By SIMON MUNTEMBA
PRESIDENT Hakainde Hichilema has called on citizens, especially the young people to embrace hard work and ensure excellence in whatever they do than depending on handouts which are not sustainable.
President Hichilema said his Government would provide economically sustainable and dignified ways of empowering young people, unlike what used to happen in the past where they were told to line-up for small amounts of money.
Mr Hichilema, who expressed concern with the high number of unemployed people in Zambia called on the youths to utilize the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) so that they can benefit from the national cake in a dignified manner.
He said Zambians need real empowerment and not `tantameni’ (line-up) for handouts during election time.
“Tantameni (line-up) kind of politics will never take our people anywhere. What our youth need is sustainable empowerment that will see their lives improved,” he said.
Addressing Parliament on progress made in the application of national values and principles yesterday, President Hichilema also warned individuals perpetrating violence in the name of the ruling party.
He said there was no honour in cadreism that leads to violence, warning that “to those who want to commit these crimes, you are on your own”.
Mr Hichilema said it was time to stop any form of division based on ethnicity, political, religious, or any other differences and work hard and build Zambia as a united people.
He urged the citizens to report any form of harassment, discrimination and violence in markets, bus stations or public offices to law enforcement agencies.
The President however noted with gratitude that Zambia’s democracy had continued to be a shining example on the continent and the country is respected on the continent.
He said his administration was committed to creating a level playing field where democracy could thrive and an environment in which political actors freely compete on ideas, convictions and service, as evidenced by the recently held by-elections, where political parties campaigned freely devoid of violence.
He said government will uphold the rule of law and accord everyone equal treatment in line with the law and national values and principles.
Going forward, he said, law and order everywhere and all the time, should be the norm, and not the violence and hooliganism of the past.
He however said it was wrong for corrupt individuals to deliberately and intentionally play victim to gain public sympathy when the law visits them.
The Head of State said his government will not falter in the fight against corruption but fight it to the bitter end with no sacred cow.
He said corruption takes away from the vulnerable in society and appealed to those engaged in the vice to voluntarily come forward and pay back to society what they took away rather than parroting themselves as victims instead of waiting for prosecution.
President Hichilema also called for an end to abuse of social media, early child marriages, teenage pregnancies, alcoholism and other behaviors that are contrary to national values and principles.
He said government was concerned that some citizens were using social media to perpetrate hate speech, cyberbullying, fake news, cybercrime and circulation of obscene materials, among other vices.
He said citizens should instead use social media platforms to enhance interactions, democracy and business linkages.