PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has urged Chingola residents not to believe that “thieves” who have never served in any government position can lead them.
And President Lungu says the commissioning of the Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport is part of a wider developmental agenda set out by the PF government to transform the country.
Speaking in Kapisha, Thursday, President Lungu said he had experience because he had served in government.
“Ba mukukulu aba abaleisa ukweba ati bakachita bwino nga baisa salwa. Bambi tekwesha! Kuti mwasala shani umuntu tabombapo bu councilor, tabombapo bu mayor, tabombapo bu MP. Kuti atungulula shani ichalo? Ifintu kufwaya ukusambilila first waishiba efyo ulechita. Naliko minister, nali MP, nalishiba ifichitika. So abaleisa balebepa ubufi. (Don’t believe thieves saying they will perform well when they are elected. Don’t even try them because some of them have never served as a councillor, mayor or even a member of parliament. How will they lead? You first have to learn, then you will know what you are supposed to do. I once served as a mayor as well as a minister. So don’t believe those who are lying to you),” President Lungu said.
He assured the marketeers that the PF would make things beautiful between now and 2026.
“Batila batasha icho wamwene. Chingola elo twale kula kubwaiche yali town iyisuma sana. Baisa onaula. Twatampa ukuwamya, ba PF bale wamya ichalo pakuti chiwame. Ndemweba apa ukutila 2021 to 2026, mwalamona ifingi ifisuma. (They say you appreciate what you can see. When we were growing up, Chingola was a beautiful town but it was destroyed. The PF government has started to beautify things. To be honest, between now and 2026, you will see nice things),” he said.
And speaking when he commissioned the Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola, the Head of State said the country would be positioned as a major aviation hub.
“Today marks a key milestone in the transport sector and the aviation sub-sector. In particular, as we continue on our journey to reposition Zambia as a major aviation hub in Africa. My government set out, in the Seventh National Development plan, to make the transport sector facilitate development. This has come to fruition as I commission the New Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe airport here in Ndola. The commissioning of this international Airport is part of the wider developmental agenda set out by the PF government to Transform our country through infrastructure development,” he said.
“The projects we commenced at the Kenneth Kaunda international airport and here at the new Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International airport are pivotal in facilitating the country’s tourism and industrialisation agenda. This infrastructure is key in elevating our development agenda to another level.”
President Lungu further said the airport was constructed on a government-to-government loan facilitated by the government of China.
“The new Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International airport has been constructed on a government-to-government loan facilitated by the Exim Bank of China. The infrastructure that the main contractor, Avic international has deployed here at this Greenfield project includes the following: A 3.5 kilometer runway, taxiways and an apron; a two million passengers per annum capacity terminal building; a cargo terminal, an equipped air traffic control tower, a rescue and fire station, navigational equipment. A commercial complex, hotel, and other ancillary infrastructure,” he said.
“I would, therefore, like to thank President Xi Jinping, and the people of China for providing the necessary financing for this wonderful infrastructure. Travelers to Ndola can now experience a World-class look and feel here at the new Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport. It is a launch pad to the rest of the Copperbelt and the Northern tourism circuit. This airport, as well, is in close proximity to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Katanga province thereby improving Business between the two countries.”
The Head of State announced that plans were underway for realizing airfreight cargo potential, route development and other business opportunities on the airport’s land.
“During the project phase, a total of 3,023 direct and 1,478 indirect jobs were created. I am happy to report that our local contractors benefitted through sub-contracting from the main contractor. I am reliably informed that as Zambia Airports Corporation limited commences operations, there will be opportunities for restaurants, retail outlets and duty-free shops in the terminal, apart from the hotel. Further, plans are underway for realizing airfreight cargo potential, route development and other business opportunities on the airport’s land as well as the surrounding area,” he said.
“This is in line with the Patriotic Front’s manifesto and seventh national development plan of taking development closer to the people and leaving no one behind. Your government has again delivered another of its promises that further positions our country for growth. The aviation subsector being what it is, is subject to significant regulatory oversight.”
Meanwhile, the Head of State urged the Zambia Airports Corporation and the Civil Aviation Authority to complete the operational certifications so that operations could commence.
He further advised members of the public to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“The immediate period going forward is the last mile in the journey to getting the airport certified for operations. I implore the various agencies involved in the process to ensure that we uphold the required standards in order to assure safety and security for our passengers as we strive to achieve our aspiration of transforming Zambia into an aviation hub. I urge Zambia Airports Corporation and the civil aviation authority to complete the operational certifications so that operations can commence,” said President Lungu.
“To pursue our projects with the COVID pandemic ravaging is indeed testimony of our commitment to this aspiration. I urge you all to take advantage of the government’s COVID vaccination programme so that the global travelling public can have confidence that the threat of infections in the country has been mitigated.”