DORIS KASOTE, Addis Ababa
PRESIDENT Lungu says Zambia remains committed to implementing the master plan on stopping arms flow into Africa
by 2020 and that the country has done a number of activities in line with the roadmap.
The President says Zambia welcomes the comprehensive report and commended the African Union Commission for highlighting the progress made and challenges faced in implementing the roadmap.
He was speaking here on Monday when he presented an intervention paper on implementing the master plan on silencing the guns in Africa by 2020 to the 29th African Union (AU) summit of heads of State and Government.
Mr Lungu said some of the activities done in line with the master roadmap include stopping illicit flow of arms and weapons into Africa, their proliferation and circulation, and combating terrorism and violent extremism.
Other activities include completion of border delimitation and demarcation processes, addressing issues of porous borders, poor border control and security systems.
“Curbing illicit financial flows including those directed to illegal arms transactions, financing of terrorism and external political interference”, President Lungu said, is also one of the activities undertaken under the master plan.
Other activities are irregular migration, human, drugs and arms trafficking as well as drug abuse, sexual abuse and violence against women.
“Although there has been progress made in meeting some of the commitments of implementing the master roadmap, much more remains to be done,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Lungu says the AU campaign on ending child marriage in Africa is growing although there is urgent need to increase budgets for executing the crusade.
President Lungu, who is the champion on ending child marriage in Africa, is happy that Zambia has continued to make strides in the campaign against child marriage.
“We have continued to engage traditional leaders to reform traditions and customs that promote child marriage,” he said.
President Lungu said some chiefdoms have reported as much as 50 percent reduction in child marriage prevalence rates.
“We will continue to harmonise statutory and customary laws on marriage to disallow child marriage,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Chikwanda of the Bemba people of Mpika has commended President Lungu for his efforts in fighting child marriage and has called on other African leaders to follow suit for the fight to be won.
The traditional leader said in an interview here that the approach which has been adopted to end child marriage is working well in the 288 chiefdoms in Zambia where the programme has been rolled out.
“If 10 to 15 countries could adopt the approach by President Lungu, Africa would be a better place,” he said.
Chief Chikwanda is confident that the cases of child marriage will reduce even further by 2030, especially that most chiefdoms are participating in the fight against the practice.
“Some chiefdoms are at 75 percent where eradicating child marriage is concerned,” he said.
On traditional practices that encourage child marriages, Chief Chikwanda said such activities have been done away with because traditional leaders are aware of the consequences.
He commended Government for taking the bottom-up approach, starting from traditional leaders right up to the line ministry, which is the Ministry of Gender.
Chief Chikwanda also said traditional leaders have welcomed the intention by the Ministry of Gender to criminalise child marriage.