By United States Ambassador to Zambia Eric Schultz
German Ambassador to Zambia Bernd Finke
Acting British High Commissioner to Zambia Lucy Joyce
On behalf of our governments, we would like to wish the citizens of Zambia a prosperous, peaceful 2016.
Zambia has proven itself throughout the years to be a shining example of stability, growth, and democratization within the region and in Africa as a whole. It can and should be among Africa’s leaders.
The coming year – and specifically the lead-up to and conduct of the general election – will be crucial for Zambia. In that regard, we are concerned about increasing reports of political violence and harassment of members of the media and opposition. The frequent use of the Public Order Act to break up opposition meetings and to hinder political parties from full participation in democracy is very concerning. Freedom of expression and assembly are fundamental human rights, which need to be guaranteed for all stakeholders – government, opposition, civil society and the media alike. It is also vital that the independence of the Electoral Commission of Zambia continues to be respected and that it is able to complete the voter registration process in full. In order for Zambia to reach its lofty, but achievable goals, it must safeguard its democratic future today. As cooperating partners, we stand with Zambia in anticipating a free, fair, and peaceful general election in 2016.
Although Zambia is experiencing economic difficulties at the moment after years of growth, we can foresee a democratic Zambia reaching ever greater heights in the future: spurring more inclusive economic growth, reducing levels of poverty, producing an HIV/AIDS free generation, and educating its people to prepare them for Zambia’s Africa’s coming moment – when it will be one of the engines of world economic growth.
As you celebrate the coming of the New Year with family, friends and loved ones, know that the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany are cooperating partners – with an emphasis on cooperation. We stand committed to helping Zambia on its path toward that bright future.
Our best wishes for the coming year.