Sunday, December 15, 2013

Zambia stands for peace - KK
By Moses Kuwema
Thu 31 Oct. 2013, 14:01 CAT

DR Kenneth Kaunda says Zambia stands for peace in Africa and the whole world. And outgoing United Nations resident coordinator Kanni Wignaraja says Zambia is a country that lives with a quiet set of contradictions.

Meanwhile, first lady Dr Christine Kaseba says, she has come across very few people who are not intimidated by her husband and Wignaraja is one of them.

During the 68th UN Day reception held at Taj Pamodzi hotel on Tuesday evening, Dr Kaunda said just like the UN, Zambia stood for peace in Africa and the whole world

"We must live together in harmony across factors such as colour, age, ethnicity and tribe," Dr Kaunda said.

He said the UN was a partner in the development process and there was need for collaboration to be stepped up.

Dr Kaunda told Wignaraja that she still had a place in Zambia and that she was free to come back if she so wished.

And Wignaraja said she has always referred to Zambia as a country that lives with a quiet set of contradictions.

She said these contradictions were not brought about as a result of lack of data or understanding, or a lack of capacities or knowledge.

"They are well known, and almost accepted. And this is where we need to keep questioning if this is good enough for a country wanting to take great strides forward. My family and I count ourselves so lucky to have lived and served here these past three and half years. I guess we have become a part of these sometimes calm, and sometimes chaotic contradictions! But, I have often repeated these famous words, that there are always 'a few crazy people who think they can change the world and they are the very ones that do'! So, I hope that both inside this hall and also somewhere out there, are those few crazy people who will tackle the big contradictions and shake it all up," Wignaraja said.

She said Zambia had been given the rare opportunity of being spared terrible tragedy, being unhurt by harsh wars and conflict, so that it could build its future on all that was positive from its history and heritage, and thrive and grow on the wings of a young and proud democracy.

Wignaraja's mission to Zambia comes to an end, at the end of November and she will be heading to the UN headquarters in the US.

And Dr Kaseba, who spoke highly of Wignaraja, described her as a very bold person who was never afraid to state the facts as they were.
"In my time as a wife to the president and my time as a wife to Mr Sata, I have come across very few people who are not intimidated by him. Kanni is one of those. Every time when we talk of Kanni, the President says that 'ka trouble maker'. He calls her a 'trouble maker' in a nice way because he knows that Kanni is always around to prod our government officials to do much better than what they do," she said.
And Dr Kaseba said Wignaraja's leadership at the UN's offices in Zambia has been tremendous.

She said Wignaraja had become synonymous with the issue of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

"Kanni has contributed to the change in the mindset of the way people perceive the MDGs issue. For a long time, people thought the MDG was an issue of the government, but under her leadership, I think everyone has come to identify with the MDGs, whether they are youths, old people, civil servants," she said.

Earlier, Dr Kaseba caused laughter when she disclosed that she was a gate-crasher at the event.

"I am sure everyone must be wondering why we are having so many people attending the 68 UN Day reception. Some of us are party-crashers. We are gate-crushers because State House is almost like a maximum prison. At least a maximum prison has inmates, but in my case I have only got one inmate, who presently is in the mood to cane people, so I had to run away," said Dr Kaseba amidst laughter from the audience.

Meanwhile, visiting Crown Prince Haakon Magnus of Norway, who is the United Nations Development Programme's Goodwill Ambassador and was the special guest at the event, said his country and Zambia had enjoyed cordial relations since the latter's independence.

Prince Haakon said, from the beginning, Norway provided economic and political support to Zambia.

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