||    12 August 2017 @ 20:30

SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY MR. EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA, AT THE 2017 UKUSEFYA PANG’WENA TRADITIONAL CEREMONY OF THE BEMBA SPEAKING PEOPLE OF NORTHERN AND MUCHINGA PROVINCES, AT NG’WENA SITE, MUNGWI DISTRICT SATURDAY, 12TH AUGUST, 2017 • YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS, THE PARAMOUNT CHIEF CHITIMUKULU, MWINELUBEMBA KANYANTA MANGA, THE SECOND: • YOUR ROYAL HIGNESS PARAMOUNT CHIEF MPEZENI IV; • YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESSES PRESENT; • ACTING MINISTER OF CHIEFS AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS, HON EMERINE KABANSHI; • THE PROVINCIAL MINISTER, HON BRIAN MUNDUBILE; • CABINET MINISTERS PRESENT; • MEMBERS OF THE DIPLOMATIC CORPS ACCREDITED TO ZAMBIA; • MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT PRESENT; • REPRESENTATIVES OF POLITICAL PARTIES ; • MEMBERS OF THE PRESS; • DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: IT IS A GREAT HONOUR FOR ME TO OFFICIATE AT THIS COLOURFUL UKUSEFYA PA NG’WENA TRADITIONAL CEREMONY OF THE BEMBA SPEAKING PEOPLE OF NORTHERN AND MUCHINGA PROVINCES. YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS, I AM GRATEFUL FOR YOUR INVITATION TO ME TO ATTEND THIS AUSPICIOUS EVENT WHICH REFLECTS YOUR RICH HISTORY, CULTURE AND TRADITION. TRADITIONAL CEREMONIES ARE AN INTEGRAL PART OF ZAMBIAN CULTURE; THAT IS WHY MY GOVERNMENT ACKNOWLEDGES THE VITAL ROLE THEY PLAY IN UNITING PEOPLE. THEREFORE, THE PATRIOTIC FRONT GOVERNMENT WILL CONTINUE TO SUPPORT TRADITIONAL CEREMONIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY. I AM PROUD TO NOTE THAT THE RICH BEMBA CUSTOMS MARKED BY ELABORATE TRADITIONAL STRUCTURES HAS TO A LARGE EXTENT CONTRIBUTED TO THE SMOOTH ASCENSION OF RESPECTIVE BEMBA CHIEFS TO THEIR THRONE. A CASE IN POINT IS THE RECENT ASCENSION OF SENIOR CHIEF MWAMBA WHO WAS SUCCESSFULLY INSTALLED TO THE THRONE. I SALUTE YOU, YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS AND INDEED THE BEMBA PEOPLE FOR SUCH SMOOTH TRANSITIONS, AND SUCH ORDERLINESS IS WHAT OUR COUNTRY NEEDS. CONGRATULATIONS!!! FOR SURE AS YOU BEMBAs SAY “ UBUFUMU BUICINDIKA UMWINE.” YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS, YOU HAVE TRULY SET A SHINING EXAMPLE FOR ULUBEMBA KINGDOM WHICH SHOULD BE EMULATED BY OTHER CHIEFDOMS IN THE COUNTRY. TO US POLITICIANS, LET US TAKE A LEAF FROM THIS KIND OF LEADERSHIP WHICH RESPECTS SYSTEMATIC RULE. THEREFORE I WOULD LIKE TO UNDERSCORE THE IMPORTANT ROLE TRADITIONAL LEADERS PLAY IN NOT ONLY PRESERVING OUR HERITAGE, BUT ALSO CONTRIBUTING TO NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT. WE REMAIN INDEBTED TO YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESSES AND THE PEOPLE OF NORTHERN AND MUCHINGA PROVINCES, FOR THE OVERWHELMING SUPPORT YOU HAVE CONTINUED TO RENDER TO THE PATRIOTIC FRONT GOVERNMENT AND THE CONFIDENCE BESTOWED ON ME TO LEAD THE PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA. YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS; IN RECOGNITION OF THE PIVOTAL ROLE THAT TRADITIONAL LEADERS PERFORM, THE PATRIOTIC FRONT GOVERNMENT HAS CHARGED THE MINISTRY OF CHIEFS AND TRADITIONAL AFFAIRS WITH A HUGE RESPONSIBILITY TO ENGAGE CHIEFS IN RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES. YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESSES, LET ME TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO URGE TRADITIONAL RULERS TO LEAD EFFORTS AIMED AT PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM VIOLENCE SUCH AS CHILD AND FORCED MARRIAGE AND ITS ASSOCIATED RISKS. THE CAMPAIGN TO END CHILD MARRIAGES CALLS FOR CONCERTED EFFORT. THIS IS WHY TRADITIONAL LEADERS ARE A MAJOR PLAYER IN CHAMPIONING THIS CAUSE. THE RECENT PROCLAMATION BY THE AFRICAN UNION THAT ZAMBIA PROVIDES LEADERSHIP AS AFRICA’S FOREMOST CHANGE CHAMPION IN ENDING CHILD MARRIAGE PLACES A HUGE RESPONSIBILITY ON BOTH THE GOVERNMENT, AS WELL AS VARIOUS STAKEHOLDERS INCLUDING TRADITIONAL LEADERS. THE ONUS IS ON ME, YOU AND ALL OF US TO ENSURE THAT THE COMMITMENTS WE MADE TO OUR CHILDREN, AT THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE ENDING CHILD MARRIAGE CAMPAIGN IN 2013, TO PROTECT THEM FROM CHILD MARRIAGE RELATED ABUSE ARE FULFILLED HENCEFORTH. DISTINGUISHED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I WOULD LIKE TO USE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO REITERATE MY GOVERNMENT’S COMMITMENT TO IMPROVING THE WELFARE OF OUR TRADITIONAL LEADERS. MY GOVERNMENT WILL CONTINUE TO CONSTRUCT CHIEFS’ PALACES IN PHASES ACROSS THE COUNTRY. IN NORTHERN PROVINCE, WE HAVE A NUMBER OF PALACES UNDER CONSTRUCTION WHILE OTHERS ARE UNDERGOING TENDER PROCESSES. YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESSES, LET ME ALSO USE THIS PLATFORM TO URGE THE PEOPLE OF NORTHERN AND MUCHINGA PROVINCES AND THE ENTIRE COUNTRY TO NURTURE THE SPIRIT OF COEXISTENCE TO FOSTER UNITY IN THE NATION. I WISH TO ENCOURAGE YOU AS TRADITIONAL LEADERS NOT TO RELENT IN PROMOTING PEACE IN YOUR RESPECTIVE COMMUNITIES. OUR UNPARALLELED HISTORY OF LONGSTANDING PEACE PUTS ZAMBIA UNDER SPOTLIGHT AS THE WORLD WAITS TO SEE HOW FAR WE CAN GO WITH THIS UNBROKEN RECORD. AS HEAD OF STATE, I WILL CONTINUE TO UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION BY PROTECTING THE LIVES OF PEOPLE AND THEIR PROPERTY. THEREFORE, WANTON BEHAVIOUR TO DESTABILISE THE PEACE WHICH OUR NATION IS KNOWN FOR, WILL NOT BE TOLERATED. OUR ECONOMY HAS POSTED POSITIVE DEVELOPMENTS IN RECENT MONTHS AND THIS NEEDS TO BE COMMENDED BY ALL PATRIOTIC ZAMBIANS. THE RESULTS ARE THERE FOR ALL OF US TO SEE. THE KWACHA HAS EXHIBITED RESILIENCE AGAINST MAJOR GLOBAL CURRENCIES WITH A SIGNIFICANT DROP IN THE INFLATION RATE. MOREOVER, FUEL PUMP PRICES HAVE BEEN REDUCED. AS I CONCLUDE, I WISH TO APPEAL TO YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESSES, TO CONTINUE PROMOTING PEACE AND UNITY AS IT IS ESSENTIAL TO THE SUCCESSFUL CELEBRATION OF ANY EVENT AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, TO ACHIEVING MEANINGFUL DEVELOPMENT. I WISH TO ONCE AGAIN, EXPRESS MY PROFOUND GRATITUDE TO YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS, ‘MWINE LUBEMBA’, THE PARAMOUNT CHIEF CHITIMUKULU FOR HAVING INVITED ME TO GRACE THIS CEREMONY WHICH ANNUALLY BRINGS TOGETHER LOCAL PEOPLE AS WELL AS VISITORS FROM WITHIN AND OUTSIDE ZAMBIA. MY GRATITUDE IS ALSO EXTENDED TO THE ORGANISING COMMITTEE AND ALL OTHERS WHO HAVE WORKED TIRELESSLY TO MAKE THIS EVENT A SUCCESS. I NOW DECLARE THE 2017 UKUSEFYA PA NG’WENA TRADITIONAL CEREMONY OFFICIALLY OPEN. MAY THE ALMIGHTY GOD BLESS YOU AND OUR GREAT NATION ZAMBIA, I THANK YOU ALL!

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