SACCORD urges President Lungu to inspire hope in Zambians and stop intimidating mining firms

The Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) has urged President Edgar Lungu to use his State of the Nation address this Friday to inspire hope of a better future to Zambians.

And SACCORD Executive Director Boniface Cheembe has pointed out that President Lungu is expected to engage the mining companies in constructive dialogue as opposed to intimidation and directives yet the companies were facing economic hardship.

Cheembe said in a statement Tuesday that the State of the Nation was weak and as President Lungu opens Parliament he was expected to address the economy and energy crisis, the constitution and the mining industry comprehensively.

Cheembe said SACCORD expects the President to be comprehensive in addressing the issue of load shedding in terms of solutions to mitigating the crisis and plan for the future to avoid a similar energy crisis in future.

He said it was hoped that the President will stop comparing the country’s energy crisis to other countries in the region that do not have similar energy potential to Zambia. Zambia has 40 percent of water resources in the region. South Africa has not experienced any load shedding for one month running and may only experience it now as Mozambique carries out repairs on the Cabora bassa Hydro station where they import 1500 megawatts of power.

Cheembe said President Lungu is expected to give practical measures to diversify the energy sector in the country in the short, medium and long-term.

He said President Lungu was further expected to provide guidance on how the country will diversify its economy.

Cheembe further stressed that President Lungu was expected to inform the nation on plans that the Government has to reduce on the costly international travels with entourages that gobble a lot of resources for a struggling economy like Zambia’s.

And Cheembe has pointed out that President Lungu is expected to engage the mining companies in constructive dialogue as opposed to intimidation and directives yet the companies were facing economic hardship.

He observed that a policy of intimidation had the potential to scare away investors to the detriment of the nation.

On the constitution making process, Cheembe said the President should consider holding a referendum to enact a new constitution before the 2016 tripartite elections and thereby provide confidence in stakeholders once again in this process.

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