President Hakainde Hichilema on Thursday conferred ‘The Order of The Eagle of Zambia’ 1st Division, to former President of Liberia Sirleaf Johnson, Former President of the Republic of Liberia, Former President of Nigeria Olusegun Obasanjo,, and Former President of Sierra Leone Ernest Bai Koroma.
According to a Government Gazette No.1067 of 2022 signed by the Acting Secretary of the Cabinet, Patrick Kangwa, President Hichilema held a special investiture ceremony to honour the three former leaders.
According to the Gazette, “the Presidential Honours and Awards (Conferment) Notice, 2022. It is notified for public information that in exercise of the powers contained in Article 92 (2)(g) of the Constitution of Zambia, the President, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema, will, at the Special investiture ceremony to be held on 14th July, 2022, confer Honours and Awards specified in the schedule on the persons named in the schedule.
“The Order of the Eagle of Zambia 1st Div – Olusegun Obasanjo – Nigeria, Ellen Sirleaf Johnson – Liberia, Ernest Bai Koroma – Sierra Leone.”
President Hichilema said the former Heads of State were honored for their contribution to the growth of democracy.
He said the three leaders have distinguished themselves in their own countries, on the African Continent and beyond, for their unrelenting efforts to establish and promote democracy and good governance, as a prercusor to improving livelihoods of their people and other Africans.
Reacting on behalf of awardees, Obasanjo said the honour would serve as encouragement to do more for the continent.
“On behalf of the awardees, I wish to thank you for the honour done us.
“We take this honour as encouragement to do more. Whatever we have done for Africa and for humanity to make you honour us, we assure you we will do more.”
But the decision to award the trio has been widely condemned by Political Analyst Sishuwa Sishuwa.
Dr Sishuwa described the move to award the three leaders as an act of corruption.
“The President of Zambia is once again abusing state office to reward his cronies. Having previously conferred State medals on UPND cadres, he is now doing the same for three of his foreign backers from the Brenthurst Foundation led by Greg Mills. This is a form of corruption,” Dr Sishuwa said.
He added, “I wish the president was as committed to Zambia as he is to the interests of the Brenthurst Foundation! He has the right to reward his friends but he should not do it using state resources.”