Message from His Excellency Mr. Palan Mulonda on the Occasion of Zambia's 50th Independence Anniversary
24th October 2014, Washington, DC
I am honoured to share this message with you as we mark the 50th anniversary Independence celebration of our great country Zambia. I also bring you warm greetings from His Excellency President Michael Chilufya Sata who, on this day and at this time last year, launched this anniversary under the theme "Commemorating God's favour of 50 years of independence for continued peace, unity, democracy, patriotism and prosperity”. President Sata also expresses his sincere and warmest gratitude to the leadership and citizens of this great nation for the messages of goodwill and solidarity received. This he equally extends to various nations, international organizations and other well-wishers who, through their messages, have reaffirmed Zambia as a member of the international community with a wide circle of friends.
This is indeed a very significant milestone for Zambia as we commemorate our golden jubilee, one of continuous peace and prosperity. May I take this opportunity to pay special tribute to our founding fathers and mothers and freedom fighters who selflessly fought for the country’s right to self-determination.
Having achieved this right, we can proudly say that Zambia has in many respects addressed the challenges that confronted her as a newly independent nation. With about 100 university graduates at independence and high poverty levels, the nation today boasts of tens of thousands of graduates in various disciplines and impressive economic growth rates over the last decade.
Indeed, we have witnessed over the last decade, a steady rate of economic growth averaging around 6 to 7 per cent which has contributed to our categorisation as a lower middle income country from that of a low income country. In fact, we continue to record increasing amounts of foreign direct investment (FDI) towards the prioritised sectors of agriculture, energy, tourism, manufacturing and infrastructure development. The country also continues to make substantial public investments in health and education and local governance.
As we mark this milestone, we do well to note some of the achievements attained over the last 50 years politically, which include the holding of free and fair elections and the peaceful transitions of power, which saw the peaceful handover from the incumbent ruling party to opposition parties in 1991 and 2011 multi-party elections.
The nation has also witnessed the establishment of strong governance institutions that have helped entrench the rule of law and seen the promotion and protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms. We as Zambians pride ourselves as being not only a peaceful and hospitable country, but also as one that has and continues to individually and collectively, along with our neighbours, promote peace, security and stability within our region.
As we celebrate this momentous occasion, we wish to recognise the important role that our gracious host, the United States, has and continues to play as our partner in development. Zambia remains grateful for the numerous ways through which the U.S has rendered assistance across various sectors, such as health, education, good governance and economic development which have indeed gone a very long way in improving the lives of many of our citizenry. We shall also continue to look up towards the U.S, in its capacity as an older democracy, for mutually beneficial tenets that will ensure our continued path towards a positive and prosperous future.
To my fellow Zambians, who in your individual and collective capacities achieve greatness in various fields, allow me to recognise and commend your efforts. Let me take this opportunity to remind us of the motto that our founding father, Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda derived 50 years ago of “One Zambia, One Nation" as the glue that has and will continue to unite us in our diversity.
If we follow this motto religiously by working together as one, surely we can achieve even more and live up to the expectations embodied in the jubilee theme, which is indeed "Commemorating God's favour of 50 years of independence for continued peace, unity, democracy, patriotism and prosperity”.
I thank you and may God bless the Republic of Zambia and the United States of America.