CHIMWEMWE MWALE, Lusaka
VETERAN politician and diplomat Vernon Mwaanga has advised Zambians to understand the economic challenges the country is facing as a global trend which is not unique to Zambia.
And Zambia â€™s High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba says President Lunguâ€™s empowerment of women to decision-making positions is a demonstration of his commitment to uplifting the status of the marginalised.
Dr Mwaanga said it is not just the Zambian Kwacha that has depreciated against major international currencies but that the current economic trends have affected currencies in several other countries in Africa and other continents.
This is contained in a statement issued yesterday by press secretary at the Zambian Mission in South Africa, Nicky Shabolyo, after Dr Mwaanga met diplomatic staff at the Zambia Mission in Pretoria and some executive committee members of the Zambia South Africa Business Council.
â€œZambia is facing challenges like any other country due to the slowing down of the economy in China, which has become a major player in international economics. And because of the globalisation of the world in which we live, everywhere you go on the continent and elsewhere, you will find that itâ€™s the same situation,â€ Dr Mwaanga said.
He is optimistic that African economies whose growth rates have been revised downwards, will rebound because the continent has enough natural resources on global demand.
Dr Mwaanga, former diplomat Chilufya Kapwepwe, historian Professor Yizenge Chondoka and former President Kenneth Kaundaâ€™s son, Kaweche, are in Pretoria to make presentations at a seminar organised by Freedom Park on the role Zambia played in the liberation of southern Africa.
Dr Mwaanga said Zambiaâ€™s participation in the liberation struggle was driven by the countryâ€™s conviction that it would not be free until other African countries gained independence too.
He said Zambia is not looking at being rewarded by those countries that it assisted and that it is up to individual countries to identify its role and recognise it in the manner they deem appropriate.
Ms Kapwepwe said she was asked by Freedom Park to organise Zambians who could tell the story about Zambiaâ€™s role in the liberation struggle for documentation.
And Mr Kaunda, who is representing Dr Kaunda at the seminar, dispelled assertions that the Kaunda and Kapwepwe families have been at loggerheads from pre-independence times.
â€œI want to correct this myth that has been there for a long time that the Kaunda and the Kapwepwe families donâ€™t get along. It is not true. The two families come a long way back and we have always been supportive of each other,â€ Mr Kaunda said.
And Mr Mwamba said President Lunguâ€™s desire to see a society represented by more women in key positions has been well defined by the appointment of Zambiaâ€™s first female Vice-President Inonge Wina and other women to key government portfolios.
He said this in Pretoria on Tuesday when he met United Kingdom member of Parliament (House of Lords), Baroness Elizabeth Barker, when she paid a courtesy call on him at his office in Pretoria.
Baroness Barker, under the auspices of the Volunteer Services Organisation (VSO) International, will be in Zambia next week as part of her tour of selected African countries.
VSO plans to lobby Zambian MPs and extend some of their programmes to prisons and other communities.
The organisation focuses on HIV interventions, reproductive health issues and ending forced marriages.
â€œPresident Lungu is concerned about prison conditions and is keen to transform the facilities into more habitable places, hence the recent approval by Cabinet to allow private sector participation in setting up prison facilities,â€ Mr Mwamba said.
Baroness Barker said VSO has received money from the Swiss government for its prison HIV intervention programmes, among others.
â€œWe feel it is important to take these initiatives to the prisons because these prisoners will one day leave prison and get into communities. It is indirectly putting an investment into communities,â€ she said.
CHIMWEMWE MWALE, Lusaka