NANCY SIAME, Lusaka
COMMONWEALTH secretary-general Patricia Scotland has commended President Lungu for being an exemplary leader in championing the rights of women and girls at local and international levels.
And Ms Scotland yesterday visited incarcerated United Party for National Development leader Hakainde Hichilema at Mukobeko Maximum Correctional Facility in Kabwe to discuss with him issues regarding last year’s general elections, which she said were credible, free and fair.
Speaking when she paid a courtesy call on President Lungu at State House before travelling to Kabwe, Ms Scotland urged the head of State to continue ensuring that equality issues continue taking centre stage in the country.
“You have been such an exemplary leader when it comes to delivering equality issues and I urge you to continue in the same vein, you have made us proud,” she said.
Ms Scotland also congratulated President Lungu on his victory in last year’s general elections, which she described as credible, free and fair.
She also assured the President that the Commonwealth will support Zambia’s legal reforms programme to help it become more effective.
“We are aware that there is scarcity of legal drafts men and women here. No country has a perfect system but we all want a better legal system,” Ms Scotland said.
And welcoming Ms Scotland, President Lungu thanked the Commonwealth for supporting Zambia during last year’s general elections and for its assistance in the fight against corruption.
“We look forward to your assistance in skills training for officers in the Ministry of Justice,” he said.
President Lungu congratulated Ms Scotland on her elevation to the position of Commonwealth secretary-general, saying her records speak for themselves.
“I believe you can revamp what the Commonwealth stands for, we will work closely with you to ensure that issues of equality are addressed,” he said.
The two leaders later held a closed-door meeting which lasted close to two hours.
Speaking after the closed-door meeting, special assistant to the President for press and public relations Amos Chanda said Ms Scotland informed President Lungu that she would be visiting Mr Hichilema at Mukobeko Maximum Correctional Facility to discuss the post-election situation.
Mr Chanda said the President encouraged Ms Scotland on her intentions to visit Mr Hichilema and wished her well.
“She will visit Mr Hichilema at Mukobeko Maximum Correctional Facility this afternoon [yesterday] and the media will be briefed about their meeting,” he said.
Mr Chanda said during the closed-door meeting, the two leaders also discussed issues of climate change, governance, the upcoming Commonwealth heads of State summit and Zambia’s leading role as a champion against child marriage and gender-based violence.
Ms Scotland, who started her visit to Africa in Uganda, is also expected to travel to Tanzania and Mozambique.