PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has cautioned newly-appointed Water Development, Sanitation, and Environmental Protection Minister Raphael Nakacinda against against indulging in actions that might bring government into disrepute.

Speaking during the swearing in ceremony, Monday, President Lungu said he did not expect Nakacinda to usurp the roles of technocrats because such actions would not only entangle him, but the rest of government.

“As they say, water is life, therefore, provision of water borders on basic human rights. I expect you to focus on reviewing policies and programs with a view to increasing investment in infrastructure development for water, sanitation and the environment as a means through which we can widen access to water and also reach the target of universal access by 2030. Let me end by cautioning you against indulging in actions that might bring government into disrepute. Your role is policy formulation in your ministry. I, therefore, do not expect you to usurp the roles of technocrats because such actions will not only entangle you but the rest of government,” President Lungu said in apparent reference to the case of Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya.

He urged Nakachinda to take keen interest in rain harvesting techniques.

“This appointment comes at a critical time when the people of Zambia are faced with numerous challenges such as floods and the offshoots of the Covid-19 pandemic. Paradoxically, the heavy rain that we have experienced has brought the good news, as well as, the bad. While we celebrate the effect of the rain on electricity generation, for instance, we are also cognizant of the effect of this heavy rain on our people, especially the under-privileged. Floods right now are wreaking havoc, not only in rural areas but also in towns, and your ministry must be part of the problem solving team. Therefore, come up with policies that will help alleviate the suffering of our people. As much as we are blessed with rain this season, we have not yet learnt, as a country, how to harness this rain for both domestic and industrial use. It is time we learnt how to harvest rain for the good of our people because we do not have rainfall throughout the year. Therefore, as the new minister in charge of water, take keen interest in rain harvesting techniques. I expect you to quickly settle down and hit the ground running,” said President Lungu.

“Your predecessor had acclimatised very well, therefore, sit with him and look at priority areas like the grand Kafulafuta dam on the Copperbelt and ensure it is completed. The dam will alleviate water challenges for thousands of people on the Copperbelt once completed. Your ministry is key in ensuring universal access to water and sanitation, as well, as improved development and management of water resources. I am also aware that your ministry is working closely with various cooperating partners in implementing projects and programs focused on increasing access to water by our people. However, it is of great concern that despite these efforts, the provision of safe and clean water, as well as, sound environmental management that meets the needs and aspirations of the present and future generations, still remains a challenge for most of our people, particularly those in the remote parts of the country. There is need, therefore, to double efforts in implementing policies and programmes that will open up areas of investment through public private partnerships in this important sector.”

And speaking after he was sworn in, Nakacinda said he would do his best to achieve some results that would be able to benefit the Zambian people

“Let me begin by thanking His Excellency the President for the confidence that he has continued to express by bestowing this responsibility on me. I am lucky in the sense that I am going to a ministry where my predecessor was already up and running, a template is already in place. Mine is to hit the ground running to implement the programmes that are being undertaken to have the vision of his Excellency, particularly in that sector actualised without leaving anyone behind. I have only got a shot at it, I will do my level best. I hope that within this short period of time we will be able to achieve some results that will be able to benefit the Zambian people.” said Nakachinda.