Minister of Foreign Affairs Harry Kalaba says 2017 will be famous and remembered for the rising tide in corruption and seemingly falling standards of public accountability.

In his New Year statement, shared on Facebook yesterday, Kalaba stated that he could no longer fold his arms in silence and watch the impunity of those that made the essence of governing a mockery.

“The year gone by will most likely be famous and remembered for the rising tide of corruption and the seemingly falling standards of public accountability – a phenomenon which all well meaning Zambians should shun and endeavour to confine to the yester- year,” Kalaba stated.

“The year 2018 is yet another opportunity for all of us to rally behind all the honourable men and women in government and outside government who have been championing the crusade against corruption and add our voices to those that have resolved to come in public office with clean hands. It is possible to make Zambia great if we all choose the country above self because we have seen the horror at play when self-interests are propagated and the collective will of the people is hashed. We can no longer fold our arms in silence and watch the impunity of those that make the essence of governing a mockery.”

He said those in public office, like him, had let the people down.

“Those of us in public office who have let our people down must self-correct and yield to the will of the Zambian people. It is an honourable thing to do and when we have embraced this new standard of service to the people, we will be proud to stand and sing of Zambia and the era of consistent excellence will dawn upon us. 2018 brings forth this opportunity and promise or we can simply look away and accept to be men less of our mandate and beneath our calling,” Kalaba stated.

“I refuse to accept a Zambia that is defined more by its failings rather than its strengths. I refuse to accept a Zambia that is known for its wickedness rather than its chastity. We are a chosen Nation whose God is the Lord. We can make 2018 the year we returned to our lost sanity. Systems and people might have failed us in the past but that doesn’t make Zambia a failed Nation. Zambia is endowed and blessed but to harness those endowments, our hearts and minds must be congruent in admitting that self-interest must be crucified at the altar of pure service.”

And Kalaba stated that 2017 had been a difficult year.

“‘Tayesapapatiza chaka chalelo’. These were the words of the late Fr Tembo of Mzuzu Diocese of Malawi way back in 1995. Unfortunately, two weeks into the year 1995, Fr Tembo hit into a stationery truck and died instantly to the horror of on-lookers. In his mind, the year 1994 had been a difficult year and he was relieved to cross into 1995. Many of us might share in the feeling of Fr Tembo. The year 2017 could have been less than what we hoped it to be and we might have silently prayed for it to pass fast on account of it being a difficult year and we might be hoping that 2018 will be much better. While it might be true that 2017 brought about its own challenges, it is also true that the year brought before us the opportunities to make ourselves proud if only we made better choices,” stated Kalaba.