Step up the fight against corruption, Lungu challenges agencies

By Staff Reporter

President Edgar Lungu has challenged agencies responsible for the fight against corruption to step up in order to eliminate the vice as it starves vital developmental programmes of the much-needed resources.

Addressing the nation on the progress made in the application of national values and principles delivered to the third session of the 12th national assembly this afternoon, President Lungu claimed that government remained committed to the fight against graft.

“I, therefore, wish to urge all the relevant agencies mandated to combat corruption to step up the fight. I implore you to tackle the vice in all its forms,” he said. “As I have stated before, we will not interfere in your operations. We stand ready to support you in this noble cause. We will capacitate you to effectively execute your mandate”.

He said corruption was an evil that unnecessarily inflates the cost of doing business and erodes investor confidence in the economy.

“To my fellow citizens, I wish to urge you to detest this vice. I invite you to the battle front. Do not abate corruption. Report all cases of corruption to relevant authorities,” President Lungu said. “Together, let us wage a courageous and relentless fight against corruption. This is a war we cannot afford to lose. We owe victory in this war to posterity”.

He said he was fulfilling the resolution by the Zambians to commit themselves to upholding a defined set of national values and principles under article 8 of the constitution.

President Lungu said it was imperative to reflect and talk about the national values and principles which include morality and ethics; patriotism and national unity; democracy and constitutionalism; human dignity, equity, social justice, equality and non-discrimination;
good governance and integrity; and sustainable development
as people’s character and honour was judged by the sense of right and wrong.

Highlight the progress made in 2018, President Lungu under the morality and ethics as a value, the country was making strides in promoting them by intensifying awareness programmes about gender-based violence at every level of society including communities, schools, work places and places of worship.

“This awareness resulted in increased reporting of gender-based violence cases from 21,504 in 2017 to 22,073 in 2018. We are addressing the consequences of gender-based violence by providing moral, emotional, medical and legal support to victims,” he said. “To this effect, counselling and legal support was provided to 8,682 victims comprising 5,444 females and 3,238 males. I wish to commend all stakeholders who have joined hands with government in our fight against gender-based violence”.

President Lungu said government had continued establishing one-stop centres and user- friendly fast-track courts to expedite the cases of GBV.

He said in the case of alcohol and substance abuse, especially among our young people. government undertook sensitisation of traditional and religious leaders where 235 chiefs and 180 religious leaders from all the ten provinces were sensitised on the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse with the view of strengthening their role as agents of change.

President Lungu also expressed his concern that some people had taken advantage of the innovations in information and technology to commit cyber-crimes that include financial malpractices, hate speech, falsehoods and character assassination.

“I, once again, implore all our citizens to be wary of the negative aspects of social media and use this medium responsibly,” he said. “The process of enacting the cyber security and Cyber Crimes bill and the data protection bill has reached an advanced stage. This will ensure that offenders are brought to book”.

President Lungu urged members of parliament to support the bills which will be presented during current session of parliament.

He said defilement and early pregnancy incidences were of great concern and called for concerted efforts to tackle the vice.

President Lungu also said to promote ethical conduct and professionalism, a total of 3,100 police and immigration department officers and 1,351 teachers were sensitised on their respective codes of ethics in 2018.

“Further, 5,984 civil service employees were sensitised on the code of ethics for the public service,” he said. “I wish to applaud all public service officers who are setting a good example in adhering to these codes of ethics”.

He implored media houses to take a lead in promoting moral and ethical living among the people by being sensitive to their audiences and ensure that their content is progressive and not destructive.

President Lungu said patriotism entailed a lifelong commitment by everyone towards making the country a better place.

He said under the proudly Zambian campaign, government was working with the private sector to promote the buying and use of Zambian products, which would stimulate industries to grow and create the much-needed jobs.

“There is need to enhance patriotism among our local contractors as well. Government is, therefore, providing training to local contractors to enable them deliver high quality infrastructure works,” President Lungu said. “The training is also aimed at inculcating a sense of patriotism. In 2018, 1,920 contractors were trained”.

He urged the need to embrace a spirit of constructive and progressive dialogue at all levels in order to foster national unity.

On democracy and constitutionalism, President Lungu said government remained committed to promoting the rights of citizens to participate in running the affairs of the country.

“Necessary constitutional reforms are vital in the life of any democratic nation such as ours,” he said. “Government also remains committed to continue undertaking constitutional reforms in line with the aspirations of the people”.

President Lungu said there was need to strive to resolve political differences through non-violent means as violence not only threatened national unity and democracy but also resulted in injuries and fatalities as well as destruction of property.

On human dignity, equity, social justice, equality and non-discrimination President Lungu claimed that government had continued to improve access to social services for the people, especially in rural areas.

“Our people deserve fair and just distribution of wealth, opportunities and social privileges. In this regard, 1,077 boreholes were constructed in rural areas across the country in 2018,” he said.

He said government would continue with the rural electrification programme to enable more people across the country access electricity and improve their livelihoods.

President Lungu said in a quest to eliminate all forms of discrimination in the delivery of development, government was resolved to ensuring that implementation of development programmes took into account the special needs and capacities of its people.

On good governance and integrity, the President said it was imperative that the people actively participate in the economic, social, cultural and political processes that affect their daily lives.

“To this effect, we have endeavoured to involve our people in the development of government policy and legislation,” he said. “For instance, in 2018, our citizens were consulted during the formulation of the industrial policy, the non- governmental organisations policy, the heritage and conservation policy, and the national health insurance act no. 2 of 2018”.

He said sustainable development required that old and dilapidated infrastructure was either repaired or demolished and then “built back better”.

“I, therefore, urge citizens and institutions to embrace the concept of urban- regeneration in the context of sustainable development,” President Lungu said.

He said while government would continue to provide leadership and an enabling environment to facilitate the appreciation and application of these values and principles, stakeholders should continue complementing such efforts.

“Am calling upon all Zambians to work hard to move this country to greater heights, to own and run businesses, own property without fear of being labelled a Satanist or witch-hunted for your innovations,” President Lungu said.

Parliament observed a minute of silence in honour of late Sesheke member of parliament Frank Kufwakwandi who died on November 12, 2018.

President Lungu also welcomed the new member of parliament for Mangango constituency, Godwin Putu and Romeo Kang’ombe for Sesheke saying their election victories were a clear demonstration of the trust they earned among the people.

“That trust, however, comes with the responsibility to deliver on your campaign promises. So, do not let our people down,” he said. “In welcoming you, we are all reminded of the expectations of our people. Our people are yearning for development”.

He reminded the members of parliament that the people desired development that secured their future for everyone.