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President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia. President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia.  (AFP or licensors)

Zambia: Hichilema promises to rebuild the economy and give back to citizens their freedoms.

Zambia’s new President, Hakainde Hichilema, has set for his new government an ambitious economic and governance agenda.

Paul Samasumo  - Vatican City.

During his inauguration as Zambia’s seventh President, Hichilema said his UPND government would pursue an ambitious economic and social transformation agenda.

No Zambian should go to bed hungry

Zambia is saddled, among many other challenges, with high indebtedness to various foreign lenders. To start with, Hichilema proclaimed that it was unacceptable that any Zambian should go to bed hungry.

“You have entrusted the UPND alliance with the responsibility of serving you and running the affairs of the nation with your interests at heart. We do not take this responsibility lightly. We will truly be your servants and you the people, our masters. As your President, I will ensure that we deliver on our promises,” said President Hichilema.

Bally will fix it.

Nicknamed Bally by young Zambian social media users, President Hichilema has the daunting task of turning around the country’s economy. Bally in the local slang means parent or father.

The young people in Zambia, who also promoted President Hichilema’s pre-election slogan, “Bally will fix it,” have high expectations. On Tuesday, Hichilema promised jobs, freedoms and good governance.

“We said Bally and team will fix our economy, but we will do more than that. We will grow our economy so we can lift more people out of poverty than ever before. We will promote unity in diversity and ensure respect for the fundamental human rights and freedoms for all. We will restore the rule of law, general order in our public places and communities, and return our country back to normalcy,” Hichilema told a  packed National Heroes Stadium in the capital, Lusaka. Many were dressed in red, the party’s campaign colour.

Uniting Zambians regardless of tribe

The previous government was accused of discriminating against regions that were perceived to be strongholds of the opposition. Many civil servants were removed from the service simply because they belonged to tribes of the Southern, Western or Northwestern Provinces.

“We have no tolerance for any form of discrimination, and we commit to ensuring our government will be a reflection of our ten provinces. We treat diversity as a strength, never again should any difference be used for political mileage or to favour one over another. Every citizen will be availed equal opportunity to participate in the socio-economic development of our nation. We will not be selective when it comes to the development of our country. All regions will have an equitable share of investment,” assured the new Zambian President.

Tackling corruption

The Zambian head of State also promised zero tolerance for corruption.

“The scourge of corruption has not only eroded our much-needed resources, but it has also robbed us of the opportunity for growth. We shall have zero tolerance for corruption. This will be our hallmark. The fight against corruption will be professional and not vindictive. The institutions mandated to investigate and prosecute will be given unfettered autonomy to effectively and efficiently carry out their mandate without fear or favour of political bias,” President Hichilema said. 

25 August 2021, 19:06