I stand before you; before the women and men of Zambia and before our children with humility, with honour, and with hope for our future. Our primary task and duty is to thank God almighty who in his infinite mercy and compassion has guided us peacefully through these elections.
Our gratitude goes to all the churches and individuals for their faith and prayers which have manifested in the process we are witnessing today. Throughout our vast country, in our urban habitats and in all the far-flung areas, we made a deliberate and profound decision to change the course and direction of the country. I plead to each one of you to continue praying for wisdom from above.
As we move into this next chapter of Zambia's history, I'd like to recognise the peaceful and orderly transition of power. It will be amiss of me if I did not acknowledge and thank my predecessor President Rupiah Bwezani Banda's contribution to this transition. This precedent, which has been with us since we gained our independence, is a virtue which I will treasure and respect.
To you my great countrymen and women I say a million thanks for the categorical mandate and above all; the confidence you have reposed in me and the Patriotic Front to take charge of our destiny. I hasten to assure you, we will make every effort to make sure that at no time, will you have cause to think that you misplaced or misallocated your trust and confidence. I sincerely pray that our God will heal this nation and reconcile all of us.
We may have different ideological principles but let’s agree to live side by side in harmony as Zambians. We must not allow violence to separate us; WE ARE BROTHERS AND SISTERS.
It would be highly remiss of me if I did not express our gratitude to the Chairperson and all the hard-working men and women in the Electoral Commission of Zambia for their diligent service despite the glaring defects and challenges. Our thanks also go to the law enforcement agencies and security wings.
My colleagues in the Patriotic Front have over the years worked tirelessly. Your enormous sacrifices for mother Zambia have, and can, never be in vain. You should continue to be the anchor of good governance, justice and social equity. Special thanks also go to the Zambia Peoples Pact Forum, Change Zambia, for all the excellent and untiring efforts they put into bringing about this change.
I thank my fellow presidential contenders for the good fight. I am sure that we will together continue the fight for a better Zambia in which poverty and injustice are totally banished.
Last but not least, my wife and children and indeed all members of my wider family who have at all times stood by me. I thank them for their love, loyalty and encouragement. It is difficult to find enough expression to adequately thank them for their sacrifices.
This goes for all my friends in Zambia and outside and my countrymen and women who have never hesitated to render a helping hand. I can only pray to God to reward you for your kindness and generosity.
As our democracy now passes its 20th anniversary, my first pledge as president is to fully commit myself and my party not only to the rule of law, but truly to the spirit of democracy and respect for the proper functioning of the institutions of the law, the executive and the institutions that are intended to safeguard the rights of all citizens and restore professionalism, impartiality, integrity, and dedication to duty.
Our country has huge problems which have been compounded by acts of bad governance and fiscal irresponsibility in recent years. The fact that 70 percent of our people live in poverty is in itself a profoundly grim statement.
The majority of Zambians are forced to live in degraded settlements with no appropriate social amenities - water, sanitation and electricity. In the rural areas, crop marketing is invariably a failure because there is no essential infrastructure such as physical communication, roads.
The gap between the small group of "haves" and the "disadvantaged" is getting wider. The much talked about stability can never be sustained under such circumstances. We have to go back to the drawing board and come out with plans and workable solutions to redress the situation.
In as much as I am mindful that we have to restructure things, re-orient and even create institutions of development some of which might take longer, I stand by my promise in initiating development projects within 90 days. We will begin by reducing the size of government and reducing Government expenditure.
We will use the budget process to increase the purchasing power of people as a sure way of growing the economy. Poor citizens with very limited purchasing power can never be a stimulant of economic growth and development.
Fellow country men and women; Zambia can never achieve fair and equitable development unless we put our commitment to poverty reduction at the centre of all that we do.
My vision, the vision for which my colleagues have struggled and for which Zambians have voted, is simple. The citizens of this great land not only deserve better lives, but are entitled to better lives.
IT'S TIME TO PUT ZAMBIANS FIRST AND ZAMBIA TO WORK.
It will not be my choice as President to determine who can access livelihoods, education, health and other services. No. It is my obligation to ensure that everyone has fair access to the services, protection and rights that they should be able to expect from Government.
The change that people have voted for is of course widely understood to be about sharing in the benefits of development. If there is prosperity, then this should be appropriately distributed amongst those involved in generating growth, not only those who may be employed but in important instances also by those who hold claim to natural resources.
Many thousands of people have voted for the Patriotic Front cry for "more jobs". So many of our country men and women who are hard workers, fast learners, and responsible citizens are greatly under-employed, earning small and occasional pickings, unable to realise the value of their talent, their capacity and their ambition.
My vision, and my commitment to you today is to ensure that all our efforts are directed to creating opportunity for Zambians to participate in the economy, to provide for their families with pride and security, and to develop livelihoods and careers to utilise their talents and fulfill their aspirations.
Foreign investment is important to Zambia, as it does not only create jobs but equally contributes to the economic empowerment of Zambians. We will continue to work in fair partnership with the investors already in the country and welcome new ones. It's our hope that Investors will abide by the labour laws of the country ensuring that Zambians are not disadvantaged.
Fellow Zambians, we need to renew our public service; we need dedicated staff; we need an enabling environment with appropriate equipment and infrastructure; and we need systems of management and oversight.
I recognise and honour the outstanding efforts of so many public sector workers, whether in schools, health facilities, the security wings, agricultural extension and so many others. Your Government will strive to ensure that the strengths of these noble public servants are built upon, and bring about rapid and comprehensive work culture.
Let me turn to the issue of Corruption. Corruption has been a long-standing scourge in many countries, and Zambia is no exception. There is a widespread belief that we have become perpetrators of corruption and indeed, it is this perception that created such a strong 'wind of change' during the course of these elections.
As president, I give my solemn promise to the citizenry of this country, as well as to our partners who entrust us with their money that this government will steadily tackle this scourge with the vigor it deserves.
This cancer must not be entertained at all levels. And, therefore, our fight against corruption will go beyond rhetoric and pious hope. Corruption is morally unacceptable and those charged with the responsibility of looking after our resources should guard it jealously.
Finally for this occasion suffice to appeal to you compatriots; BRACE YOURSELVES FOR HARD WORK. Your leaders in the Patriotic Front-led government will lead by example. I, therefore, call upon each and every Zambian to provide checks and balances because this is YOUR GOVERNMENT!
The rule of law will prevail but above all social justice will be the cornerstone and thrust of our goals and objectives. Zambia is a proud member of the international community. Since independence, we have played our role as a proud member of the United Nations, the African Union and various regional bodies.
Your government will honour and develop these relationships. I can assure these partners today that our commitment to poverty reduction, to the improvement of services for all, and the renewed fight against corruption will create a basis to strengthen these relations around our shared commitments.
To all the people of Zambia; these are my solemn commitments to you, as President. I am mindful that I cannot achieve all these pledges on my own. I, therefore, extend an invitation to all the Zambians to join me in building our nation based on human right and, equitable development.
THE TIME IS NOW.
May God Bless Zambia and the gallant people of this God- fearing Nation
I thank you for your attention.
President Michael Chilufya Sata
23 - 09 -2011