|President Lungu takes oath of office|
By Paul Shalala
President Edgar Lungu has been sworn in for a full five year term following the dismissal of several opposition election petitions which were aimed at stopping him from taking office.
This follows his victory in the August 11 general elections.
Last year in January, Mr Lungu was elected to serve the remaining term for his predecessor Michael Sata who died in London in October 2014 after an illness.
President Lungu took his oath of office before Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima at exactly 11:00 and his running mate Inonge Wina also took her oath as Vice President 4 minutes later.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, his Botswana counterpart Ian Khama and Vice Presidents from Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya were part of the international dignitaries who attended the inauguration which took place at the fully packed 60,000 capacity National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka.
Several opposition leaders among them FDD’s Edith Nawakwi, Fourth Revolution leader Eric Chanda and Elias Chipimo of NAREP attended the event.
After being sworn in, President Lungu gave a 43 minute speech on a wide range of issues.
Its central theme was the need for unity, peace and development in the next five years.
Below are the summaries by sector:
In his speech, President Lungu said Zambia needs to improve his manufacturing sector.
He further declared Kafue town, an iron and steel economic free zone.
This means that investors in this sector can now set up plants in the riverside town and exploit its huge potential.
Kafue hosts the country’s largest steel plant which is owned by Trade Kings, a holding company for several subsidiary companies involved in several businesses.
The largely agricultural district also has a fertiliser manufacturing plant run by government.
President Lungu thanked a number of opposition parties like the MMD and Christian Democratic Party which went into an alliance with the ruling Patriotic Front during the campaigns.
|Vice President Wina with Presidents Khama and Mugabe|
“There are no winners or losers at the moment. Zambians are the winners…….. No group of people will hold me ransom to serve their interests,” said President Lungu.
He said he will not disappoint all those who supported him and he will work hard to leave Zambia a better place than he found it.
President Lungu also paid glowing tribute to other opposition parties that contested against him.
He said they fought a good battle and he had nothing against them.
President Lungu also announced that he would visit all areas including Dundumwezi Constituency in Kalomo were he got 252 votes against 30,000 votes which UPND’s Hakainde Hichilema got.
“Am coming to Dundumwezi to thank those 252 voters. Without them I would not have won by 50 plus one. I want to develop all areas including where people did not vote for me.”
President Lungu announced that in the next five years, Zambia would invest in nuclear technology to boost its capacity to produce power.
With the current energy crisis which has been characterised by loadshedding, President Lungu hopes nuclear energy is the answer.
Zambia has huge deposits of uranium, a mineral which is used to produce nuclear energy.
“I also have good news, exploration for oil and gas in underway in block 31 in the north of the country.”
Currently, the country heavily relies on hydro power whose equipment were installed over 50 years ago and are in desperate need of re-investment.
Post Election Violence
With the reports of people’s houses burnt and some displaced following the announcement of the election results last month, President Lungu has announced a commission of inquiry.
He says the inquiry will help the country learn lessons from what transpired.
|A scene at the National Heroes Stadium|
“We cannot look away when such things happen. Violence will not be tolerated,” he said.
This year, Zambia has recorded hundreds of deaths on the road and operating licences for some bus companies were even suspended.
In his inaugural speech, President Lungu vowed to use technology to protect travelers and reduce road accidents.
“No life must be lost carelessly on our roads. My office will work closely with the road traffic agencies to ensure we reduce on road traffic accidents.”
Earlier this year, the Road Transport and Safety Agency announced plans to pilot the use of Global Positioning System to detect over speeding buses especially on the Great North Road which annually claims hundreds of lives.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who had a thunderous welcome at the stadium, spoke on behalf of other international leaders who graced the event.
President Mugabe’s speech was punctuated by cheers from the crowd, the same way Zambians did two years ago when he spoke at the same venue during the country’s Jubilee celebrations in October 2014 when President Lungu was acting President.
In his unscripted speech, President Mugabe paid glowing tribute to Zambia for its historical role in the liberation struggle.
“The voice of freedom which started in Zambia became the voice of freedom to the whole continent of Africa.”
He also had words for Zambians: “This victory is the people’s victory. I congratulate all Zambians because this is your victory.”
The veteran Zimbabwean leader added that organisations which were trying to violently take over power must not be tolerated in a democratic country.