PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says the post-elections violence that erupted in some parts of the country could have been averted had politicians and Zambians in general preached peace and unity irrespective of political divergences.
President Lungu said he would continue preaching messages of peace and unity in the country and the need for tolerance among political leaders because Zambia should never lose its peaceful image on account of politicians fighting for political power.
President Lungu said this in a speech read on his behalf by former president Rupiah Banda at this year’s 2016 Ukusefya Pa Ng’wena traditional ceremony of the Bemba-speaking people in Mugwi district.
The Head of State said Paramount Chief Chitimukulu superintended over diverse people with different beliefs, ethnic backgrounds and political afflictions and it was, therefore, his duty to preach messages of unity among his subjects.
He said it was imperative for the Mwinelubemba to inculcate values that would promote tolerance, respect and co-existence among Zambians.
“The traditional leaders are the driving force in promoting peace and harmony in your respective chiefdoms and the national at large. Peace and unity in your chiefdoms forms the basis of peace and unity in the whole nation. To the people in this province and the entire country, it is incumbent upon you to maintain peace as we only have one county, Zambia, and it would be folly for us to ignite situations that will threaten our well-being,” President Lungu said.
The President reiterated that he would not relent in preaching peace but warned those with wanton behaviour to disturb the peace and unity of the nation that they risk facing the wrath of the law.
He said the degree of cultural diversity and integration in Zambia was well pronounced and that most ethnic groups had their distinct ways of celebrating traditional events.
President Lungu stated that traditional ceremonies were not only there for preservation of the country’s heritage, but also provided a platform for the country to unite.
Meanwhile, Paramount Chief Chitimukulu of the Bemba-speaking people said traditional ceremonies were a unifying factor in Zambia and should, therefore, be guarded jealously.
Speaking through his representative, Ambassador Kasonde Kasutu said traditional ceremonies were a catalyst of social and economic development as they promoted the growth of the tourism sector.
He said chiefs were ready to work with Government to ensure that our country moved forward in order to achieve sustainable economic development.
“Our people need food, clean drinking water, good health, quality education , decent shelter , good roads, proper and effective communication facilities just to mention but a few,” Paramount Chief Chitimukulu said.
Among the people who attended the event were MMD leader Felix Mutati, government officials and chiefs from Eastern Province.