Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has today met with President Edgar Lungu, main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema and Catholic bishops after landing in Zambia yesterday for an official four-day visit.
The Secretary-General was welcomed upon arrival at the Kenneth Kaunda International airport by the minister at the office of the vice-president, Sylvie Chalikosa, permanent secretary for higher education, Owen Mugemezulu and Zambia’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom Muyeba Chikonde.
In her meetings Secretary-General Scotland reaffirmed the Commonwealth’s commitment to continue supporting peaceful political dialogue and promoting cohesion in the country. She reiterated the importance of honest, peaceful and constructive engagement by all stakeholders, to help build an atmosphere of trust and maintain Zambia’s global image as a cradle of peace and a peacebuilder in Africa and beyond.
In a statement today, the Secretary-General said, “I am delighted to be here in Zambia and look forward to successful consultations with stakeholders to discuss priorities for the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, build on the longstanding engagement with Zambia, exchange on climate change, trade and opportunities for supporting youth development.
“Of the 2.4 billion people in the Commonwealth, 60 percent of them are under the age of 30, so it’s right that we concentrate on how to put the wealth back into Commonwealth and the common back into wealth so that we can make sure that our young people have a vibrant and good future.
“Zambia has always been an exemplar of peace and tranquillity in Africa and this visit also reaffirms the Commonwealth’s commitment to supporting peace and political cohesion, especially in the context of this year’s Commonwealth theme, A Peacebuilding Commonwealth.”
Over the years, support from the Commonwealth Secretariat has spanned the political, economic and judicial sectors. During last year’s general elections, the Secretary-General deployed a peace envoy and a Commonwealth Observer Group to the country.
While in Zambia, the Secretary-General will highlight key Commonwealth initiatives. These include a project to mobilise partnerships and support to vulnerable small states to achieve their sustainable development goals, and measures to boost trade and address climate change.
She will also discuss the Commonwealth Office for Civil and Criminal Justice Reform. This will assist member countries in delivering access to justice and sustainable development through the creation of fair and effective national laws, helping member states to enhance policy-making and legislation.
One example of this is the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles Toolkit on separation of powers, which was developed in close cooperation with the Latimer House Working Group. The toolkit sets out clear steps to ensure that the Principles are implemented.
The mission is part of a peace and relationship-building tour of Commonwealth Africa. Last week, The Secretary-General was in Uganda for the annual youth ministers’ summit. From Zambia she will fly to Tanzania then on to Mozambique.