President Edgar Lungu says Zambia must continue liberating itself from poverty and unemployment and further reduce its high levels of vulnerability and inequality.

In a speech issued on the eve of Zambia’s 54th Independence anniversary, President Lungu appealed to Zambians to continue liberating themselves from poverty and unemployment, and to further reduce the prevailing high levels of vulnerability and inequality.

He also said Zambia must take an active role to deepen the meaning of Independence.

“Tonight, we remember and honour all those who sacrificed for our freedom. In commemorating our 54th Independence anniversary, let us continue to be united and demonstrate that we are a grateful nation, a nation that remembers and celebrates its heroes and heroines, both sung and unsung. Many have departed, but what they stood for still lives on. The political emancipation we attained in 1964 was not an end in itself. Rather, it was the beginning of a journey, a journey towards a shared future of unity, development and prosperity. Indeed, Independence is a continuous process of liberating ourselves from factors, which hold us back as a nation. These factors include poor work culture, low self-esteem and a negative mind-set. We need to assert ourselves and be confident in our ability to transform our country,” President Lungu said.

“We must continue liberating ourselves from poverty and unemployment. We must reduce the high levels of vulnerability and inequality in our nation. We should, therefore, continue nurturing this positive brand of our country as it is essential to attracting foreign investment and tourists, as well as enhancing international relations. In the spirit of unity and progress, every Zambian must play a role to deepen the meaning of our independence. We must continue working together in our families, communities and workplaces. A strong bond of unity will help us build a better Zambia for ourselves, our children and our children’s children. Zambia is blessed with abundant natural resources. These are gifts that we should exploit for our development agenda.”

“I, therefore, urge all of us to ensure that we use these resources in a responsible and sustainable manner. Let us take care of our forests, wildlife and water bodies. Let us ensure that our surroundings are clean, green and healthy. Let us inculcate this caring spirit in our children. We all can and should do more to make Zambia a better place to live and work in. We can and should do more to uplift our families, communities and the nation. We can and should do more to build a just and prosperous society. In all this, the unity of our people is paramount. As we envision, hope for and celebrate a shared future of unity, development and prosperity, let us avoid the pitfalls of faith without works, freedom without restraint, business without morality, education without character, pleasure without conscience and wealth without honour.”

The Head of State said that Zambia had made steady progress towards achieving prosperity and creating a just society.

“We have made steady progress towards achieving prosperity and creating a just society. A lot, however, still remains to be done. Indeed, compelling tasks lie ahead. Prior to colonialism, our system of governance was based on traditional values and principles rooted in our common humanity. This included respect for each other, honesty, a deep sense of community, discipline and hard work. We need to reinforce these positive values and principles as an integral part of our national identity and governance system. This is why our Constitution now provides for national values and principles to guide our conduct as a nation. We must uphold our dignity and self-worth as a people. We must be proud of who we are and defend and protect our values. We must also preserve our rich cultural heritage. We must endeavour to understand and appreciate it,” President Lungu added.

And speaking during the commemoration of Zambia’s 54th Independence anniversary at State House yesterday, President Mnangagwa hailed the close relationship his country enjoyed with Zambia.

“Since the attainment of the Independence in Zimbabwe on the 18th of April, 1980, our two countries have enjoyed excellent bilateral relations! We continued to interact at the highest political levels and stayed committed to strengthen these relations and construct a better future as we steer our two countries towards the attainment of the common vision to become middle-income economies by 2030. Through the established structures of the Zambia-Zimbabwe joint permanent commission, let us scale up our trade investment, defence security, education, scientific and cultural cooperation,” President Mnangagwa said.

“To attain the desired middle-income economy status and to fully industrialize and modernize our two countries, it is imperative that we develop reliable, adequate, and appropriate energy, transport and ICT infrastructure in our respective countries. We shall to this end be implementing joint projects in hydro power generation, road and rail rehabilitation and construction of others. To improve connectivity and enhance regional and continental integration, our two land-linked countries must modernize one-stop boarder post at Chirundu as well as the Victoria Falls port of entry in keeping with traffic and trade flow between our two countries. Zimbabwe is open for business. I invite Zambian business persons at every level to come and partner with their counterparts in Zimbabwe.”

The Zimbabwean Head of State also expressed confidence in President Lungu’s ability to play a positive role in the SADC region.

“We note that a number of countries will hold national elections during your [SADC] chairmanship, we are confident that, your Excellency, you will lead the region diligently as we quest to entrench democratic values, constitutionalism and rule of law. Let me once again pledge Zimbabwe’s full cooperation and support, not only as a [SADC] member-state, but as the deputy chair of the SADC organ. I wish you peace, I wish you love, I wish you unity, [and] I wish you prosperity as we continue to walk together side by side [and] hand in hand towards a bright future for our people,” said President Mnangagwa.