Thursday, January 17, 2008
By Bivan Saluseki
Thursday January 17, 2008 [03:00]
PRESIDENT Mwanawasa has appealed to the international community to help Zambia deal with the effects of the flood situation. And President Mwanawasa yesterday said there were more cases of corruption being exposed in his government, thereby giving an impression that there was more corruption than in previous administrations. Receiving credentials from Australian High Commissioner to Zambia, John Courtney, at State House yesterday, President Mwanawasa said Zambia alone was unable to deal with the effects of the current floods.
"Floods have left our roads damaged, bridges swept away, lives have been lost and there is a lot of hunger.
We are appealing to the international community, in this particular case Australia to render whatever you can to our country because I know that on our own, despite the various economic achievements which we have made over the years, we will be unable to tackle the humanitarian situation which has occurred," he said.
President Mwanawasa said he was leaving it to High Commissioner Courtney, based in Zimbabwe, to consider Zambia's appeal as his first duty.
President Mwanawasa said the Zambian High Commission in Australia was closed in 1991 due to financial difficulties.
He said Zambia appreciated the invaluable assistance rendered by Australia.
He asked Australian enterprises to come to Zambia and tap resources and business potential.
High Commissioner Courtney said Australia and Zambia had been working together on issues of common concern.
High Commissioner Courtney said Australia had helped Zambia in training Anti Corruption Commission officers.
And when receiving credentials from Danish Ambassador to Zambia, Thomas Schjerbeck, President Mwanawasa said the fight against corruption would continue.
President Mwanawasa said the government felt that the fight was essential for Zambia.
"The meagre financial resources which are available should all, without exception, go towards the enhancement of the living standards of our people. It should not go into the pockets of a few selfish individuals. Therefore, government has set in place the fight against corruption and I am glad that you are able to render assistance," he said.
"You may find that from time to time, certain bad eggs in our communities emerge as corrupt cases. You may sometimes even hear that there is more corruption now than there was in previous administrations. I don't agree with that, but I do agree that the government has been very transparent so that in all cases of bad behaviour, we are able to expose and therefore, we have more cases exposed which the public come to know about.
Therefore, that is giving the impression that there is more corruption. There is a lot of corruption yes, but with the measures which we have taken, I believe that this will be severely curtailed in the not too distant future."
President Mwanawasa said the development cooperation was vital to the relations between Zambia and Denmark. President Mwanawasa proposed a state visit to Denmark.
He said climate change had threatened to put asunder the gains that Zambia had made over the past six years.
President Mwanawasa said the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) was an ideal opportunity for people to give themselves a good constitution which was people driven.
Ambassador Schjerbeck said in just a year's time, a promising democratic development had taken place in Zambia.
He said the constitution making process would be an important step to further stabilise the fundamental structures of Zambia.
"There is sound economic development with stability and growth of the economy. This has been achieved through prudent and disciplined economic policies and helped by the favourable terms of trade," he said.
Ambassador Schjerbeck said Zambia's dedicated fight against corruption should continue.
"Corruption is an evil, which slows down and in some cases stops development," he said.
He said the fine economic performance must be sustained and that poverty should be eradicated.
Ambassador Schjerbeck said Denmark's cooperation to Zambia grew to US$50 million per year.
Ambassador Schjerbeck was charge d'affairs between 1983 and 1988 in Zambia.
President Mwanawasa also received credentials from Angolan Ambassador to Zambia, Pedro De Marais Neto.
President Mwanawasa said Zambia had a viable rail link, which was sadly disrupted during the Angolan civil war.
He said the route was not only short but was a source of significant economic benefits to the two countries.
He asked Angola to work tirelessly towards the revival of the economic zone.
President Mwanawasa said SADC's idea of regional integration would only come to fruition when countries learnt to deepen their bilateral cooperation.
President Mwanawasa proposed a state visit to Angola as SADC chairman and not to be told at short notice.