President Edgar Lungu says no amount of propaganda will put a stop to Zambia’s friendship with China because it is mutual.
And President Lungu says contraction of all the debt Zambia has was necessary and government will focus on getting the country out of the ‘high risk of debt distress’ zone.
Meanwhile, the Head of State did not walk over to the left side of the House to greet opposition members of parliament, save for simply waving and flashing a thumbs up from afar before walking out, after his address.
Concluding his address to Parliament under the theme ‘Working Together to Achieve Vision 2030’, President Lungu vowed to continue advancing Zambia’s friendship with China, in the wake of widespread outcry over the Chinese influence on this country.
“As an independent state, Zambia creates and maintains relationships with its friends in the broader international relations. These relationships are based on mutual bilateral and multilateral considerations informed by common goals of making better the lives of our people,” he said.
“In this regard, our rights to choose our friendship with one nation is not dependant on making enemies with the other. We shall choose our own friends with our own terms and that does not mean appeasing anyone with unjustified enmity with others. Our friendship with China is mutual and no amount of reckless propaganda will deter us from entrenching this relationship for the common good of our people. We are proud with our friendship with China, Europe, America, India; we are proud of our friendships within AU, SADC, COMESA and other individual countries.”
He said headline about Chinese takeover of national assets were misleading.
“I therefore wish to implore you country men and women to ignore the misleading headlines that seek to malign our relationship with China by mischaracterising our economic cooperation to mean colonialism. China does not have that record, neither does it seek a horse and jockey relationship with Zambia,” President Lungu said.
“We are fully conscious as a nation and we are alive to the fact that we need to uplift the lives of our people. I need to emphasis that all forms of bilateral cooperation with China are and will always be informed by this noble focus. On the need to build supporting infrastructure to enable our people build sound and sustainable livelihoods.”
On debt crisis, President Lungu did not say much apart from assuring the nation that all debt contracted was necessary.
“The debt stock and domestic arrears of the country have in the recent past been topical. It should however be necessary to support our ambitious agenda of laying a solid foundation for the future growth of our economy for our people,” President Lungu said.
“This is being appreciated through roads, schools and hospitals being constructed, which are critical to our people’s wellbeing. I wish to assure the nation through this House that government is committed to ensuring a speedy return to lower risk of debt distress and maintaining the debt within sustainable levels.”
On corruption, President Lungu said his government remained committed to the fight against corruption adding that malicious name calling was worthless.
“The fight against corruption remains a priority to this government…the fight against corruption must be done in a very honest manner, devoid of the narrow and selfish interests intended to malign others simply because one has the platform to do so. The screaming headlines of corruption propaganda may succeed to malign someone but they achieve nothing in uplifting the lives of our people,” said President Lungu.
Meanwhile, the Head of State did not walk over to the left side of the House to greet opposition members of parliament.
After his address ended, President Lungu shook hands with Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini, a few ministers and then looked over to the left side of the House, waving and flashing a thumbs up from afar before walking out.