…as part of patriotism says President Lungu in national address
Amb. Anthony Mukwita wrote:
12th February 2021 Berlin.
By the time you read these lines, President Edgar Lungu´s national address to parliament on ´values´ would have been shared more than a dozen times given the speed at which information is moving in the new technological era.
Half the President´s message will be accurate depending on who is disseminating it while the other might be a total distortion as with all messages once they leave the original communication vessel.
As a diplomat, however, a number of issues caught my attention as they speak directly to what I do as a country representative of Zambia abroad.
Nothing reverberated more to me as a diplomat in the Presidents short speech like the following:
- We must all aspire to be good Ambassadors of Zambia on one level or another
- Zambia is the only country we can call our own regardless of our political, ethnic or regional affiliations
- Buy Zambia and build Zambia
- One Zambia One nation and aspire for being
- Proudly Zambian
- Speak well of Zambia to attract investment
The above is contained in President Lungu´s address, albeit not in the same order, as I followed it live on my car radio on the way to an early morning webnar meeting at the embassy.
We are an hour behind Zambia in Berlin plus its dreary cold, snowing and biting minus 5 degrees now so hearing a vociferous voice of my President on online radio is heartwarming.
President Lungu spoke an infallible truth when he said, “here´s the deal, whether you belong to the opposition or ruling party, we both have but one country—Zambia” to have and to hold, lets treat it well its all we have got.
This places a huge burden on all of us, not just a few of us that are representing Zambia in foreign missions to speak well of our country remaining cognizant always that no country on the globe is perfect. We must embrace our country with all its perfect imperfections.
GOODWILL BEGETS GOODWILL BEGETS GOODWILL FOR ZAMBIA
Damning your country to strangers is tantamount to setting your own house on fire and expecting neighbours to help you put out the fire.
Someone once said when it comes to being “good Ambassadors”, Americans are the best because they can harshly criticise their country in their country and defend it to the last drop of blood abroad.
That spirit I admire among the people from ´the land of the brave,´ which is not perfect just like ours.
Zambia continues to shine as a beacon of hope, peace and stability, whether it was during a smooth transition of power after an election or a smooth continuation, this gives us diplomatic credentials above many on the continent.
The magnet that continues to attract others especially in the west to tell others on the continent, “be like Zambia”.
ARE THE CREDENTIALS UNDER THREAT IN ZAMBIA?
Our good credentials can be lost as quickly as a batt of an eyelid as President Lungu himself pointed out that he had noticed pockets of ´politically motivated violence´ recently which must be nipped in the bud because they are a stain on our stellar peaceful business card as Zambia.
DON’T CRY OVER SPILT MILK
Apart from diplomacy, my forte, it was refreshing to see the President point to the fact that instead of crying about the woes covid has brought, we could use the bad experience to build Zambia´s future.
“We could start producing what we will consume and stop importing,” after the covid experience of closed borders etc. the silver living to every cloud.
We could think global and act local because local is bound to build us more in case of a future pandemic.
Investment thrives in an environment that is peaceful and respects the rule of law so it was nice to see President Lungu point out that Zambia shall continue to uphold rule of law for the economic diplomacy heart to continue beating.
The rest of the address of course was important as it spoke about service delivery despite the challenges of the bug but it was the diplomacy part that attracted my attention the most as an envoy.
It was for instance heart-warming to learn that the number of health centres had grown by 500 since 2017 and that more than 20, 000 health workers had been employed.
I was sad nevertheless to learn that because of covid, inflation for the first time in five years has risen to double digit as GDP growth shrunk, not only for Zambia but globally.
The saying, however, goes that its always dark before the break of dawn.
It was also enlightening to learn that Zambia registered about 7 million voters of the targeted 8.4 million to participate in the crucial poll slated for 12th August, a date I can´t forget because it’s my son Lushomo´s 9th birthday.
President Lungu´s 48-page speech in my view has a little of “something for everybody” especially as divergent views are encouraged in our budding Zambian democracy.
It will be interesting to follow the debate, for and against, in the Zambian parliament by our elected representatives after the fact. Mask up and buckle up for Zambia.
This Op-ed of H.E President Edgar Lungu to the national assembly at Manda Hill in Lusaka on 12th February 2021 was penned by the Ambassador of Zambia to the Federal Republic of Germany H.E Anthony Mukwita.
Below is a link to the full speech from the embassy of Zambia in Berlin, Germany: