Lusaka (Agenzia Fides) - The newly elected President of Zambia will have to "fight the rampant corruption, which has reached unprecedented levels in our nation". This is what His Exc. Mgr. Charles Kasonde, Bishop of Solwezi, said in his address to the elected President of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema, who tomorrow, August 24, will take office with the swearing-in ceremony.
The historic opponent, Hichilema, defeated the outgoing Head of State, Edgar Lungu, with 2.8 million votes in the August 12 elections (see Fides, 13/8/2021).
Mgr. Kasonde expresses the hope that the next five years of President Hichilema's government "will be a time of recovery, a time of economic prosperity and a time to cultivate the peace that God has given to the nation".
The Bishop of Solwezi launches an appeal to the people of Zambia for reconciliation and a renewed desire to be together as one nation, living "as brothers and sisters".
Mgr. Kasonde then urged the new government to work on improving the infrastructure in the north-western province, which falls under his pastoral jurisdiction. "In the north-western province, we want to see more efforts (on behalf of the state) "because its people "have not received fair compensation for the exploitation of three huge mines, but the series of promised infrastructures have not yet materialized". "We would like to see much more development in our country, to appreciate the goods and gifts that God has given us through mines and other resources", concluded the Bishop.
Zambia has made economic progress for more than a decade and achieved middle-income status in 2011, but it is now plagued by high inflation, high debt and allegations of corruption. According to the World Bank, the COVID-19 pandemic has further damaged the economy, which was already showing serious signs of slowing down. Anti-pandemic measures pushed Zambia into its first recession since 1998 and the economy contracted by 1.2%.
Likewise, an easing of anti-pandemic measures in the latter part of 2020 and a global increase in copper prices led to some recovery, although inflation peaked at 22% in February this year. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 23/8/2021)