President Edgar Lungu has called on the people of Siavonga district to look at him “with favour” when as he seeks to renew his contract in 2021.

And President Lungu says he is the only elected President in the country because other political party leaders are either hand picked or self appointed.

Meanwhile, President Lungu says people should be encouraged to register as voters instead of calling for an extension to the registration exercise.

Speaking during the launch of Yalelo Automatic Fish Harvesting Vessel and two cooperatives in Siavonga, Tuesday, President Lungu asked Siavonga residents to look on him with favour when he seeks re-election.

“I am very proud of cadres from the PF because they are my bosses, they employed me actually. I know that I will be looking for a contract renewal very soon. We will talk about that later. You know currently I am the only elected President in this country, most presidents are hand picked or self appointed, so when I come for a renewal look at me with favour,” President Lungu said.

And President Lungu said the launch of the fish harvesting vessel was a step forward in eliminating the country’s fish deficit which was estimated at 87,000 tonnes.

“I am delighted to launch the Automatic Fish Harvesting Vessel here at Yalelo Farm. I am also here to launch two cooperatives, namely, Kamimbi and Buyantashi aquaculture cooperatives. The launch of these entities shows my government’s resolve towards the elimination of the fish deficit in the country which is estimated at 87,000 tonnes annually. You may recall that on 30th May 2020, I launched the US$23.7 million aquaculture seed fund under the auspices of the African Development Bank and the Zambia aquaculture enterprise development project,” President Lungu said.

“The Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise development project was launched on 21st October 2017, in Lusaka, and since that launch, over 1,000 Zambian owned aquaculture value chain projects have been approved. These projects are valued at K195 million and are currently receiving the funds. This is testimony that my government is committed to actualising the promises it makes. Indeed, we are walking the talk. This investment by government is going to change the face of the aquaculture sub sector in Zambia.”

President Lungu instructed Fisheries and Livestock Minister Professor Nkandu Luo to hold a stakeholder’s meeting to curb fish thefts that had characterized the area.

“I would like to urge you to ensure that this project becomes a model for others to learn from. I would like to thank the export trading group and Yalelo who, as part of their corporate social responsibility, have partnered with government in initiating such a project. Finally, the aquaculture industry in Siavonga is estimated at $25 million and is projected to double by the year 2022 due to the massive investment by the private sector as my government,” President Lungu said.

“However, I am very concerned with the reported fish thefts in the cages. This is a danger to the development of the aquaculture industry. Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, please call for a stakeholders meeting to come up with strategies that will curb this vice. If left unchecked, this can be a threat to investment and food security. May I now officially launch the automatic fish harvesting vessel, and the projects for Kamimbi and Buyantashi aquaculture cooperatives. This is not a campaign meeting I should be done now. Yes, because campaigns will come and then we will be pointing at projects like this one. So this is not a time to talk too long it is time to work too long. Now allow me to officially launch the automatic fish harvesting vessel Yalelo and the project for Kamimbi and Buyantanshi cooperatives.”

Meanwhile, speaking to Chiefs in Siavonga district earlier, President Lungu said government would investigate the inefficiencies in the Electoral Commission of Zambia with regards to the voters registration.

“Issues such as voter registration, we are getting those sentiments that we should probably employ the Electoral Commission of Zambia to extend the period, but what we should do now is to encourage people to register instead of asking for an extension. Let us encourage people to go and register now before we cry for an extension because most people are not registering because they are getting reports that it takes too long because of the inefficiency of the Electoral Commission of Zambia. We will investigate what is going on in ECZ as far as this inefficiency and address that and hope that by 12th, we would have registered as many people as possible. Because if we keep saying ‘let’s extend, let’s extend it’, there will be lethargy and people will stop going there and say I will register when they extend. So let us encourage them now, when we still have two weeks, I think we can get the numbers that we require,” said President Lungu.

Meanwhile Southern Province Minister Edify Hamukale said some people were trying to detract President Lungu from his development agenda because they were jealous of him.

“Those that are trying to detract you are so jealous of your achievement. I want to make it plain and clear in the hearing of many Zambians that President Lungu is eligible to stand in 2021. They tried to attack him on nationality, accusing him of being a Malawian. For those of us who lived in Eastern Province, I can walk with my eyes closed to the village where the President comes from. I know it, you know it, everybody knows it, why are you trying to invent which doesn’t exist? The tried impeachment, they have tried all manner of maneuvers, they are failing. So he is taller than them in wisdom, taller than them in planning, taller than them in implementing and his taller than them physically indeed. Your Excellency, we are here we will do the job for you, those who don’t know what the ConCourt said I am here to explain, send me!” said Hamukale.