DOREEN NAWA, Lusaka
ZAMBIA Railways Limited (ZRL) has launched the Golden Jubilee-Michael Chilufya Sata passenger train.
The train has 11 coaches: 8 economy, 1 sleeper, 1 standard and 1 first class. It also has a baggage van and a generator set.
Speaking at the launch in Lusaka yesterday, Transport, Works, Supply and Communication Minister Yamfwa Mukanga said, â€œI find it befitting to name the train as it has been named because we are celebrating 50 years of Zambiaâ€™s independence as well as the life of our visionary leader, Michael Chilufya Sata.â€ He said part of the US$120 million Euro-bond was used to purchase the train.
The train will provide a regular passenger service between Livingstone and Kitwe.
And First Lady Christine Kaseba-Sata has said the family will remember the event as a memorable one.
In a speech read by her daughter, Mwelwa, Dr Kaseba said the dream of the late President towards the transport sector was to provide decent and reliable transport to all the Zambians.
â€œI urge you to guard the property jealously so that it becomes our inheritance and that of generations to come,â€ she said.
ZRL chief executive officer Muyenga Atanga said ZRL is proud to be part of the success to honour a visionary leader that President Sata was.
Prof Atanga pledged to continue complementing Government efforts in providing quality, reliable and comfortable transport services.
â€œDo not vandalise the train.Â We need it and we should care for the train if we cared for Mr Sata. Let it be the true gospel and preach to the generation to come,â€ Prof Atanga said.
ZRL Board chairperson Davis Mwila said President Sataâ€™s vision is coming to fruition.
â€œWe will never disappoint you, and this board does not take failure as an option. We will not disappoint the late President Sata,â€ he said.
â€œFire the board if we fail to perform.Â We will not accept mediocre performance,â€ Mr Mwila said.
Meanwhile, Railway Workers Union of Zambia (RWUZ) president Nathan Zulu hailed the occasion as a key reminder of Zambian ownership of ZRL and the vision that President Sata had in transforming the transport sector and ZRL in particular.
â€œTo us as workers, we feel that we lost nine years of rail and personal development. Today, we stand proud knowing that we have permanent and pensionable employment,â€ said Zulu.
DOREEN NAWA, Lusaka