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Elections should not divide us says President Edgar Lungu

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The President spoke when he addressed the issue of 2021 general elections, during his ceremonial opening of Parliament on Friday morning.

President Lungu said: “we are one people, and one nation before, during and after elections.”

He said that principle of oneness should apply even to the forthcoming by-elections in Mwansabombwe and Lukashya Constituencies set for this coming Thursday, September 17.

“Elections should not divide us. We are one people, and one nation before, during and after elections,” President Lungu said.

“This is what we all deserve. This is what we should all strive to achieve. This is what will consolidate Zambia’s position as a beacon of peace.”

President Lungu called upon all political leaders, their members and ordinary citizens to preach peace and love during campaigns, as well as refrain from utterances and actions that may incite violence before, during and after the general elections.President Edgar Lungu has again asked the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to take interest and find out how contracts are being awarded by government institutions. Speaking yesterday when he inspected Mwenda Secondary School in Chipili District in Luapula whose works have stalled since 2017, President Lungu said that the request does not mean that he is interfering with the work of the ACC. President Lungu said that he will not shy away from telling the Commission to fight all forms of corruption as opposed to concentrating in one area. The President said that he was disappointed that construction works have continued to be given to private companies when there are government wings such as the Zambia Army and Zambia National Service that can do the works at lower costs. The President observed that the tendency to give expensive contracts that can be executed at a lower cost is motivated by greed and corruption and that this must be investigated, before adding that the Zambia Army and Zambia National Service can deliver quality works at a lower cost compared to private companies. The President called on officers should treat government projects as their own if the people are to benefit and questioned why the Ministry of General Education has not completed the project in a phased manner so that people can start using the facility. The President has since directed that the school be completed in a phases. Speaking earlier, Housing and Infrastructure Development Minister Vincent Mwale said the government will practice the model that is being used to construct schools in Zambia by the World Bank. Mr. Mwale said the government will be using internal engineers to work on projects. He said it is 70 percent cheaper to use internal government engineers to work on projects than engaging contractors. Mr. Mwale said the model which had so far worked on 15 schools countrywide will help the Government to complete schools on time and save on resources. And General Education Minister Dennis Wanchinga said he will ensure key infrastructure is completed at the school in the next few months. Later, President Lungu held a meeting with chiefs and village headmen. Speaking during the meeting, President Lungu said money for the construction of key roads has been found. He said works on the roads will start in the next few days.

“We should, at all times, inculcate the value of peace and love among our members,” he said.

The Head of State told the House that the 2021 general elections, in furtherance of people’s will and in line with the Republican Constitution, would be held on Thursday, August 12 2021.

He said to adequately prepare for the forthcoming general elections, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) would undertake a voter registration exercise this year.

The President added that such would include mobile as well as online voter pre-registration.

“I urge all eligible voters to be patriotic and exercise their civic duty to vote by participating in the upcoming voter registration exercise. We will all be called upon to either register or verify our details under the new register,” President said.

“This is the only way to exercise our right to vote and be able to choose leaders of our choice. A new register for the 2021 general elections will also be prepared by the Electoral Commission of Zambia. This measure will, among other benefits, eliminate possible duplicate records.”

President Lungu further explained that to ensure as many eligible voters as possible exercised their right to vote in the 2021 general elections, government had embarked on the mobile issuance of National Registration Cards (NRCs).

He said the NRC issuance exercise is intended to increase coverage and reach out to our citizens who live in far-flung areas across the country.

The Head of State implored all stakeholders, including members of parliament, traditional and religious leaders, civic leaders, civil society organisations and all patriotic Zambians to ensure that all eligible citizens acquire or replace their NRCs.

President Lungu expects that the campaigns for the 2021 general elections will be issue-based and peaceful.

“There should be no room for violent campaigns. Elections come and go,” said President Lungu.

“As citizens, therefore, we have a duty to come together and forge ahead with the development of our country after the elections.”

Meanwhile President Lungu is today expected to join campaigns in Mwansabombwe Constituency in Luapula Province to drum up support for PF candidate Kabaso Kampampi.

According to Luapula Province Minister Nickson Chilangwa the President would land at Mansa Airport at 14:00 hours before connecting to Mwansabombwe District.

Chilangwa said while in Mwansabombwe, the Head of State would also pay a courtesy call on Mwata Kazembe of the Lunda people and meet village Headmen before addressing public rallies.

Chilangwa disclosed that the Head of State would also visit Kawambwa District during his two – day campaign tour in the Province.

Source: Kalemba

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