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Thursday, 3 January, 2002, 11:18 GMT
Zambia president's inaugural speech
Levy Mwanawasa
New leader seeks national unity
Zambia's newly elected president Levy Mwanawasa called for rival presidential candidates to bury their differences and work for national unity in his inaugural speech in Lusaka. The following are excerpts from his address.

"I feel extremely honoured and humbled by the enormous responsibility bestowed upon me today to lead Zambia as president of the republic in the next 5 years.

It is befitting that I take oath of office here on the steps of the Supreme Court of Zambia, as we have always done, to reflect the dignity with which we hold our judiciary as a mirror of the national spirit.


To our colleagues in the region I wish to assure you that my administration will continue to pursue the policy of peace, friendship and good neighbourliness

I extend special thanks to Dr Chiluba who has steered this country for the past 10 years in peace and tranquillity. We have had a peaceful and successful election... Let me at this juncture as well, extend an invitation to Dr K.D. Kaunda, the founding father of our nation, to make himself available when need arises to advise me and the new administration...

International cooperation

I wish to pledge to do my best to ensure that the mandate entrusted to our country - namely, to facilitate and manage the transformation process from the O.A.U into the African Union is fulfilled.

To our colleagues in the region I wish to assure you that my administration will continue to pursue the policy of peace, friendship and good neighbourliness. We shall respect the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all our neighbours.

In this regard, we shall not allow our territory to be used by, nor shall we support, any group seeking to overthrow a government through unconstitutional means in any of our neighbouring countries.

We will focus on the Zambian people as both the end and the means of development

In turn, we expect all our neighbours to treat and relate to us in similar manner...

I promise you countrymen and women of Zambia, that... We intend to implement the programmes in our manifesto, and emphasize the new change which will be a more human centred process. By this we mean, we will focus on the Zambian people as both the end and the means of development...

Agriculture and basic needs

In The New Deal, agriculture shall be at the centre stage of our economic development policy. Agricultural programmes will aim at ensuring food security in both rural and urban areas; and in creating employment. We have to give a new look at agriculture since copper cannot be relied upon to be a continuing engine of development and employment.

There should be enough food for families, better housing and essential services, such as clean water, sanitation, public transport, education and health services

We aim to boost or encourage investment both foreign and local, individually or foreign capital in partnership with local capital.

We will strive to enable as many of our people as possible, wherever they are, to access goods and services to satisfy their basic needs... there should be enough food for families, better housing and essential services, such as clean water, sanitation, public transport, education and health services...

As we seek to increase national productivity, my administration is conscious of the need to harness the talents and potential of all our people. We shall, therefore, ensure that our job creation efforts take into account the need to include the women, the disabled and the youth...

It is my sincere hope that as Zambians we shall all bury our differences and match forward together

I am aware, fellow citizens, of the suffering that retirees go through as a result of delays in paying them their pension benefits...

The current tax regime has placed a heavy burden on the people and the business sector. It is, therefore, the intention of my government to... establish a tax regime that facilitates rather than hinders local productivity...

Come together

These elections have come and gone. Many lessons have been learnt. It is my sincere hope that as Zambians we shall all bury our differences and match forward together...

To my colleagues who aspired for this position, I salute you and respect you for the good fight we had. Now the nation needs your positive contribution because we all want a better life for our people...

I promise to be president for all the people, whether you voted for me or not

I promise to be president for all the people, whether you voted for me or not, whether you voted for MMD or not, whether you did not vote or did not even register as a voter I am president for all of you, the people of Zambia.

I will provide continuity with change... I pray for your support and cooperation in this task... Long live Zambian democracy..."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

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