ALVIN CHIINGA, Lusaka
PRESIDENT Lungu has directed newly-appointed Minister of Defence Richwell Siamunene to transform the ministry to enable defence forces to fully participate in infrastructure development.
And Mr Siamunene says that he is ready to serve the country and not an individual like United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema.
President Lungu reminded Mr Siamunene that his appointment comes at a critical time when the defence forces need to be modernised to be abreast of others in areas such as peace-keeping.
The President said this at State House yesterday when he swore in Mr Siamunene and Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications James Kapyanga.
â€œTo the two of you, congratulations. To the Defence Minister, you are coming at a critical time when the defence force needs to be modernised, so you have to work hard,â€ President Lungu said.
He urged Mr Siamunene to look at issues such as the acquisition of machinery for the Zambia National Service (ZNS) for infrastructure development.
President Lungu said Mr Siamunene has a daunting task, especially that he is taking over the mantle from him.
He said Mr Siamunene needs to utilise the massive competence at the Ministry of Defence.
President Lungu also said Mr Siamunene should not be detracted by those that are talking ill of his appointment but should instead stay focused by working hard.
He said other people are envying his appointment and will at no time talk good about him.
President Lungu said he is an example for Mr Siamunene because some individuals have continued talking ill of him but he has ignored them.
He also advised Mr Kapyanga to closely work with the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications Yamfwa Mukanga instead of overshadowing him.
President Lungu said Mr Kapyanga should use his experience both in the labour movement and politics.
The President said Mr Kapyanga is a good example of one who can rise from the back bench and get to a higher level.
And commenting on Mr Hichilemaâ€™s sentiments over his appointment, Mr Siamunene said it is unfortunate that Mr Hichilema is allegedly bitter about his appointment as Minister of Defence.
â€œEverything that happens, happens for a reason and my appointment as Minister of Defence is not a mistake. Even before I was born, it was decided that I will be Minister of Defence one day,â€ he said.
Mr Siamunene said that it is unfortunate that some people feel bad about his appointment.
He said Mr Hichilema is arguing with God because leadership comes from God Himself.
Mr Siamunene said he will at no time listen to detractors.
Mr Siamunene also promised to be loyal to President Lungu and advised young people to be focused for them to achieve great things in life.
He said he will always seek the Presidentâ€™s guidance, adding that the foundation of success is loyalty.
Meanwhile, Mr Kapyanga said his appointment means that he needs to work extra hard and contribute to national development.
ALVIN CHIINGA, Lusaka