Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Let me on behalf of Pillars of Peace (Zambia) welcome you all … to this beautiful land of Zambia….

I would like to thank the organizers of this conference for choosing Zambia to host this unique summit … [and its theme], “Addressing the Critical Challenges of Our Time: The Role of Governments, Civil Society and Faith-Based Organizations.”

I am pleased to note that as you discuss peace, you have included the challenges resulting from poverty, broken families, lack of values among our communities, as well as various social problems facing the youth — especially as they comprise the larger part of our population….

It is also important to note that there can never be any meaningful economic, social and technological advancement among our people without peace.

As you may be aware, Zambia has always been regarded as a haven for peace, and this we continue to preach to the international community, region and within our own country.

This is why Pillars of Peace (Zambia) was formed: to be the vehicle that would ensure that Zambians are reminded about the importance of promoting, believing and sustaining peace in our nation….

Peace in some of our nations has been challenged by individuals and radical groups. At times, we all find it hard to control this trend, let alone understand its causes. The youth who are the future resource in our nations are being used to fan violence because they are vulnerable and desperate, mostly because of poverty. I wish to state here that it is important for all of us to invest appropriately in the development of our youth….

We have seen some extremist tendencies crippling some of our sister nations in Africa. This should be a great source of concern for all of us, in whatever capacity, as it is a real threat to peaceful existence.

Allow me to remind each and every one of us in this forum that the family is the first school of life and existence. Education begins in the home, within the family unit. Foundational mindset and character starts within the family, and positive family foundation brings prosperity, peace and happiness into communities. We need to further the talent that God has given us in a productive manner. Our future is molded by ourselves through leadership ideals.

We are happy about the concept of the Universal Peace Federation of “One Family, Under God.” We sincerely believe that family is the building block of a nation and it is a very important component towards the development of our continent. Conversely, one of the critical challenges we face today is the crucial breakdown of the family unit resulting in a wide range of social problems…. However, despite these challenges, there are men and women the world over who still aspire to build strong, loving and lasting families. Therefore, when families are strengthened, a strong base is created for social capital to flourish. This, in turn, enhances the overall quality of life for everyone….

I gladly notice that one of the highlights of this seminar will be the inauguration of the International Association of Parliamentarians for Peace, to serve as a platform for government and civil society to work together in promoting peace and prosperity in our nations.

This is a very important initiative. It is also important that we should engage our traditional leaders much more because they are the custodians of our rural communities. I also wish to appeal to all the organizations that are focusing on peace to unite and work together so that we can magnify the impact of our work. Maybe this is the time for us to think about having an umbrella organization for peace in our country. It is also important for us to ponder on the possibility of having a regional body on peace in Southern Africa.

As Pillars of Peace (Zambia), we shall work in close partnership with our government. We will continue to support peace initiatives that will lead to the achievement of peace. We will ensure to play our greater role of advocacy in ensuring that we remind our government to uphold the global pillars of peace norms that promote:

A.) Good governance.

B.) Reduced corruption.

C.) Well-functioning government.

D.) Equitable distribution of wealth.

E.) Human development capital, and

F.) Enhancement of people’s sustainable livelihoods.

I challenge the members of Parliament, civil society, the corporate sector, faith-based organizations and traditional and religious leaders to get involved in this intervention. We should all walk the talk.

Allow me to commend our Republican president, His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, for putting peace at the center stage during the pre- and post-election period…. He provided the leadership that helped our country to stand firm and retain our country’s glory of Zambia as “a peaceful nation.”

Finally, I am most delighted to note that participants have been drawn from all over Africa …. As lawmakers who are a critical group of leaders in all nations, you have the mandate to speak for the people. Remember that God will hold all of us leaders accountable for the well-being of His beloved creation, mankind. God bless you all. Thank you.

Evelyn C. Manda is executive director of Pillars of Peace in Zambia. These excerpts are from her remarks to the Nov. 5-7 International Leadership Conference in Lusaka, Zambia.

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