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FIRST Lady Esther Lungu marching during the Commemorations of the International Day of Families in Kapiri Mposhi yesterday. PICTURE: THOMAS NSAMA/STATE HOUSE

Esther calls for strong family unit

CHAMBO NG’UNI, Kapiri Mposhi
FIRST Lady Esther Lungu has said only strong family units can propel Zambia to the desired levels of peace, harmony and development.
“The family is the greatest engine of Zambia’s social and economic lifeline and I agree that family is the critical link between all peoples. The family is the cardinal bond of existence all over the world,” Mrs Lungu said.
The First Lady was speaking here at celebrations to mark the International Day of Families held under the theme “Men in-charge, gender equality and children’s rights in contemporary families – one Zambia, one Nation, one family.”
Mrs Lungu said Zambia is a major player on the platform of the contemporary family standards and this development has meant that the family unit has shifted its unilateral position to embrace new systems and styles of engagements.
She further said women were created equal to men, and therefore should be treated with respect and dignity.
Mrs Lungu was saddened that barely a day passes without reports of a woman being battered or killed by her partner, and a girl being defiled.
“These issues shatter my heart, and I also know that the statistics now show that women have also become violent towards men as well as (fellow) women,” she said.
Mrs Lungu implored men to recognise the role that women play in managing homes. She said men should also participate in campaigns aimed at eliminating social ills that affect women and girls.
Mrs Lungu said the presence of men must be felt in families for the betterment of the welfare of communities.
The First Lady also called on stakeholders to increase the momentum of investing in women and girls as this will enhance their access to education, healthcare,  better livelihoods, safety and security.
Earlier, World Family Organisation vice-president Judith Mwila urged Government to strengthen structures that look into the welfare of the family.
Ms Mwila also said her organisation will work with Government and other partners in promoting good family values and a better society for all people irrespective of social status.