Tuesday, January 01, 2008
By Ntalasha Mutale
Tuesday January 01, 2008 [03:00]
PRESIDENT Levy Mwanawasa has urged Zambians to unite and enact a new constitution in peace and tranquility as they enter the new year. In his New Year message to the nation on Monday night, President Mwanawsa urged Zambians to preserve the peace that he said has been enjoyed for so many years, even in the festive season.
“We as Zambians should show the maturity and magnanimity that we have always demonstrated and prove that there can be unity in diversity. Let us bury our differences, deliberate issues objectively, and bequeath ourselves a constitution which posterity shall cherish,” President Mwanawasa said.
President Mwanawasa urged all stakeholders to show unity of purpose and commitment to the constitution making process.
“I would like to reiterate government’s commitment to ensuring the successful enactment of a people driven constitution. The National Constitutional Conference has been constituted to drive the process,” he said.
President Mwanawasa also said Zambia’s governance has recorded the country recognition by the international community as a favourable investment destination.
“As we enter the New Year, we should enhance good governance and prepare to be reviewed under the NEPAD’s African Peer Review Mechanism,” President Mwanawasa said.
He said government in the past years through the Task Force followed up a number of cases of plunder and recovered several properties and monies.
He said the proceeds from the sales of these properties would be used for various programmes in the needy social sector.
President Mwanawasa also said government would in the coming year step up efforts aimed at reducing infections, expanding anti-retroviral treatment (ART) and mitigating mother to child transmission to reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS on the social-economic development of the country.
“HIV/AIDS has been one of the contributing factors to the high number f children on the streets in the past few years,” he said.
He said the government had made headway in the rehabilitation of street children which had drastically reduced the number of children on the streets.
And President Mwanawasa said the incidences of child abuse and defilement were a great concern to the government.
“I am therefore happy to note that the judiciary has continued to impose stiff and appropriate punishment on the offenders as a deterrent. I call upon guardians, parents and communities to ensure that the safety and protection of children is treated as a priority,” President Mwanawasa said.
He also said government was aware of the enormous challenge of providing adequate housing, water and sanitation and the building of capacities in local authorities.
“Enhanced capacity in the local authorities should enable them to take greater responsibility over their resources and improve service delivery within the context of the decentralization policy whose implementation is underway,” he said.
President Mwanawasa also said government would increase access to private sector investment through the programmes of Citizen’s Economic Empowerment Commission for Zambians to participate in the global economy.
He said that was a way of ensuring that women and youth were given an opportunity to exploit their entrepreneur capabilities to the fullest.
He said the creation of the multi-facility economic zones in Chambishi and Lusaka was another way of empowering the people and uplifting their living standards through job creation.
And President Mwanawasa said government had continued to ensure food security.
“This is a sign that our farmers have responded to the progressive government policies and to call for hard work. We pray to God to give us good rains this season so that our agricultural and horticultural production can increase further,” said President Mwanawasa.
He also said the government was working on long-term measures to deal with intermittent disruptions in the supply of petroleum. WM