PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema says there is need for African leaders to respect the rule of law if citizens are to do the same.

In his maiden address to the African Union Heads of State summit in Addis Ababa, Saturday, President Hichilema said failure to respect the rule of law by leaders led to negative vices which had plagued Africa for a while.

“It is time to embrace a new paradigm. Let us be anchored by trade, investment, and of course partnerships. Where there is peace and stability on our continent is a narrative we want, where there is rule of law and respect by all of us in leadership as a starting point. We cannot expect our citizens to respect the rule of law when we the leaders have no iota of any respect for the rule of law. That leads us into negative vices that have plagued our continent for far too long. We have to bring it to an end and we have the capacity to do that,” he said.

The Head of State said the narrative of war, instability, corruption and poverty that had characterised the continent for too long should be considered unacceptable.

“For our continent to achieve this objective of economic growth, poverty reduction and improving the lives of our people, we must remain committed to continental peace, security and stability. What’s going on around our continent is concerning in many ways and it is an issue all of us must be addressing with strength and dignity. It will be true to say in my own words that instability anywhere is a threat to stability everywhere. That is a view we hold very strongly,” he said.

“We have a unique opportunity to be the generation of Africans and leaders that will actualize economic and services with integrity and change the African narrative once and for all. We must consider unacceptable the narrative of war, the narrative of instability, corruption and poverty that has characterised our continent for far too long. This is unacceptable, it must not continue, we must change and we have the capacity to change this definition of our continent.”

President Hichilema said it was high time that resources on the continent never left the shores in the raw form, as doing so generated less value.

“Africa is sufficiently endowed to produce food, that should be more than enough to satisfy the continent’s nutrition, food security needs, and will increase value addition, enhance the potential to lift millions of our fellow Africans out of poverty. The problem we have been grappling with for years and years. It has to come to an end,” he said.

“Let us ensure that the resources of our continent have value added and never leave our shores in the raw form as has become a traditional ceremony for years and years. This is unacceptable, generates us less value than we could if we value added our materials. We must be tired of talking about Africa’s protection for years and years. We must actualize that potential. Let us embrace the aspirations of the youths who desire skills, who desire jobs, business opportunities and a chance to be heard, a chance to be involved, not once but all the time. That is very important to us.”

He further informed other Heads of State that Zambia was ready to host the 2022 fourth mid year coordination in July.

“I am pleased to inform you, Your Excellencies, that Zambia is ready to host the 2022 fourth mid-year coordination in July in Lusaka. We look forward to welcoming all of you to our beautiful country,” said President Hichilema.