Friday, 15th March, 2019
1. We, the people of this country resolved to commit ourselves to upholding a defined set of national values and principles under article 8 of the constitution. We also decided, under article 9, sub-article (2), that the president shall report to this house, once a year, progress made in the application of our national values and principles. Today, I am here to do just that.
2. Before I proceed with my address, may I request the house to stand and join me in observing a minute of silence in honour of the late Honourable member of parliament for Sesheke constituency, Mr. Frank Simona Kufwakwandi, who went to be with the lord on 12th November, 2018. [pause]
3. The house, the country and the people of Sesheke will greatly miss his services. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
4. Following the demise of the former Honourable member of parliament for Mangango constituency, Mr. Naluwa Mweene and the former Honourable member of parliament for Sesheke constituency, Mr. Frank Simona Kufwakwandi, new members of parliament have since been elected to represent the people of the two constituencies.
5. Let me now welcome the new member of parliament for Mangango constituency, Honourable Godwin Putu and the new member of parliament for Sesheke constituency, Honourable Romeo Kang’ombe.
6. Your election victories are a clear demonstration of the trust that you earned among the people of Mangango and Sesheke. That trust, however, comes with the responsibility to deliver on your campaign promises. So, do not let our people down.
7. In welcoming you, we are all reminded of the expectations of our people. Our people are yearning for development. Development that is people-centred. Development that secures our future. Development that does not leave anyone behind. We should, therefore, use this privilege of service to improve the lives of our people.
8. As I proceed to give the progress on the application of our national values and principles, it is important to re-state what our national values and principles are:
I) morality and ethics;
ii) patriotism and national unity;
iii) democracy and constitutionalism;
iv) human dignity, equity, social justice, equality and non-discrimination;
v) good governance and integrity; and
vi) sustainable development.
9. A nation anchored on firm values and principles accomplishes great things. One great Economist, John Maynard Keynes, once said, and I quote: “people are moved to action by what they believe.” End of quote.
10. Indeed, our words, our talk and the thoughts that preoccupy us do matter. They point to the ideals we live by. Being a nation of faith, a Christian nation, it is imperative that we take time to reflect and talk about our national values and principles. This is because our character and honour is judged by our sense of right and wrong.
11. We meet today to re-affirm our commitment to upholding our national values and principles. More importantly, the purpose of this occasion is for us to give an account of what we are doing as a nation to apply these values and principles.
12. I will now highlight the progress we made in 2018 under each value and principle as enshrined in the constitution.
Morality and ethics
13. Morality and ethics are values that define what we, as a people, collectively believe to be right or wrong. In some instances, they may not necessarily be written down.
14. I wish to report that we are making strides in promoting morality and ethics in our nation. In the area of gender based violence, which remains one of the critical moral issues of our time, we have intensified awareness programmes at every level of our society including our communities, schools, work places and places of worship.
15. This awareness resulted in increased reporting of gender based violence cases from 21,504 in 2017 to 22,073 in 2018. We are addressing the consequences of gender based violence by providing moral, emotional, medical and legal support to victims. To this effect, counseling and legal support was provided to 8,682 victims comprising 5,444 females and 3,238 males. I wish to commend all stakeholders who have joined hands with government in our fight against gender based violence.
16. To support victims and expeditiously dispose of gender-based violence cases, government has continued establishing one-stop centres and user- friendly fast-track courts. In 2017, we only had two fast track courts situated in Lusaka and Kabwe. At the end of 2018, four more courts were established and are operational in Chipata, Ndola, Livingstone and Mongu.
17. Government intends to establish more one-stop centres and fast-track courts. It is my hope that with time the incidences of gender based violence will be reduced. I urge our people to desist from engaging in gender based violence.
18. Another area of concern has been alcohol and substance abuse, especially among our young people. To curb alcohol and substance abuse, government, among other measures, undertook sensitisation of traditional and religious leaders where 235 chiefs and 180 religious leaders from all the ten provinces were sensitised on the dangers of alcohol and substance abuse. This was with the view to strengthening their role as agents of change. This programme will continue because traditional and religious leaders play a cardinal role in shaping the morals of our society.
19. Further, government undertook 2,310 public awareness programmes in learning institutions, work places and community-based structures throughout the country. These programmes, which are also being supported by corporate entities, will continue.
20. We have an opportunity to use information and communication technologies to advance and propel our country to a higher level of development. It is of great concern, however, that others have chosen to use this versatile tool to commit cyber crimes that include financial malpractices, hate speech, falsehoods and character assassination. I, once again, implore all our citizens to be wary of the negative aspects of social media and use this medium responsibly.
21. On our part as government, I am glad to report that we are making progress in promoting responsible use of electronic platforms as well as safeguarding users on these platforms. The process of enacting the cyber security and cyber crimes bill and the data protection bill has reached an advanced stage. This will ensure that offenders are brought to book.
22. I urge this august house to support the bills which will be presented during this session of parliament.
23. Our country is also challenged on the moral front by the incidences of defilement. Defilement is an inhuman act that deprives victims of their right to live dignified lives. The scars from being defiled have lasting negative effects. In this regard, government and other stakeholders have taken steps to raise awareness in our communities. Further, government has provided for stiffer penalties to eliminate this vice. I implore families and communities to also take responsibility and speak out against this vice as well as help in the rehabilitation of victims.
24. Teenage pregnancy continues to be a growing concern in our country. It undermines the rights of girls and compromises their opportunity to fully realise their potential. Government is, therefore, implementing measures to end teenage pregnancy. I commend the efforts of our cooperating partners, civil society, traditional leaders and religious organisations in this fight.
25. One such measure is the continued implemention of the adolescence health strategy. Through this strategy, 40 trainers of trainers were trained in adolescent health in 2018. Further, 504 peer educators drawn from all the ten provinces were trained. In addition, 1,309,150 adolescents were reached with health messages and various health and social services.
26. Upholding moral uprightness and ethical conduct by all our people in business, work and social life is key to the development of this country. During my address in march last year, I informed this house that government had developed codes of ethics to regulate the behaviour of public service officers.
27. I am pleased to report that this programme has continued and more public service institutions have developed their codes of ethics, which encompass such important values as loyalty, honesty and integrity. The institutions include the Zambia police service, the immigration department and the Zambia defence forces.
28. To promote ethical conduct and professionalism, a total of 3,100 officers from the Zambia police service and the immigration department and 1,351 teachers were sensitised on their respective codes of ethics in 2018. Further, 5,984 civil service employees were sensitised on the code of ethics for the public service. I wish to applaud all public service officers who are setting a good example in adhering to these codes of ethics.
29. To further uphold moral and ethical conduct, government has strengthened the office of the chaplaincy in the Zambia correctional service. All correctional facilities now have at least one qualified chaplain to provide spiritual guidance on moral and ethical issues to inmates and officers.
30. Examination malpractices have remained a concern to the nation and are retrogressive. Perpetrators of this crime should understand that there is no short-cut to genuine success. One of the ripple effects is that people get used to malpractice and apply it in other spheres of life, leading to a growing number of deceitful people in society. In addition, our institutions of learning will produce a sub-standard human resource that cannot effectively respond to the development needs of the country.
31. I am, therefore, pleased to inform this august house that government has put in place measures to bring this vice to an end.
32. I wish to draw the attention of this august house to the media. The media has a powerful role to play in building our nation which goes beyond informing, educating and entertaining. They have a major influence on the moral and ethical conduct of our people. I, therefore, wish to implore media houses to take a lead in promoting moral and ethical living among our people. They should be sensitive to their audience and ensure that their content is progressive and not destructive.
Patriotism and national unity
33. Patriotism entails a lifelong commitment by each one of us towards making our country a better place. We should strive to work together in pursuit of common goals that seek to benefit our country. The challenges we face as a nation can only be addressed in unity.
34. It is gratifying to note that our citizens are increasingly embracing selfless devotion to our nation. This is evidenced by the support government is receiving from various citizens in a number of areas such as epidemic control, disaster management and caring for the under-privileged.
35. Under the proudly Zambian campaign, government is working with the private sector to promote the buying and use of Zambian products. If we, as Zambians, do not stand proud and support products from our own natural resources, who will? Who will consume the products from our local producers? Who will stimulate our industries to grow and create the much needed jobs? It is only ourselves. Therefore, think local first!
36. To promote local products, a ‘proudly Zambian’ expo was successfully held in November 2018. The expo attracted more than 50 Zambian producers who showcased their products. As a result of the expo, the uptake of Zambian products is expected to increase.
37. There is need to enhance patriotism among our local contractors as well. Government is, therefore, providing training to local contractors to enable them deliver high quality infrastructure works. The training is also aimed at inculcating a sense of patriotism. In 2018, 1,920 contractors were trained.
38. I encourage our local contractors to embrace the culture of hard work and good business ethics. You must always endeavour to deliver on your contractual obligations if you have to win the confidence of our people. This way you will stop complaining of being side-lined in preference to foreign contractors.
39. Government has invested heavily in various infrastructure across the country for accelerated development and improved livelihoods of our people. It is everyone’s duty to safeguard this infrastructure.
40. We must, therefore, say no to vandalism and develop a sense of responsibility and pride towards these national assets. From that pupil in Kashikishi, to the health worker in Mitete, and to our youth on the streets and highways of our country, we have a collective duty to protect these assets and guard them jealously.
41. Patriotism demands that we always speak well of our country. Let us be the best ambassadors of our motherland at home and abroad. I cannot emphasise this point enough. Fellow Zambians, let us be proud of our land, our identity, our home. We may not all appreciate how it feels to have no sense of belonging. Therefore, let us stand proud of our motherland. Indeed, stand and sing of Zambia proud and free.
42. In an effort to foster national unity, identity and sovereignty, government has continued to facilitate the commemoration of national days of historic importance. These include the independence day, Africa freedom day and national day of prayer, fasting, repentance and reconciliation.
43. The commemorations remind us of our rich history as a country, and in some cases, the contribution made by our fore-fathers and mothers. The observance of these days also help us to celebrate our unity in diversity. I, therefore, urge all citizens to fully participate in these important events.
44. Further, what equally defines our patriotism and national unity are our national symbols. Government is promoting the entrenchment of our national symbols, these being the national flag, the national anthem, the coat of arms, the national motto and the public seal.
45. Stakeholder sensitisation on the importance of respecting the national symbols continues to be undertaken. We must continue to educate our children at home, in schools and at social gatherings, on the true meaning of these symbols. The symbols must be engraved in our minds and hearts to help us be more patriotic.
46. To further enhance national unity, we need to engage and communicate genuinely as a people. We need to embrace a spirit of constructive and progressive dialogue at all levels. As government, we will not relent on this. Our citizens must also play their part in promoting national unity.
Democracy and constitutionalism
47. As a democracy, we as government govern with the authority and voice of the people. Therefore, we remain committed to promoting the rights of citizens to participate in running the affairs of our country. We are equally committed to upholding the supremacy of the constitution for the well-being of all Zambians.
48. Government is cognisant of the fact that civic education is a crucial element in the democratic dispensation of the country. One critical area in this regard is voter education. Government in collaboration with other stakeholders has been undertaking continuous voter sensitisation countrywide.
49. In 2018, government conducted a total of 27 voter sensitisation activities in districts that had by-elections as well as various voter education outreach activities in selected districts. It is expected that voter turn out will progressively improve, especially during by-elections and further, towards general elections.
50. Necessary constitutional reforms are vital in the life of any democratic nation such as ours. Government also remains committed to continue undertaking constitutional reforms in line with the aspirations of the people.
51. Political violence threatens our national unity and democracy. Political violence results in injuries and fatalities as well as destruction of property. It also robs our people of their right to vote freely. Further, such actions dent the image of our country which is known as a beacon of peace.
52. I, therefore, wish to, once again, condemn all forms of political violence in the strongest terms. We need to promote co-existence and accommodate divergent views. We need to strive to resolve our differences through non-violent means. Let us continue to promote our motto of one Zambia, one nation.
53. Let me remind all our citizens that no one is above the law. All perpetrators of political violence should be brought to book regardless of their political affiliation. The Zambia police service should, therefore, deal with all matters of political violence in a professional manner.
Human dignity, equity, social justice, equality and non-discrimination
54. Every human being is born with the right to dignity and fair treatment. As government, we have a duty to ensure that all our citizens are treated with dignity and fairness.
55. To promote the dignity of our workers, government, in September 2018, revised the minimum wage for domestic, shop and general workers. For instance, Bana Bwalya, a domestic worker, who was previously earning K520.00 is now getting K993.60. Her neighbour, Misozi, a shop keeper, who was taking home K1,100.00 in 2017 is now earning at least K1,600.00.
56. I urge all employers to adhere to the revised minimum wage in order to improve and maintain the dignity of our protected workforce. Let us remember that human resource is the most valuable asset for any organisation.
57. Our children who are living on the streets have not been left out. In 2018, government, through the street children programme, provided social support and rehabilitation services to 1,350 street children consisting of 1,215 boys and 135 girls.
58. Let me thank the cooperating partners and civil society for complementing government efforts in rehabilitating and re-integrating the children back into their families. As families, let us also ensure that we play our parental and guardian role to avoid letting our children roam the streets.
59. In a bid to promote equity for all our citizens, government has continued to improve access to social services for our people, especially in rural areas.
60. For instance, to provide quality health services as close to the people as possible, government has continued to rehabilitate, upgrade and construct new health facilities countrywide. In this vein, two additional first level hospitals were completed in 2018 and are operational in chipata and nyimba. The construction of 14 health posts was completed, bringing the total number to 289.
61. To promote equity in access to education, especially by girls from vulnerable households, government is implementing the “keeping girls in school” programme. In 2018, a total of 16,162 girls were supported with school fees against a target of 14,000. This was an improvement in comparison to 2017 when 8,818 girls were supported in 16 districts. This is commendable. Government intends to upscale this programme to cover 11 additional districts.
62. To bridge the digital divide between urban and rural areas, government completed the construction of 623 communication towers in unserved and under-served areas in 2018. Out of these towers, 338 are already functional. The remaining towers will be operational by the end of this year.
63. This continues to ease access to information and communications technology for people in rural areas, creating opportunities for individual, family and community development. I am sure that many of us are appreciating the ability to reach family and friends regardless of their locations.
64. Government is aware that some rural areas have remained under-served in respect of radio and television signals. I am, however, glad to report that 18 of the 25 new radio station licences approved in 2018, were for the rural areas. Our people in rural areas will now have increased access to information to help them make informed decisions.
65. In an effort to improve access to legal representation, a total of 4,509 vulnerable people who sought assistance were all supported with legal aid services across the country in 2018.
66. Further, to strengthen the policy framework for the provision of legal aid services, government, in november 2018, launched the national legal aid policy. The policy will, among others, promote impartiality, fairness and inclusiveness in legal representation.
67. Our people deserve fair and just distribution of wealth, opportunities and social privileges. In this regard, 1,077 boreholes were constructed in rural areas across the country in 2018. Approximately 269,250 individuals are now able to access clean and safe water from these boreholes. This is reducing the incidences of water-borne diseases.
68. In addition, Chikowa dam was constructed in Mambwe district in eastern province while 5 dams in Luapula, North-Western, Copperbelt, southern and western provinces are at different levels of construction. Further, 2 dams in Zimba district in southern province were rehabilitated. These dams will inspire our people in the surrounding communities to engage in economic activities such as fish farming, horticulture, and raising livestock.
69. Government has continued with the programme of connecting different parts of the country to the national electricity grid. In 2018, government connected 36 rural growth centres in nine districts in five provinces to the national grid through the rural electrification programme. In total, 2,497 customers were connected to the national grid.
70. In collaboration with the private sector, we connected 300 households to a 50 kilowatt solar mini-grid in Chipangali district of eastern province. In Lusaka province, 150 households of Chirundu district were connected to a 10.2 kilowatt solar micro-grid.
71. Government will continue with the rural electrification programme to enable more of our people across the country access electricity and improve their livelihoods.
72. We are also working hard to promote equality in our development process. To enhance access to land, government has continued to implement the deliberate policy to allocate 40 percent of available land to women whilst the remaining 60 percent is competed for by both men and women. For instance, in 2018, 3,010 certificates of title were processed for women compared to 7,063 for men in an effort to reach the 40 percent target. This clearly demonstrates that we are making considerable progress towards empowering women.
73. In our quest to eliminate all forms of discrimination in the delivery of development, government is resolved to ensuring that implementation of development programmes takes into account the special needs and capacities of its people.
74. To demonstrate this, government, through the teacher recruitment exercise of 2018, reserved ten per cent of the total number of positions for persons with disabilities. I, therefore, urge other institutions, especially in the private sector to emulate this deliberate policy. Let us ensure that every Zambian is treated with dignity.
Good governance and integrity
75. Good governance entails collective decision-making, accountability and transparency in running the affairs of the country. It is, therefore, imperative that our people actively participate in the economic, social, cultural and political processes that affect their daily lives.
76. To this effect, we have endeavoured to involve our people in the development of government policy and legislation. For instance, in 2018, our citizens were consulted during the formulation of the industrial policy, the non-governmental organisations policy, the heritage and conservation policy, and the national health insurance act no. 2 of 2018.
77. We are also making progress in enhancing integrity in the public service. In my address to this august house in march 2018, I reported that government would bring the public finance management bill for consideration by this august house. I am glad to report that this bill was enacted in april 2018. The public finance management act no. 1 of 2018 is now instrumental in enhancing transparency and accountability in the use of public funds.
78. Government recognises the important role civil society plays in promoting good governance. In this regard, we continued providing a conducive environment for civil society to participate in the governance of the country.
79. In 2018, one hundred and fifty civil society organisations were registered, bringing the total number of active civil society organisations, working in various sectors of our country, to 906.
80. I urge all civil society organisations to continue responding to the needs and aspirations of our people in their areas of focus within the confines of the law.
81. Government remains committed to the fight against corruption. Corruption starves vital developmental programmes of the much needed resources. It is an evil that unnecessarily inflates the cost of doing business and erodes investor confidence in the economy.
82. I, therefore, wish to urge all the relevant agencies mandated to combat corruption to step up the fight. I implore you to tackle the vice in all its forms. As I have stated before, we will not interfere in your operations. We stand ready to support you in this noble cause. We will capacitate you to effectively execute your mandate.
83. To my fellow citizens, I wish to urge you to detest this vice. I invite you to the battle front. Do not abate corruption. Report all cases of corruption to relevent authorities. Together, let us wage a courageous and relentless fight against corruption. This is a war we cannot afford to lose. We owe victory in this war to posterity.
84. In our resolve to achieve socio-economic development for the present, we are mindful of the needs of future generations.
85. It is, therefore, imperative that as a nation, we respond to the existential threat of climate change by improving the management of our natural resources. Government has been implementating climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.
86. These include afforestation and reforestation, conservation farming, promotion of green energy as well as safeguarding and improving our environment through effective waste management. For instance in 2018, trees were planted on 3,951 hectares of land. Furthermore, 15,509 hectares of land was allocated for the establishment of community forests in 5 sites of Mpulungu district.
87. Similarly, 10,542 fruit trees, 24,854 exotic trees and 60,000 Vetiver grass were planted. In addition, statutory instrument no. 11 of 2018 was issued to enhance community participation in forest management. This has so far resulted in the signing of 21 forest management agreements covering a total forest area of 32,730 hectares of land in Muchinga and North-Western provinces.
88. The agricultural sector is more prone to the effects of climate change than other sectors. In this regard, government is promoting conservation agriculture to enhance climate change resilience among agricultural households. Over the last two farming seasons, a total of 267,000 farmers have adopted conservation agricultural practices countrywide.
89. Further, government has been undertaking research and development to come up with drought resistant crop varieties and contribute to crop diversification. In this regard, a total of 13 new crop varieties were released onto the market in 2018.
90. Government is alive to the dangers posed by the indiscriminate disposal of plastics to the environment, which is also a health hazard to our society. It is, therefore, everyone’s responsibility to ensure that our environment is protected by acting responsibly.
91. We all need to continuously sensitise the citizenry on reducing, re-using and recycling of plastic products. This is critical to mitigating the negative impact of the products on the environment.
92. To enhance implementation of the environmental management act no. 12 of 2011, government introduced a partial ban on the use of plastics through statutory instrument no. 65 of 2018 on extended producer responsibility.
93. I, therefore, urge all of us to change our attitude towards the use and disposal of plastic products. Let us go back to using environmentally friendly packaging materials such as paper bags and re-usable baskets.
94. Following the formulation of the solid waste management policy, which I stated in my previous address, we have since enacted the solid waste regulation and management act no. 20 of 2018. The implementation of this act will improve the handling and disposal of solid waste.
95. Sustainable development also requires that old and dilapidated infrastructure is either repaired or demolished and then “built back better”. I, therefore, urge citizens and institutions to embrace the concept of urban-regeneration in the context of sustainable development.
96. I further urge all citizens to continue playing their part in safeguarding our environment and natural resources. Let us be responsible in the manner we use our water and electricity. We should also be mindful of how we dispose off waste.
97. During my address in march 2017, I informed this house that government would develop a national framework to assist in gathering evidence in the application of national values and principles at national, organisational, community and individual levels.
98. I am glad to inform this august house that this framework has been developed. The framework also provides a coordination mechanism among various institutions to facilitate comprehensive reporting and tracking of progress on the application of the national values and principles.
99. It is, indeed, encouraging that we are making strides in the application of our national values and principles. This is evidenced by the progress which I have highlighted today. However, a lot more still needs to be done to entrench our national values and principles in whatever we do, be it in our homes, our schools, our workplaces and indeed in our communities. We must remain committed to what we have set for ourselves.
100. On the part of government, we will continue to provide leadership and an enabling environment to facilitate the appreciation and application of these values and principles. I implore our stakeholders to continue complementing our efforts in the promotion of our national values and principles.
101. Let me reiterate that, commitment to the application of the values and principles provides a solid base in our journey to prosperity. The inculcation of these values and principles will ensure that, as a people, we develop a deep sense of self-worth as well as build a positive image necessary to move this country to greater heights.
102. To achieve this, let us renew our quest to not only control the economy, but to grow it. Am calling upon all Zambians to work hard to move this country to greater heights, to own and run businesses, own property without fear of being lebeled a Satanist or witch hunted for your inovations.
103. Let our conscience continue to be the light of the soul of our nation. Let our conscience guide our actions in both our public and private lives. Let our conscience raise its voice in protest and counsel whenever we think or behave contrary to our national values and principes.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you.