PRESIDENT Michael Sata has said that his Government will not relent in the fight against corruption despite Zambia’s standing on the corruption perception index improving since the PF assumed power.
The President has also declared that there would be no sacred cows in the fight against corruption and has since directed the defence forces to take lead in purging the vice by promoting transparency and accountability in the way they utilised resources allocated to them.
President Sata who is Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces directed Zambia Army Commander Paul Mihova to place soldiers on standby to help people in case of unpleasant eventualities like floods as rains intensify.
In a speech read for him by Defence minister Geoffrey Mwamba in Lusaka on Saturday evening during an annual ball at Zambia Army Headquarters officers’ mess, Mr Sata said he was not happy with current levels of corruption and that his Government would continue to fight it.
He said the Government’s stance towards corruption remained unchanged even if Zambia’s standing on the corruption perception index had improved since the PF assumed power. He said it was for that reason that there would be no sacred cows in the fight against corruption inclusive of the defence forces that should also join the crusade to eradicate the scourge.
The event was held under the theme Professionalism, Efficiency, Motivation and Accountability.
“Army Commander, let me mention here that there will be no scared cows in the fight against corruption, the defence forces inclusive.
“I am directing that you together with all the men and women in uniform lead this fight by ensuring transparency and accountability in the utilisation of all resources availed to you,” he said.
Mr Sata said the defence force would not be left out in the national development process as seen by the Government embarking on building of adequate accommodation for the men and women.
He was hopeful that through construction of adequate accommodation, it would alleviate housing problems faced by military personnel and also serve as a cost saving measure to the Government.
“Army Commander, I further urge you to complement Government’s cost saving efforts by instituting cost saving measures within your system so that we can put more money in people’s pockets,” he said
Apart from the housing project, Mr Sata said the Government was determined to ease problems of defence personnel by procuring equipment to modernise the defence force and make them more efficient.
He said the Government would support the initiative of countrywide recruitment of both officers and soldiers in order to maintain required staffing levels in the defence force.
He said the PF Government would live up to its campaign promises and increase allocation of funds to social services like health, education and local Government.
The Government would ensure social delivery systems were improved and diversify the economy by ensuring sectors like agriculture and tourism received a remarkable percentage increase in resources.
Mr Sata said the fertiliser support programme would be improved further to produce more food and the benefits should accrue to the citizens.
“We are committed to improving the conditions of service for all civil servants, the defence personnel inclusive once our economy improves. I urge you to remain patient and support Government as we make every effort to improve your living stands,” he said
He thanked the defence forces for their role played before, during and after the September 20, 2011 tripartite elections and urged them to continue taking a non-partisan stance towards politics.
President Sata said defence personnel should continue to remain loyal to the national Constitution, Government of the day and Zambia people at large.
He hailed them for their continued good and professional conduct exhibited on both local and international operations such as the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which led to independence of the new state of South Sudan.
On disaster management, Mr Sata said this was another area in which the defence force excelled as recently a bridge was constructed in Mayukwayukwa across Luena river in Kaoma district.
Mr Sata was happy that in each province there were military engineers busy constructing crossing points and bridges to help people in outlying areas.
He directed Lieutenant General Mihova to put men and women in uniform on standby to come to the aid of citizens in case of unpleasant eventualities such as rains becoming serious to flood flashes arounthe country.
He urged military personnel to be wary of HIV/AIDS as the Government continued to support all programmes aimed at reducing the national pandemic prevalence rates.
He said the tradition of holding annual balls was found in all armies worldwide and it gave an opportunity for them to reflect on challenges faced during the year ending and ponder on achievements.
Gen Mihova assured that the defence force would give total unflinching support to President Sata’s administration by upholding the national constitution.
“In addition, we shall remain non-partisan at all times,” he said He said the military personnel would remain disciplined and work hard in local operations to ensure peace, stability and sustenance of
To enhance efficiency and professionalism, Gen Mihova said the army fulfilled all its training propgrammes as reflected in the army forecast of events for 2011.