(Source: European Parliament)
In his address to MEPs , Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema thanked Parliament for its support, advocated closer relations with the EU and condemned the war against Ukraine.
Introducing President Hichilema EP President Roberta Metsola said Zambia stands as an example of a mature democracy for the whole of the African continent. Now more than ever, in the current troubled geopolitical context and during Russia’s efforts to increase its influence in Africa, Zambia’s progress needs to be supported . President Metsola also reminded MEPs that back in 2017 Parliament adopted a resolution condemning the incarceration of President Hichilema on politically motivated charges.
“Zambia is back in business, in the Champions league”, President Hichilema said, referring to the results of country’s most recent elections. He reiterated Zambia’s commitment to put people’s interests, reforms, free media, the rule of law, youth and education at the top of his political agenda. He advocated for enhanced Africa- EU cooperation, more trade, and more exchange of knowledge.
“We categorically say no to the war in Ukraine. It is tragic and heart-breaking to witness the thousands of lives lost and millions displaced unnecessarily, as a result of an avoidable conflict in Ukraine”, President Hichilema said, while speaking about peace and security in the world. He added that the impact of the war is felt in his country in the form of higher fuel, food and fertilizers prices, and he urged all parties to focus more on improving the lives of people, not waging war. President Hichilema also offered his help in overcoming food shortages.
President Hichilema also expressed his profound gratitude for the support of the European Parliament for him and for Zambia during his incarceration and the dark days of Zambia’s democratic development. “I remain indebted to you for standing up for human rights and freedom of all people in Zambia”, he said.