CHARLES CHISALA, Lusaka
FOR the Zambians who will be privileged to serve in President Lunguâ€™s new government in various capacities, the next five years will no doubt be both exciting and taxing.
It will be exciting because the President will have an entire five-year term of his own in which to translate the Patriotic Front (PF)â€™s elaborate manifesto into improved living standards for all Zambians.
And taxing because it is Mr Lunguâ€™s last term in office, in accordance with the constitutional limit, which he will dedicate to hard work so that he can leave Zambia a better country to live and work in.
In his speech at his inauguration and that of his Vice-President Inonge Wina at National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka last Tuesday ,the man gave the nation, and the world, a glimpse into what path his government will tread during his full term of office.
The speech was a declaration of war on poverty, underdevelopment and political intolerance.
President Lungu made it clear that he would like to leave State House a proud and contented man, knowing that he has delivered most of, if not all, the key promises he made to the people of this great country while on his campaign odyssey ahead of the August 11 general elections.
The President declared that it will be five years of hard work and sacrifice. He demonstrated this in the one year he was in the saddle.
Those who have had the privilege to work with the man from Chawama or seen him at work know only too well that he was not bluffing. He expects hard work from his team.
He had not gone to the stadium to excite his supporters with sugar-coated promises and praises, but to elicit their support and encouragement as he confronts the daunting task they laid on his working table on August 11, 2016 when they flocked to the polling stations to hand him the victory.
â€œThe next five years must deliver prosperity to all Zambians especially the most disadvantaged and vulnerable members of our society,â€ he said.
And the President made it clear that he is not like those â€˜I will do it aloneâ€™ politicians who canâ€™t think beyond self. He said he will work with other humble Zambians to deliver his promises.
â€œThe future and promise of this great nation beckons to us all. Now is the time to put aside our differences and believe in our common destiny. As we embark on developing the country in the next five years, we are mindful of the development challenges that daunt us,â€ he said.
President Lungu promised to fight poverty, underdevelopment and intolerance from multiple fronts, going for the jugular of youth unemployment first.
The President lamented that majority people in Zambia are youth and that it is his desire to harness the potential locked in this dormant human resource to spur development.
â€œThe youths need education and skills, they need a proper healthcare system and support to participate in our economy,â€ he said.
The President promised that his administration will not leave anyone behind in the development crusade, pledging that every region of the country and all Zambians will receive their own share of benefits of development.
The collective approach to tackling the nationâ€™s challenges is captured in the PFâ€™s manifesto, which the President said will inform the Seventh National Development Plan.
And Mr Lungu acknowledged that without the participation of the private sector, the PFâ€™s ambitious development agenda will remain a pipe dream. He therefore promised to continue facilitating a favourable business and investment climate to ensure private sector-driven development.
But this does not mean that the government will just be watching from the terraces.
â€œWhere private sector participation will not be realised at the desired rate Government will apply a mix of policy and legislative interventions aimed at enhancing development,â€ he said.
He assured that the government will also not hesitate to take appropriate measures where development efforts are being impeded by factors that affect delivery of public services.
This is where the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) will come in. Through this vehicle, State-owned companies will be required to take the lead where private sector participation is not being realised.
The recent re-opening and recapitalisation of Zambia China Mulungushi Textiles Limited in Kabwe is just one example of how this is expected to pan out.
President Lungu hinted that human development will be the vehicle of economic and social transformation.
For example, the last five years has seen massive investment in education at all its levels.
â€œWe must now consolidate the gains of the past five years. Our programmes have resulted in the unprecedented unfolding infrastructure, an inescapable prelude to all forms of development, including the critical social sectors,â€ President Lungu said.
In sonta apo wabombaâ€¦. fashion the President could afford a bit of justifiable bragging about the PFâ€™s incredible performance.
â€œWe are proud of what we have achieved in just five short years amid some of the most intractable challenges in the local and global economy,â€ he said.
The President outlined at a glance some of the measures his administration will take in different sectors to achieve long-term and strategic national development goals.
Mr Lungu emphasised the importance of peace and unity because they are the pre-requisites for any meaningful development, and announced that he will appoint a commission of inquiry to probe the post-election violence that has left a blot on Zambiaâ€™s reputation as a beacon of peace.
The Presidentâ€™s speech communicated hope and assurance that the focus of his government in the next five years will be human-centred economic transformation.
He summarised his expectation in one paragraph:
â€œI would like to call upon all Zambians to inculcate a culture of hard work within ourselves, sacrifice and endurance in our quest to achieve our personal ambitions and benefits.â€
There will be no room for complacency, for the clock is already ticking.
CHARLES CHISALA, Lusaka