17th September 2014
SACCORD Statement on Presidential Speech
As the nation awaits the presidential address of the national assembly which we believe will set direction for the PF government’s governance and development agenda, we would like to share the following expectations from President Sata’s speech:
- The constitution making process which has remained a divisive issue must be addressed and a clear roadmap must be presented by the president in his address to parliament on 19th September 2014. We believe that this is a process which should never be divisive but rather uniting in that it seeks to provide for the wellbeing of all human beings in Zambia. The process has taken too long and we believe that at this moment the President has all the authority to determine and direct the process.
- The president must reassure the nation on important freedoms such as Expression, Assembly and Association. Government actions such as threats to the media as well as restrictions on access to information, poor administration of the Public Order Act (POA) and violence against opposition supporters which is at times perpetrated by the law enforcement agencies take away people’s right to enjoy these freedoms. We therefore urge the president to recommit his government to ensuring that rights for all Zambians irrespective of their political affiliation are protected.
- In an effort to improve the general well being of the people, we hope that the President will share clear guidelines on how the country will continue to create employment for the many unemployed young people. It has now increasingly become apparent that youth unemployment creates a readily available pool of human resource that can be used for political violence which is not good for our communities, youths, and democracy.
- The President must show commitment and political will to ensuring that the revised decentralization policy in terms of its implementation is expedited. As SACCORD we believe that the revised decentralization policy is important in improving service delivery in the country and also in helping bring governance closer to the people. Therefore, we expect the President to highlight government’s intention to expedite the process of implementing the policy.
- Parliament has been a witness to a number of submissions with regards to the abuse of government resources by people working in the government. The auditor general’s reports have consistently highlighted these abuses which have led to the nation losing billions of Kwacha as a result of poor transparency and accountability measures. We would like the president to address how the issue of government resources will be safeguarded from plunder and instead used to begin to benefit the people of Zambia.
- There have been continued periods of tension in the country as a result of lack of national mechanisms to resolve conflicts which arise from time to time especially in the political arena. We believe that political conflicts are a major threat to Zambia’s peace and need deliberate efforts to address them before they escalate into violence. We therefor want to urge the government to create national mechanisms for resolving conflicts. Time is ripe for Zambia to develop a National Peace Architecture which would work to resolve conflicts as well as prevent would be conflicts.
- We further expect parliament to take the president’s address seriously and ensure that the president and his government are held accountable for all the promises that are made. The speech to parliament must never be a formality and joking moment rather a serious time to give direction for national development.