Verbatim: what RB said at Mutomboko

YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESSES PARAMOUNT CHIEFS, SENIOR CHIEFS AND CHIEFS PRESENT

HONOURABLE CABINET MINISTERS AND DEPUTY MINISTERS

HONOURABLE MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT

YOUR EXCELLENCIES AMBASSADORS AND HIGH COMMISSIONERS

SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

DISTINGUISHED INVITED GUESTS

FELLOW CITIZENS

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

I FEEL GREATLY HONOURED AND PRIVILEDGED TO HAVE BEEN INVITED TO JOIN YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS IN CELEBRATING THIS YEAR’S MUTOMBOKO CEREMONY. I REALLY WANTED TO COME HERE AND WITNESS THIS COLOURFUL AND RICH CULTURAL EVENT WHICH DEPICTS THE HISTORY AND HERITAGE OF THE LUNDA PEOPLE OF LUAPULA PROVINCE.

YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS

THE WARM HOSPITALITY ACCORDED TO MY DELEGATION AND I SINCE OUR ARRIVAL IS TESTIMONY TO YOUR CAPABLE LEADERSHIP AND WARMTH WHICH IS CHARACTERISTIC OF MANY OF OUR ZAMBIAN CHIEFS TODAY.

THE MUTOMBOKO CEREMONY IS AN EVENT WHICH BRINGS TOGETHER THE LUNDA PEOPLE OF LUAPULA TO CELEBRATE THEIR CULTURE AND HERITAGE THROUGH RITUALS, MUSIC AND DANCE. IT IS ALSO A TIME WHEN THE LUNDA PEOPLE PAY HOMAGE TO THEIR ANCESTORS AND ASK FOR GOD’S GUIDANCE FOR PEACE AND PROSPERITY.

INDEED, CEREMONIES SUCH AS MUTOMBOKO OFFER THE OPPORTUNITY FOR OUR CHILDREN AND YOUTH TO LEARN AND APPRECIATE THE TRUE VALUES OF YOUR RICH CULTURAL HERITAGE.

YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS,

CULTURE PLAYS A VERY IMPORTANT ROLE IN ANY DEVELOPMENT PROCESS.  IT IS CULTURE THAT ENRICHES US TO BECOME AWARE OF OUR VALUES, CUSTOMS AND BELIEFS.  CULTURE IS A TREASURE – A SOURCE OF STRENGTH AND UNITY. THEREFORE, IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT WE ALL WORK TOGETHER TO ENSURE THAT OUR CULTURAL HERITAGE IS PROPERLY PRESERVED FOR POSTERITY.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

THE PEACE WE ENJOY IN ZAMBIA IS EMBEDED IN OUR STRONG CULTURAL VALUES.  OUR CULTURE ENCOMPASSES VALUES THAT EMPHASISE RESPECT FOR ONE ANOTHER, HOSPITALITY AND INTER-ETHNIC EXCHANGES THROUGH TRADE AND MARRIAGES.  OUR 73 ETHNIC GROUPS IN A POPULATION OF 12 MILLION PEOPLE BUT WITH RICH DIVERSE CULTURES HAS BEEN A CATALYST TO PROMOTING UNITY, PEACE AND PROSPERITY.

IT IS FOR THIS REASON THAT WE HAVE PUT IN PLACE A DELIBERATE POLICY OF PROVIDING SUPPORT TO TRADITIONAL CEREMONIES TO AUGMENT THE EFFORTS OF OUR TRADITIONAL LEADERS IN PROMOTING ZAMBIAN TRADITION AND CULTURAL HERITAGE.

YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS

MY GOVERNMENT, THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS UNDER THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL SERVICES HAS SET ASIDE K150 MILLION FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A CULTURAL VILLAGE IN LUAPULA. ONCE CONSTRUCTED, THE MANSA CULTURAL VILLAGE WILL PROVIDE A VENUE FOR MUSICIANS, ACTORS AND CRAFTS ENTREPRENEURS TO SHOWCASE AND EXHIBIT THEIR WORKS.

YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS

DESPITE ECONOMIC DIFFICULTIES, MY GOVERNMENT IS ADDRESSING ISSUES OF ROAD REHABILITATION, EDUCATION, AGRICULTURE, TOURISM AND THE FIGHT AGAINST THE HIV/AIDS PANDEMIC AS TOP ITEMS ON THE PRIORITY LIST.

IN AGRICULTURE, WE HAVE PUT IN PLACE SUITABLE POLICIES TO ASSIST VULNERABLE BUT VIABLE FARMERS TO ACQUIRE FARMING INPUTS AND TO HAVE ACCESS TO READY MARKETS FOR THEIR PRODUCE.

TO ACHIEVE THIS OBJECTIVE, GOVERNMENT IS RUNNING TWO AGRICULTURAL PROGRAMMES.  THE FIRST ONE IS THE FOOD SECURITY PACK PROGRAMME WHICH TARGETS DISADVANTAGED AND UNDER PRIVILEGED HOUSE-HOLDS SUCH AS THOSE HEADED BY FEMALES, ORPHANS, CHILDREN, THE ELDERLY AND THE DISABLED.  THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT IS RUNNING THE PROGRAMME AND HAS CONTRACTED THE PROGRAMME AGAINST MALNUTRITION (PAM) TO IMPLEMENT IT.

I WISH TO EMPHASISE THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS FUNDING THIS PROGRAMME AND IT COVERS ALL THE 72 DISTRICTS IN THE COUNTRY.

THE SECOND ONE IS THE NATIONAL FERTILIZER SUPPORT PROGRAMME UNDER WHICH GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIZES FERTILIZER AND SEED COSTS BY 50% WHILE THE OTHER 50% IS MET BY FARMERS.  DURING THE LAST FARMING SEASON, LUAPULA PROVINCE RECEIVED 39,000 X 50KG BAGS OF D COMPOUND, 39,000 X 50KG BAGS OF UREA AND 19,000 X 10KG BAGS OF MAIZE SEED WHICH BENEFITED 10,000 SMALL SCALE FARMERS.

IN PREPARATION FOR THE COMING FARMING SEASON, THE PROVINCE HAS ALREADY RECEIVED 51,000 X 50 KG D COMPOUND AND 46,000 X 50KG UREA. WITHOUT ANY DOUBT, THEREFORE, THE TWO PROGRAMMES HAVE CONTRIBUTED GREATLY TO THE ATTAINMENT OF FOOD SECURITY AT HOUSEHOLD LEVEL NOT JUST IN LUAPULA BUT THE WHOLE COUNTRY.

IN THE CASE OF INFRASTRUCTURE, GOVERNMENT IS COMMITTED TO THE REHABILITATION OF MAJOR AND FEEDER ROADS AND BRIDGES IN THE PROVINCE.  CURRENTLY, WORK ON 30 BRIDGES AND CULVERTS IS ALMOST COMPLETE AT A COST OF K8.9 BILLION.  SOME OF THE ROADS BEING WORKED ON AND THE AMOUNTS TO BE SPENT INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:-

1.             TUTA ROAD                      –              K153 BILLION

2.             PEDICLE ROAD                 –              K200 – 300 MILLION

3.             KASHIKISHI – LUCHINDA           – K29 BILLION FOUR YEAR MAINTENANCE       CONTRACT

4.             KAWAMBWA – MUNGANGA   K8.9 BILLION

5.             KASANKA – MILENGE  –              K3.5 BILLION

6.             SAMFYA – LIBWE            –              K8.9 BILLION

I AM CONFIDENT THAT, ONCE THE ROADS REHABILITATION AND CONSTRUCTION WORKS HAVE BEEN COMPLETED, IT WILL BECOME EASIER FOR FARMERS TO TRANSPORT THEIR PRODUCE TO SELLING POINTS. THIS WILL CONTRIBUTE TO POVERTY REDUCTION AS THE PEOPLE INVOLVED WILL CREATE WEALTH THROUGH THE MARKETING OF THEIR CROPS TO THE FOOD RESERVE AGENCY.  THIS WILL ENSURE THAT THE PROVINCE IS FOOD SECURE UNTIL THE NEXT FARMING SEASON.

IN THE HEALTH SECTOR, TWO DISTRICT HOSPITALS- ONE IN CHIENGE AND ONE IN SAMFYA – ARE UNDER CONSTRUCTION.  THE TOTAL COST OF EACH HOSPITAL WHEN COMPLETED WILL BE K6 BILLION.  SAMFYA HOSPITAL HAS REACHED PHASE II WITH K5.2 BILLION RELEASED, WHILE K2 BILLION HAS BEEN RELEASED FOR PHASE I FOR CHIENGE HOSPITAL.

THE HEALTH SECTOR HAS RECEIVED FURTHER FUNDING AMOUNTING TO K4.9 BILLION FOR GENERAL INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT, INCLUDING RURAL HEALTH CENTRES, MATERNITY WARDS AND STAFF HOUSES.

IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR, THE GOVERNMENT IS CONSTRUCTING SIX HIGH SCHOOLS, NAMELY, LUKWESA, PONDE, MUSONDA, NSAMBA, MABUMBA AND MILENGE TO EASE THE PROBLEM OF SHORTAGE OF SCHOOL PLACES.  MY GOVERNMENT IS ALSO FACILITATING THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE WATER SECTOR BY DRILLING 200 BOREHOLES COVERING ALL THE DISTRICTS IN THE PROVINCE.

YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS,

THESE ARE AMONG THE MANY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES THAT THIS GOVERNMENT IS PURSUING THIS YEAR IN LUAPULA PROVINCE.

IN CONCLUSION, YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS, INVITED GUESTS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, MAY I COMMENT ON THE HIV/AIDS PANDEMIC WHICH HAS DEVASTATED THE LIVES OF MANY ZAMBIANS.  THE PANDEMIC HAS CONTINUED AFFECTING THE MOST PRODUCTIVE MEMBERS OF OUR NATION AS IT TAKES AWAY THE HIGHLY QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED WORK FORCE, WHILE AT THE SAME TIME RAISING OUR HEALTH CARE AND SOCIAL WELFARE COSTS.

MY PLEA IS THAT WE MUST GUARD OUR CHILDREN AND YOUTH FROM THIS PANDEMIC AND OTHER SOCIAL PROBLEMS BY ADOPTING POSITIVE ATTITUDES, MORALS AND VALUES.  THE TENDENCY BY CHILDREN AND YOUTH UNDER THE AGE OF 18 TO PATRONISE BARS INSTEAD OF STUDYING IN CLASS MUST BE DISCOURAGED AT ALL COSTS. MAY I TAKE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO ENCOURAGE TEACHERS TO INSTILL DISCIPLINE AND HARD WORK IN OUR YOUNG PEOPLE WHICH WILL PRODUCE CITIZENS OF GOOD CHARACTER AND MORAL UPRIGHTNESS.

YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS,

AS I STAND HERE, I AM PROUD TO BE A ZAMBIAN AND MY HEART IS CRYING THAT ZAMBIANS SHOULD BE RESPECTED INTERNATIONALLY BECAUSE OF THEIR DIGNITY AND RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER AS BROTHERS AND SISTERS.  IT IS THIS RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER THAT IS THE FUNDAMENTAL VALUE OF OUR IDENTITY AS A PEOPLE.  I STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT IT IS VALUES SUCH AS THIS THAT WILL ENABLE US FIGHT THE PANDEMIC OF HIV/AIDS AND OTHER SOCIAL PROBLEMS AFFLICTING OUR PEOPLE.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

IT IS NOT MY INTENTION TO SPEAK FOR LONG BECAUSE WE ARE HERE TO ENJOY OURSELVES.  WITH THESE FEW REMARKS, MAY I WISH YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS GOOD HEALTH AND GOD’S GUIDANCE AS YOU CONTINUE TO PROVIDE QUALITY LEADERSHIP AND COUNSEL TO YOUR PEOPLE.

MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

I THANK YOU

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