Editor's Comment

Heed Lungu’s directive

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu addressing Parliament on Friday. PICTURE: SALIM HENRY/STATE HOUSE

AGAINST a background of fear and anxiety over gassing and mob justice, as well as political and legal divisions, President Edgar Lungu’s address to the Fourth Session of the 12th National Assembly yesterday could not have come at a better time than now.
He addressed all concerns and more importantly he provided direction on how to deal with the matters and gave hope that Zambia shall be free of anxiety and fear.
Updating the nation on the progress made in the application of the national values and principles yesterday, President Lungu was evidently hurt about the fear but was also firm in his determination to bring the crimes to an end.
As Commander-in-Chief of the nation, President Lungu berated the inhuman phenomenon of gas attacks on innocent citizens, often culminating in loss of lives at the hands of mobs acting in the name of community justice.
These coordinated gas attacks triggered irrational mob attacks on suspects and led to vandalism of public property, loss of innocent lives and constant fear among our people in many communities.
The country witnessed merciless killings of innocent people in not only Chingola but also other parts leading to merciless reactions from citizens after these killings.
During this period, the country witnessed spraying of chemicals on families, school children, and the public in general, including repulsive reactions by citizens, who stoned and burnt suspects.
There were horrifying pictures on social media, including mass hysteria; people reacting violently to rumours of attacks; failing to sleep for fear of the worst.
In the ensuing confusion, police have shot people, including school children.
The President is also concerned about political violence and has demanded that the law enforcers do their job without fear or favour.
President Lungu spoke about the need to make a deliberate effort to work with one another for the benefit of the country.
Rallying the nation, President Lungu reiterated the need for the country to embrace the ‘One Zambia, One Nation, and One People’ slogan because elections should not divide the country into perpetual political hostility and warring camps.
True to what President Lungu emphasised yesterday, the lives of people cannot be improved through political violence.
It is indeed disheartening that Zambia has continued experiencing violence during elections.
The country should never lose lives because of an election and in President Lungu’s word “one Zambian life lost is one life too many”.
Of concern to the country’s leadership is the escalation of negative sentiments based on narrow sectarian interests.
In a country of 73 ethnic groupings, every citizen has an equal stake. Therefore, there is no justification in a politician, citizen or indeed traditional leader demeaning other citizens based on tribe to gain political mileage.
Tribalism and hate speech have no place in Zambia.
Gassing, tribalism, violence and other vices should never have a place in this country.
As long as vices such as gassing and violence during elections continue to surface, means that inculcating national values and principles and building a nation’s character, which the President said is a long-term undertaking, indeed requires concerted efforts by all stakeholders.
The Church, civic leaders, traditional authorities and well-meaning Zambians should rise and ensure that national values and principles continue to build the country’s character.
In driving the need for patriotism home, President Lungu emphasised the need for citizens to procure locally made products and services because it will help drive entrepreneurship, increased job creation and improved economic growth.
It is key that we keep money within our economy if we are to create jobs and deal with increasing rates of unemployment.
The nation had long waited for the President to speak on the many issues affecting the nation and he gracefully unpacked all that citizens needed to hear.
The challenge is now on all those tasked with the various responsibilities to live up to the expectations of the President and the citizens. Bring the culprits to book.

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