PRESIDENT Lungu has been conferred with the honour of Freeman of Chipata.
And the President yesterday commissioned the K1.5 million Kayeka electricity grid extension project under the rural electrification initiative at Luangeni village in Chipata
President Lungu, who was conferred with the honour at Chipata Civic Centre yesterday, becomes the third leader to receive the recognition after President Kenneth Kaunda in 1994 and South African President Jacob Zuma in 2009.
He thanked the people of Chipata for conferring him as freeman of Chipata and assured them that he would preserve the dignity that goes with the status.
“I am deeply honoured to have been considered worthy of the honour of the freeman of Chipata. I am conscious of the fact that the status of freeman is the highest honour that a local authority can confer on deserving personalities and institutions,” he said.
He said Chipata is strategically positioned as a provincial capital and that Government expected the municipality to provide practical leadership in local governance.
“I am aware that Chipata is on record as a leader in initiating innovative ways to improve service delivery to the communities. This innovation is the only way in which we can enhance service delivery as the government’s resource envelopes cannot satisfy all,” he said.
He expressed hope that Chipata would continue to uphold its reputation and be a leader in civic responsibilities.
“In terms of revenue generation, I am aware also that Chipata has mentored several local authorities in the country in the past,” he said.
President Lungu said Government has started implementing the revised national decentralisation policy to strengthen municipalities and democracy in the country.
President Lungu said Government was confident that the implementation of the policy would fortify inclusive governance in the country.
“My government attaches great importance to the role local government plays in the development of our nation. For this reason, I want to reaffirm my Government’s commitment to strengthen the system of local government in this country,” he said.
He said Government has shown commitment to strengthen local government system through increased budgetary allocation to the sector from 2012 to date.
Speaking at the same event, Chipata town clerk David Musenga said the local authority decided to confer President Lungu with the status of freeman of Chipata because of his contribution to the cause of peace and stability in the country.
Meanwhile, President Lungu has warned United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema against daring him by mobilising cadres with the intention of bringing disorder in the capital city Lusaka.
He said this when he commissioned the Kayeka electricity grid extension project at Luangeni.
The President said it was sad that politicians like Mr Hichilema were making political capital out of the alleged killing of the UPND cadre in Lusaka’s Mtendere township.
“I want to warn politicians to desist from politicising the killing of the cadre. Let me be specific, especially Mr Hichilema should not dare me too much by mobilising cadres and start protesting in Lusaka,” he said.
He said he is the President of Zambians whose job is to protect citizens and allow political parties to co-exist without favouring anyone.
He said he does not support crime regardless of who has committed it, be it cadres from the PF or the oppositions.
President Lungu said police have since arrested two suspects in connection with the killing of the cadre and urged the media to be professional in their reporting.
He said instead of dividing citizens on political affiliations and tribal lines, the media should promote the ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ motto.
On electricity, the President said for the first time in 50 years, villages are being connected to power and roads are being constructed among other projects started by President Sata.