
Responding to a request from six Chiefs in Monze District for peace mediation between the Head of State and Mr Hichilema, President Lungu said he has always remained ready and committed to see violence end.
President Lungu told chiefs Hamusonde, Monze, Choongo, Chona, Mwaanza, and Ufwenuka’s representative that UPND President Hakainde Hichilema is the one perpetrating violence in the country as a recourse to losing general elections.
The President stated that UPND which he belonged to under late President Mazoka was not a violent party until Mr Hichilema took over the party’s leadership. “Under Mazoka, we never had violence. I have condemned the violence. I have not heard my friend HH condemning violence, “said President Lungu, urging the traditional leaders to also advise people to desist from harming each other.
President Lungu who is in Southern Province for a three-day working visit said his administration remains committed to bringing development to the region. He regretted that Southern Province had not received the desired development under past Presidents and that he will continue to work within means to bring development. He said the government will continue to improve the road network through construction of road infrastructure to aid service delivery.
The President assured the Chiefs that the Nickel- Monze Road will be made passable while waiting for funds to upgrade the road to tarmac and that he will make sure that people trying to sabotage government service delivery in the health sector are fired.
The Head of State said he is saddened to learn that there are shortages of drugs in health centres in Monze and he will engage the Minister of Health to assess the situation and ensure that essential drugs are distributed to people who need them.
President Lungu also assured the traditional leaders that the government will look into their complaints of the stoppage of the issuance of National Registration Cards. He explained that the ongoing mobile issuance of NRCs is intended to supplement the normal issuance of NRCs at the Boma.
President Lungu further assured the chiefs that he will engage the Minister of Livestock to ensure that veterinary services and drugs for cattle are made available.
On the repair of dilapidated dams and construction of additional dams, President Lungu said Minister of Water Jonas Chanda was recently in the area to assess the situation and needs.
The President said the government has already engaged the World Bank to help address the issue of dams so that people can have clean safe water for drinking and irrigation.
The President said he remains committed to promoting agricultural production in Southern Province so that the region reclaimed its bread basket status.
He said he has already engaged the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) and other stakeholders to explore ways of improving agriculture in the region.
“Agriculture is important for Southern Province Significantly, but yield has been going down. I will engage stakeholders like ZNFU, Ministry of Agriculture to boost agricultural production “, said President Lungu.
President Lungu said it was unfortunate that the area Member of Parliament for Bweengwa has not taken advantage of the K126 Million Constituency Development Fund to finance the construction of police or health posts to meet people’s needs.
The President said he was humbled that people have appreciated his personal efforts of putting up new infrastructure at Bweengwa School. President Lungu financed the construction of new structures at Bweengwa School at a cost of over K1.4 million which led to its upgrade to a Secondary School.
Earlier, Chief Hamusonde had appealed to President Lungu to address the development challenges of the people of Monze. Speaking on behalf of five other chiefs, Chief Hamusonde urged President Lungu to quell political violence in the country by engaging UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.
President Lungu also met and addressed Headmen whom he said play a vital role in the management of chiefdoms as they are custodians of traditional authority and lineage.
And President Lungu has directed Monze District Commissioner Munachongo Muleya to procure bicycles for all headmen in the district to aid their work.