Editor's Comment

Zambia must build on HH’s UN delivery

PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema’s assurance to the United Nations General Assembly that the fight against corruption will be at the centre of his government’s transformation agenda has put Zambia on the right path to regain investor confidence at global level. The fact that the country’s crusade against corruption has been recognised by United States of America President Joe Biden in his reference to the efforts by young people to vote out the Patriotic Front regime, is the beginning of trust and confidence developed nations have in Zambia. To this effect, citizens have a huge responsibility to live up to President Biden’s confidence as well as President Hichilema’s promise to the international community. Although President Hichilema is the flag carrier of the country’s commitment against graft, the burden of proving integrity at national level rests with every citizen.
This is the time people need to inculcate a sense of responsibility in all their dealings to make the fight against corruption tenable and attract investment. There is also need for stakeholders in the country to support the cause for a just society given the President’s pledge to other world leaders of creating a conducive governance environment for sustainable development.
The civil society organisations should take advantage of the promise of fair play and offer constructive checks and balances to the government and not just pander to the whims of their international funders. Being President Hichilema’s first appearance at the UN General Assembly after his election victory on August 12, the world will be watching to see how Zambians will make the most out of the change of government. The trust and confidence that the US President has placed in Zambia should be the bedrock upon which the country must woo investment into the country. The country needs investment in mining, agriculture, tourism, energy including the health sector. Investors want to recoup their investments in an environment devoid of corruption. Some donor countries have been reluctant to invest in the health sector before because of the problem of corruption where some officials misused public funds. So, Mr Hichilema’s appearance at the UN General Assembly as a new President provided an opportunity for Zambia to regain confidence from donors. Citizens should appreciate this by being trust-worthy.
The issues President Hichilema raised in his well delivered speech during the 76th United Nations General Assembly in New York bolstered the relationship with developed nations like USA, a feat which should be complemented by innovations to tap into such big markets. His start to engaging with world leaders and the promise to zero-tolerance against corruption must be supported because his first impression will make or break the aspirations of the nation. Law-enforcement agencies must seize the opportunity to ensure that corruption has no place in the country because it threatens international investments which play an important role to the growth of Zambia’s economy. Citizens should take advantage of freedom of expression guaranteed by the President to point out corrupt practices in public places. A free media, as promised by the President at the world stage, should position itself to highlight corrupt practices without abusing the right to freedom of expression. The assurance by the President to the UN General Assembly to guarantee a stable and predictable environment that will attract and protect local and foreign direct investment, calls for concerted effort by Zambians to avoid dishonest and fraudulent conduct.
Investor confidence will ensure creation of jobs that will improve people’s livelihoods across the board.

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