Inaugural Speech of President Rupiah Banda on Sunday, 02nd November, 2008 at Parliament Building Grounds
My Lord the Chief Justice, Honourable Justice Ernest Sakala, The Speaker of the National Assembly Honourable Amusaa Mwanamwambwa, MP, esteemed Heads of State and their representatives, your Excellencies, the First and Second Presidents of the Republic of Zambia, the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Zambia, Mrs Justice Florence Mumba, Honourable Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court, my colleagues the leaders of political parties, your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to Zambia, Your Royal Highnesses, traditional leaders, representatives of international organisations, fellow MMD members, distinguished invited guests, fellow Zambians.
Eight weeks ago, I launched my campaign to be President of the Republic of Zambia.
For me to be President is to be President of All Zambians.
In my launch speech, I said that I wanted to deliver economic prosperity for all Zambians.
I promised to be the agent of continuity, delivering the pledges of the 2006 MMD Manifesto.
I also promised to deliver good governance; to continue the campaign against corruption.
Underlying all of these was my main goal of fighting poverty.
We have come a long way these last seven years but there is still much to do.
Too many Zambians have been left behind; they do not share in the economic prosperity of the Zambian economy.
My opponents also made their case to the Zambian people on Thursday 30th October the Zambian people delivered their verdict.
A verdict which as we saw was very close.
I would like to thank all those who believed in democracy and turned out to vote.
You have done your country a service.
From the result I [have] taken an important message.
It is time we all united and work for a better future.
You chose my vision and I will not forget that it is you the Zambian people who placed your trust in me.
It is a responsibility not to be taken lightly.
It is therefore with great humility that today I am able to address you as the Fourth President of Republic of Zambia.
We are a proud democracy and I will not forget that it is you the Zambian people who are the masters.
Politicians come and go in electoral cycles.
We must never forget that it is you who decide whether we stay in office or are banished.
I now serve you the Zambian people until 2011.
To the vanquished I have this to say,
For Zambia’s sake I will look forward, not back.
The campaign is over. What is in the past must remain so.
We have had a spirited and enjoyable campaign.
Thanks must go to certain media outlets that have made the name of Rupiah a household name.
I thank all those who campaigned, those for me and even those who campaigned against me.
That is democracy.
Today, I offer my friendship to Michael Sata, Hakainde Hichilema and Godfrey Miyanda.
I do so because it is not my intention to govern a divided nation.
It does not matter which party you voted for, at the end of the day we are all Zambians.
In my campaign launch speech I said the words “united we stand, divided we fall”.
This election will not divide us; it will unite us all in a common goal.
We may be a country of many tribes, of many language, different religions and of many colours but never forget we are one nation.
So to the leaders of the opposition parties I ask you to work with me, for all Zambians.
In parliament we must put aside petty squabbles and do what is right for the Zambian people.
Our late President Mwanawasa was elected in 2006 to govern Zambia until 2011.
By his death Zambia was cruelly robbed of a fine man.
He was a man of vision; the Zambian people believed in him and returned him to office for a second term.
He was a man of integrity, not afraid to speak the truth even when others remained silent.
He was a champion of democracy.
When others tried to distort our constitution he stood firm.
His goal was to increase prosperity for all Zambians. He started stamping out corruption wherever it reared its ugly head.
Under his leadership he once again made Zambia into a beacon of democracy.
A democracy we have witnessed this past few days.
Losing Levy Mwanawasa was a tragedy, but as a nation we must now move on.
Today, I give up the title of Acting President and take up the mantle of President of the Republic of Zambia.
I will serve as President of all Zambians.
I want to thank all those who made this election a smooth and peaceful process.
Thanks must go to all those at the Electoral Commission.
To all those people who manned the polling stations.
To the international election observers.
The Zambian Police and the armed services.
I want to thank the media for covering the campaign with fairness and integrity.
I wish to thank my party, the MMD. To all those colleagues, Ministers and MPs who have carried the message far and wide, I say thank you.
Now we have much work to do.
My Cabinet must be able to deliver the vision as set out by me during this election.
My priority will be to fight poverty. I made that clear during the campaign.
Poverty is demeaning and an unnecessary evil.
I do not want people to think of Zambia as a third world country with a begging bow.
Because we are not.
I want to move from handouts to hand-ups.
I want to empower all Zambians.
I want people to think of Zambia as a prosperous and confident nation.
We have a goal of making Zambia a middle income nation by 2030.
The path to 2030 is through education.
I firmly believe that good education is the passport out of poverty.
We must make sure that our next generation is equipped with the skills to prosper in the modern world.
We must not forget that today’s young are tomorrow’s adults.
They are our future. We must invest in them.
But we must prepare the way for them by having a strong economy.
On Thursday 30th October the MMD won because of our track record since 2001.
Over the past seven years this government has worked hard to get our economy moving and we have been successful.
The economy has grown steadily over the past seven years; our economic policies have been praised by international organisations, including the World Bank.
Under this government Zambia is growing.
Since 2003 our GDP growth rate has risen from 3.3 per cent to 6.2 per cent.
This impressive growth covers all sectors: manufacturing, construction, tourism, transport, communications and agriculture.
As a percentage of GDP the service sector has grown from over 50 per cent to 56.5 per cent.
Inflation is down from over 25 per cent to 13.2 per cent.
Foreign investment has risen from $255 million dollars: in 2003 to over $4.25 billion for 2008.
We are tackling corruption head-on, and will continue to do so.
We must, because corruption saps investor confidence.
We will continue to build a strong Zambia.
Our economic policies have made us one of the most stable countries on African continent.
With this stability we have seen record levels of foreign investment that have modernised our industries and made our farmers more productive.
We will continue to welcome foreign investors to as long as they obey the laws and regulations of country particularly those protecting our workers.
I want Zambians to enjoy decent wages and working conditions.
I also want to see our environment protected and respected.
This investment is the engine which will make our industrial and agricultural sectors more productive and creating more jobs at better wages.
It generates the revenue to pave more roads, to modernise our Telecommunications and energy
We will encourage new sources of investment into both electricity generation and transmission system.
It builds more schools to educate our children so they can compete for the jobs of tomorrow.
It allows us to modernise the hospitals which heal our sick and take care of our elderly.
I am proud of these achievements and I am proud for Zambia.
I will continue this legacy.
I will continue to make sure that all in Zambia can improve their living conditions.
I will continue the policies that mean ever more Zambians can enjoy the fruits of an expanding economy.
I do so in the belief that continuity, good governance and economic prosperity for all is right for Zambia.
I want all to prosper. I will be president of all Zambians.
It is my vision to go further.
I want to make Zambia a hub of southern Africa.
A hub for transport and a hub for knowledge and learning.
A hub for tourism.
This vision is possible.
We are at the heart of Southern Africa.
We have immediate borders with no less than eight countries.
We are active members of the African Union, of the Southern African Development Community, and of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.
We will stay committed to those institutions.
Zambia is at the crossroads of Southern Africa and we will take advantage of it.
I want people to come to Zambia to see for themselves.
I am proud of our country and all that we have to offer.
Zambia is beautiful.
We have the world famous sites, great national parks full of game, and of course our heritage.
Tourists come here because they want to experience the real Africa.
And here they can do it.
Tourism not only brings jobs security.
It gives us an opportunity to protect our environment and our culture for future generations of Zambians.
It also stimulates growth, investment and improvements.
I hold places like Livingstone and South Luangwa as examples of what can be achieved all across Zambia.
But I want to see more.
The potential to open up the Luapula and the Northern Provinces needs to be realised.
The waterfalls and scenery there deserve to be seen by our visitors.
Not just foreign tourists but also Zambians.
There are game parks and warm hospitality to enjoy.
I want tourism centres all over Zambia.
I want the world to see how diverse and unique our country is.
I have already promised to reduce visa fees; this should welcome more visitors to our country.
I also want visitors to enjoy the fruits of our land.
Our farmers play an important role in feeding us all. We will continue to support them in producing food surpluses.
The price of fertilizer and fuel has already come down.
These lower inputs costs provide a valuable window of opportunity.
I want our farming sector to take advantage and use this window to prepare for the future.
I want to help them invest in better seed and new machinery.
I do not want drought or pest to hinder our advancement.
We must be able to sustain ourselves in times of hardship.
We must be able help our neighbours when they need help, just as they have always helped us when we were in need.
Alongside tourism and agriculture is mining.
Mining is another fundamental sector in our nation’s economy.
It is responsible for around 80 per cent of our export earnings and almost 15 per cent of our GDP.
Foreign investment in the mining sector has totaled $4 Billion USD since 2000.
This shows not only investor confidence in copper, but also confidence in our country and our people.
Since 2002 this government’s policies have brought growth and stability back to mining, resulting in an increase in production of over 38 per cent.
In 2002 there were 34.000 jobs in the mining sector, today there are over 58.000.
In the last seven years we have seen three mines reactivated and ten major new projects in the planning.
Since then the government has worked hard to ensure solid inward investment.
I am pledged to continue this approach.
I am also pledged to see investment and much needed improvement in our energy sector.
I want all Zambians to have ready access to reliable electricity.
Without a reliable source of electricity much of our economy is hindered.
I want a Zambia where load-shedding is a thing of the past.
We are upgrading existing power stations and are pushing forward with new power projects.
By 2016 we will have 5 new hydro generating projects.
We will work with national and international partners to deliver the rural electrification master plan.
At present power supply follows industry: I want it to lead industry.
I cannot promise to solve the problems in just three years but I can lay the foundation for the future.
I also want to see major progress in healthcare.
Life threatening diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria must be combated.
Medicine alone is not the answer: education is also very important.
In the case of HIV ignorance is a killer.
My government will continue with its information campaign so that ignorance does not cost you your life.
We will continue investing in our health care.
I want to see new and refurbished hospitals, better training for doctors and nurses and a strengthened staff retention scheme.
I want all Zambians to know that Zambia will be safe and secure under my presidency.
During my campaign I said “I will be president of all Zambians”.
I meant that.
Now is the time to move forward and for all Zambians to unite.
Let us look to the future with pride and with hope in our hearts.
I am honoured to have many distinguished international guests here today.
I urge you to return and take the time to see our country properly.
To all Zambians I say this:
I will not fail you. I invite you all to work with me.
Let us together build a stronger Zambia.
Finally, and on a very personal note I must give my heartfelt thanks to my wife Thandiwe and my family for standing by me and for supporting me during this campaign.
I owe you everything.
May god bless you all, may God bless Zambia.
* President Banda inaugural speech, Monday, 03rd November, 2008 as lifted, transcribed from Times of Zambia for Facebook in 2020 plus reduced to lower case from all capital letters by Kasebamashila Kaseba as part of the inaugural speeches book project.