Wednesday, April 24, 2024

President Hichilema back home after meeting the Pope

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President Hakainde Hichilema has arrived back home in the early morning hours of today after he described his trip as a series of successful and progressive meetings at the EU – AU Summit in Brussels, Belgium, and our positive engagement with His Holiness Pope Francis at the Vatican.

The President said that he will continue engaging with partners in our quest to grow our economy and create an environment for business and investment, adding that trade and development are at the center of our agenda.

The President said that he believed in the power of democracy, collaboration, and partnership to benefit Zambians and that
Zambia is getting better and will be better.

While in Rome, according to the Vatican, the President was received by Pope Francis at the Vatican on Saturday morning and following the audience with the Holy Father, President Hichilema met with Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin and Monsignor Miros?aw Wachowski, the Undersecretary for Relations with States.

A statement from the Holy See Press Office indicated some of the major topics covered by the “cordial discussions,” including aspects of the country’s economic and social situation, and the valued contribution of the Church in various sections of society. The issue of universal access to Covid-19 vaccines and treatment was also treated, as well as the possibility of further study with regard to the drafting of a bilateral agreement between Zambia and the Holy See, “as a further sign of respectful cooperation.”

During the papal audience, Pope Francis presented President Hichilema with a mosaic of the biblical figure of Noah, with the words “With Noah God opens a way of salvation, for the creation and for every human being.” The Holy Father also gave the president a collection of documents from his pontificate, including the 2022 Message for Peace; the Document on Human Fraternity; and a book on the Statio Orbis of 27 March 2020, when Pope Francis prayed for and with the whole world to overcome the coronavirus emergency.

For his part, President Hichilema offered Pope Francis a sculpture in wood and copper representing the typical musical instruments of Zambia.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Vatican News on the sidelines of his visit to the Vatican, Mr Hichilema, a devout Adventist, spoke highly of his encounter with Pope Francis. He said he informed the Holy Father that his government respects the freedom of worship for all Churches and prioritizes unity among Zambia.

“I am glad to be here, and I am grateful to the Vatican and the establishment for giving us this opportunity to meet the Pope early in our presidency -we are still less than six months into office. We are really grateful,” said Mr Hichilema.

“We as a government will embrace all religious organisations in our country. They all have space, and they all have the right to basically promote their evangelical work,” said the Zambia President.

The President said he was impressed that Pope Francis is aware and well informed about the development policies that his government has embarked upon. He praised Pope Francis for his progressive views on development in Africa.

“The Pope is aware of our educational policies of offering education to all, including those that are disadvantaged. I told the Pope that I am a beneficiary of free education. Born in a village and education made the difference,” Mr Hichilema explained.

Education will be fundamental to changing Zambian society, he said. While encouraging private education for those who can afford it, the Zambian President is keen that his country should also care for disadvantaged school children.

Regarding unity in Zambia, President Hichilema told Vatican News that his government values and is pushing unity in diversity among all Zambians because it is the decent thing to do. The government, he said, must be a reflection of that diversity. For this reason, he continued, his government is composed of ministers from all ten provinces of Zambia.

Zambia has 72 tribes and many more dialects -the result of a complex history in patterns of Bantu migrations.

The President further pledged to distribute the country’s resources equally among the country’s regions.

“We want to unite the people of Zambia through equity, fair treatment of all regions. It is through this platform that we want to continue binding and bonding ourselves as one Zambia, one nation and one people,” he reiterated.

30 COMMENTS

  1. Ok but why do service chiefs have to come early morning to welcome you back home? Can this practice of hero worshipping the president when he is flying in & out of the country be stopped please!!!a waste of money & manpower needed for other productive public service tasks.

  2. Nice words Mr president……….

    Although some of your supporters know fullwell the economic benefits are soon to be felt by all………..

    Some quarters of Zambian society are used of free handouts……..

    Some in the streets are getting restless……….and want to see results………

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  3. Archbishop telesphore mpundu was a fierce critic of the fallen regime…and i think it is through his auspices that HH had audience with the plastic holy father…kikikiki

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  4. “We want to unite the people of Zambia through equity, fair treatment of all regions.”-LT

    I didn’t know that we were divided until UPND and PF Wanted to control GRZ.

    The same laws that govern physics and chemistry in inanimate in no leaving nature Govern life. It’s about mechanisms like the constitution. It’s not a vital force like UPND.

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  5. All faiths have their failings including the Catholic church. Despite this I am a proud Catholic. Congratulations President HH for tapping into the grace of God through the Holy See.

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  6. HH should be ashamed of himself….he just came back from begging and a huge tax payers bill….plus those Airport tarmac bystanders…..how much money is wasted….am not surprised HH is a demagogue President…and he is busy fattening his wallet whilst ordinary Zambians are wallowing in extreme poverty

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  7. These global trips in a global pandemic period must be kept to a minimum. I think if proper conducive investment environment and conditions are created at home, investors will come on their own without following them or having to work hard to persuade them.
    Right now the enabling environment and conditions of doing business in Zambia have not changed much from the PF regime. For example the cost of raising Capital is still quite very high with high interest rates. Even just sending a laptop to a student for use in their studies would still cost you high Customs charges. The political situation is still the same and the business risks haven’t changed much (things like free education just add to those risks). Politicians still call the shots instead of independent business regulators. HH…

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  8. The kwacha is lower than we left it. Cost of living is higher. Defamation law and POA is still in existent. Meanwhile he is busy flying around in the same jet he criticised and promised to sell.

    Is he a mad man or just f00Iish liar? It has to be one of the two options.

    Developing a nation can’t be done solely by relying on foreigners who colonised you. This proves that hh had no plans pn how to develop our country within. He is now begging from anyone and embarrassing the nation

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  9. Self praise singer HH will not take us anywhere. I am a Catholic but I do not support this Pope. He has enhanced killing of unborn children. It is being discussed right now in parliament in Zambia and Pope knows it. Soon, it will be a law in Zambia and some of unborn babies will be heading to sloughter houses.

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  10. What type of reporting is this? He arrived back early hours of the morning…cant you give us an exact time as it looks very dark? Which airport did he land at? These are basics of writing an article or reporting…I dont envy those Service chiefs waking up early morning Sunday just to go and queue up for 2 minutes on the tarmac to welcome someone who went for a couple of days.

  11. HH7 what is the point of visiting the Vatican apart from photo opportunity for your photographer Chellah….why are you still asking for covid-19 vacines when you dont even need them, the world is moving on this is why you end up with expired left overs.

  12. Meeting a French President in Belgium or the Pope in Rome is not a cure for Zambia’s ailing economy. What matters most is a people-to-people mutual relations. History moulds a fine mindset. Zambia has a fine historical bond with Britain consolidated by a Commonwealth of Nations. When Guinea was on the verge of independence, French technocrats dismantled communication systems etc to punish the Africans. Belgium never trained the peoples of Congo DR and Rwanda the skills of governance, resulting in Congo’s perennial instability. Rwanda’s genocide was a joint creation of Belgium and the Catholic Church and this may be a reason Rwanda opted to join the Commonwealth of Nations. African leaders who take pride in worshiping whites’ supremacy have a pathological inferiority complex.

  13. You can take a man out from the village, but you cannot take a village out of the man. In the picture, the pope is looking straight into HH’s face to keep the conversation. But HH is all focused looking into the side camera, reminding everyone that I am here, and I made it to meet the pope. Mr Cameraman!! make sure you take this picture for Zambia to see…..

  14. Vatican is state and the Pope is the head of State. He meets leaders from all over the country (including Edgar Lungu). Leaders wanting to meet the Pope make arrangements through the Vatican embassies represented by the Papal Nuncio. It’s good because the pope wants peace to prevail in all countries. What is funny is that at a certain club Upnd members were celebrating as if this was some kind of milestone. The meeting is not different from one meeting Kenyetta, Museveni, Kagame or Mugabe. It’s a meeting between two heads of state.

  15. @ Tarino Orange indeed LT reporting is substandard at best! HH left Zambia to attend the EU – AU Summit in Brussels in furst place but then we are treated to the headline of his return from seeing the Pope like it was the primary objective yet the first mention in the article is about the Summit!

  16. @FuManchu, spot on. HH7 is representing Zambia abroad than any previous head of state before.
    Zambians are happy in a peaceful national environment..

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  17. And once again a totally stup!d welcome committee. In the middle of the night! Poor service chiefs! And absolutely Nobody knows why they come! And ONLY African presidents do it. Bally, it looks completely STUP!D, get rid of it!

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  18. Well said ALT #9.1 and you too Tarino Orange.True that HH went to Europe for serious business then took a photo op with Pope Francis.

  19. No Corruption Zambia – They do it because of insecruity and distrust by Head of State it all started during KK’s one party rule…they believe that its difficult for service chiefs to do a coup d’état when they too are in the firing line.

  20. #24 Tarino Orange. It’s unAfrican for to fail to receive the Chief. For the West no problem. One time Obama came to the State I was visiting, after landing at the major airport, he boarded a chopper and flew to some place he had come to visit. Many people didn’t even know he was in town. But that is their culture.

  21. @ No Corruption Zambia, it’s not stupid but a security matter! These security chiefs and “their boys” are awake 24/7 and you should know better that African governments adopted and adapted from the colonizers some traditions! Security chiefs all around the world are ever at hand to welcome a returning home head of state for immediate update on “While you were away state of national security!”

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