28 January 2013

Zambia: Sata Promises Constitutional Stability

Addis Ababa — PRESIDENT Michael Sata says the constitutional instability that has characterised Zambia since independence will soon be a thing of the past.

In his statement at the 18th African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) forum on Saturday evening, Mr Sata said his administration would ensure that the constitutional instability that had existed from the time of independence was history.

This was in response to the contents of Zambia's review report.

"As correctly observed by the country review report, Zambia has experienced frequent constitutional changes since independence in 1964.

"A committee of experts has already been constituted to review the recommendations of all previous constitutional review commissions in order to come up with a draft people's Constitution," he said.

The President observed that Government faced a number of challenges in ensuring access to justice for all as a large number of citizens were constrained by structural bottlenecks in the justice administration system.

He said ensuring access to justice remained a priority and that Government was carrying out extensive judicial reforms involving all stakeholders.

He said even if the country review report was a reflection of the governance of Zambia by the previous administration, his Government would not engage in the blame game.

Mr Sata said the report had come at the right time for the PF Government because it had now been entrusted with the stewardship of the affairs of the Zambian people.

"We shall use it to improve the lives of the Zambian people, the country review mission report findings in the four thematic areas, the cross cutting issues raised.

"The recommendations for the thematic areas will be of invaluable assistance for us as we strive to make Zambia a better place for all," he said.

The Zambian Head of State said Zambia had continued to be a beacon of peace and political stability.

He said in 48 years of independence, Zambians had continued to live peacefully in spite of lingual and tribal diversity.

"On 20th September, 2011, the sixth successive multi-party general elections since 1991 were held. Our party, the PF defeated the MMD under the leadership of President Rupiah Banda.

"Like his Excellency former President Kenneth Kaunda in 1991, my predecessor handed over power peacefully. In fact, former President Rupiah Banda attended my inauguration ceremony at which he symbolically handed over instruments of power to me," he said.

Mr Sata said this gesture demonstrated the growth of democracy in Zambia which other countries on the continent may wish to emulate.

He said his Government acknowledged that democracy, good governance and the rule of law, as well as an enabling environment, were essential for national development.

Meanwhile, Mr Sata said reducing poverty remained one of the major challenges facing Zambia.

He said to address the high poverty levels, the Government had prioritised four core development programmes.

These are education development, health services, agriculture development, and local government and housing development.

He said the four core programmes were supported by other key sectors such as infrastructure development, social protection, commerce, trade and industry, and tourism.

On corruption, Mr Sata said the Government was working hard to fight the vice.

He said over the years, the Zambian public had lost confidence in the Anti-Corruption Commission.

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