Zambians’ fight against corruption devoid of honesty – Lungu

By Staff Reporter


PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says Zambia’s rising foreign debt stock running to over US$9 billion is necessary because the people are appreciating the many roads and schools that are being constructed countrywide using the borrowed money.

And an emotionally-charged President Lungu says Zambia’s fight against corruption must be prosecuted with noble intentions as opposed to baseless screaming newspaper headlines and name-calling anchored on labelling some people as corrupt.

During an address to the Zambian parliament in Lusaka on Friday, President Lungu acknowledged that the issue of the country’s ‘rising’ debt stock was a topical one.

“A prosperous and smart Zambian cannot be attained without a growing economy…Our economy has continued on a positive trajectory,” President Lungu said. “The debt stock and domestic arrears of the country have been topical. The contraction of debt was debt…This is being appreciated through the roads and schools being constructed.”

He justified: “All these investments are making use of local raw materials and creating jobs for our people…Our people appreciate the coming of these roads in their various areas…Most of you in this August house, despite the questions being asked, can attest to this reality.”

During a radio programme on Lusaka’s 5FM radio station on Thursday, Bahati PF member of parliament and former foreign affairs minister Harry Kalaba, asked the PF leadership to give Zambians the complete story on the road projects being carried out all over the country. Kalaba challenged his former government peers to explain whether they were not conniving to siphon money using these projects.

President Lungu however, assured that the government will bring down the debt stock to sustainable levels.

“Yes, we in this House are the hope of our people,” President Lungu said. “There is so much to be done, so much to be accomplished and yet so little time to waste.”

He called for concerted efforts if the country was to attain the Vision 2030 of not only transforming the country into a middle-income prosperous society but also creating a SMART Zambia.

“I am sure we will work together. Whatever your reaction is, we shall work together,” President Lungu told opposition legislators. “We are mindful that our society is not homogeneous. There are those of our people who are struggling to make ends meet. It is for this reason that the government is committed to not leaving anyone behind.”

President Lungu further acknowledged that Zambia has very disturbing statistics of social inequalities and that unfortunately it appears these development inequalities have a female face.

“We have continued to set and pursue clear priorities in the health and education sectors,” he claimed. “Access to equitable and inclusive education has been enhanced.”

President Lungu said the government’s E-Voucher farmers’ input distribution programme where over 5,000 agro-dealers were participating currently would continue because it was effective and had created jobs.

And President Lungu said the fight against corruption in the country was devoid of honesty and characterised by narrow and divisive agendas reflected in baseless screaming newspaper headlines accusing individuals of being corrupt.

“The fight against corruption remains a priority for this government,” said President Lungu as opposition members of parliament tried to drown him down with heckles. “We all have a patriotic duty, not just to express outrage, but to fight corruption. The fight against corruption must be prosecuted with noble intentions to make our society better.”