Former UPND vice-president Dr Canisius Banda has called for peace and patriotism among all Zambians by focusing on working towards the things that unite the nation as opposed to those that divide citizens.

Commenting on President Edgar Lungu’s speech during his national address last Friday, Dr Banda concurred with the Head of State that there was need to end political violence, among other immoral activities, which he said erode the country’s values and principles.

“We must remain peaceful and we must be patriotic. Let us not speak ill of this country, both within Zambia and outside. Let us focus on the challenges that we face: giving people safe and clean water; affordable housing; education and health care, things like that. The President’s speech was very brief, full of figures and very clear. It was a very good speech! The President started by quoting [John] Maynard Keynes, Maynard Keynes is a historical figure, he’s an economist. Much of economics is based on him and he did say that: ‘the fuel that moves any community is what they believe in,’ so we must have belief, national belief,” Dr Banda advised.

“And he illustrated the values and principles that we have and he did say that these [things] must be on our minds all the time and in our hearts. The President talked about the need for ethics and morality; he cited the case of the Zambia Police Service, and the Immigration Department as some of the government departments that have undergone training and have developed ethical codes to ensure that their execution of work in keeping with the expectation of national ethics and values.”

He also applauded President Lungu and his government for prioritising women in the acquisition of land.

“Interestingly, the President said 40 per cent of all land in Zambia is reserved for women. Then he said the remaining 60 per cent will be competed for between men and women. So, you can see the affirmative action towards women. I think this is exemplary, not only in Southern Africa, but the whole continent. So, for those that are interested to know the number of women that got title deeds, he did mention that they are thousands of them that were given title deeds. Other countries don’t give land to women, but Zambia is able to do that,” observed Dr Banda.

“He mentioned also that the fight against Gender-Based Violence is yielding fruit because the number of GBV cases has dropped and he was glad to inform the nation that these fast track courts…we used to have them only [in] Lusaka and Kabwe, but now, we’ve got them in Ndola, Mongu and Chipata, so that’s progress made. Then the ‘Keeping the Girl Child in School’ programme is also working and yielding fruit. All girls need education as a matter of fact because the survival of human kind hinges on girls. So, an educated girl is what humanity needs. And those girls that cannot afford to pay school fees, the State comes in and helps. This is worth noting.”