PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says he has taken development to all parts of the country without exception.

And President Lungu has called on party members intending to stand on the PF ticket in 2021 to quickly avail themselves to ensure the ruling party gets more MPs in Western Province.

Speaking in Mongu during the opening of the PF provincial conference, President Lungu said the PF did not give any preference to any region when rolling out infrastructure development.

“Our party remains resolute in our quest to transform Western Province and Zambia into a major player in the global cashew nut industry. What makes us strong as a nation is the unity and identity of being Zambian. The National Anthem line ‘one land, and one nation is our cry” should not just be sung but be believed in just like our motto, “one Zambia, one nation’. Our forefathers were visionary when they coined these sayings because they summarise how we must live as a people with different tribes, dialects, and creed. This is why the Patriotic Front government, which I head as president, does not give any preference to any region when rolling out infrastructure development. We are a national party and we treat each region equally, regardless of popularity,” President Lungu said.

“To reiterate what I have repeatedly said on different occasions, and I quote: ‘ I will take development to all parts of the country, without exception’. This I have done, and the evidence is there for all Zambians to see. This I will continue to do, so join me on this noble quest to transform Zambia for the better, not just for ourselves but for our children, and our children’s children! However, let me hasten to add that our party’s past, present and future successes can neither be sustained nor surpassed without embracing the virtues of discipline, humility, unity, collective effort, persistence, resilience, and faith. Therefore, let us not allow the progress we have achieved so far, to make us become complacent and lose our desire to want to do much more for our people. Our work for our people is not yet finished. There is still much more that needs to be accomplished.”

President Lungu urged party members not to breed seeds of tribalism and division in the party.

“We must avoid doubt, divisions, inaction, and refuse to give in to the temptation of putting our self-interests above the interests of other people and the nation. As a party and as a nation at large, we have a responsibility to rise above whatever may confront us. Let’s encourage the spirit of hard work and innovation, and foster peace within our party. United we stand, divided we fall. Let us embrace the power of collective action and faith, to overcome the challenges of our time. I have no doubt that we shall overcome the development challenges of our time, the same way that our forefathers overcame theirs! I believe in the Zambian spirit and in our ability to dig deeper within ourselves to take on our challenges. Above all, I believe in Jehovah God who gives us strength to overcome all challenges, and assures us of victory. In our concerted efforts to take our country to glorious heights; we cannot allow the lies, fear mongering, and divisive words of prophets of doom to poison our minds, weaken our patriotism, sever our solidarity, and bring havoc to our nation,” President Lungu said.

“I, therefore, urge you all to refuse to fall into the trap of cynicism, tribalism and regionalism; tactics used by those who wish to go back to old strategies used by colonialists of ‘divide and rule’; by pitting one tribe against another. We must prevent this colonialism mindset from taking root in us and in our children today and not tomorrow; for tomorrow may be too late. Let us all adopt a nationalistic approach that sees the nation first before the tribe; that sees and pursues the benefits of society above self- interests. Zambia is bigger than anyone of us. Zambia is our common heritage. Therefore, let us unite and apply ourselves fully to achieve shared national prosperity without leaving anyone behind!”

He said he was aware of the rise of fake news which was meant to incite citizens to rise against government.

“I wish to express my concern at misinformation, particularly, on social media platforms. This fake news is being spread by demagogues, hoping to sway the minds of innocent citizens. But ultimately it is meant to incite citizens to rise against government. Fake news is not only in Zambia but all governments are grappling with it because it is inimical to societal cohesion, and stability. It is therefore important that, as citizens, we verify information before it is taken as gospel truth. Social media has brought many good things including cheap and faster information but its abuse is equally destructive,” President Lungu said.

“As the Patriotic Front, we must rise up to the challenge in defence of truth and what is good. This is for the sake of our nation’s peace, stability, and inclusive economic recovery and growth. As I conclude, I wish to note that some of you have been a part of the Patriotic Front from inception and others have joined along the way. I want you to know that you are all one family, the Patriotic Front family brought together by the noble cause to improve our people’s livelihoods and transform the face of our nation for the better! I know there is a political party which has stagnated and is now stunted and people saying mukati jana (you will find us) when you join them. I won’t mention that party but you know it yourselves.”

And President Lungu called on party members intending to stand on the party ticket in 2021 to quickly avail themselves.

“Let this conference be symbolic of a new beginning for the Patriotic Front in Western Province as well as the rest of our country. That we are one big family of the Patriotic Front. If this is a new beginning and the good beginning I am sure the ending will be good and I am sure that the ending is going to come before the elections in 2021 as we go there, we will be able to say that indeed we are one political party, with one vision, one purpose and that is what is going to show in the ballot box and the result. Given that we don’t have MPs in Western Province apart form Mangago, I will be tabling before the central committee a request that they allow us to start campaigns for Parliamentary seats here earlier than any other area. So those members, the youths, the women, the male who are interested in contesting in all those seats which are free from being occupied by our own members which is only Mangango, you are free to start lobbying, so that when we blow the whistle we get to know who you are. So that by the end of February March we begin going into the territory to campaign,” said President Lungu.