By CHUSA SICHONE –
NEWLY-APPOINTED Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Dora Siliya has urged Zambians to put the country first by saying and doing that which will make Zambia remain united and peaceful.
Ms Siliya said Zambians should not put Zambia in a manner that isolated oneself on the basis of tribe, religion, political affiliation, race or even social standing.
Ms Siliya said at media breakfast at Southern Sun Hotel in Lusaka yesterday also that she would not use her time of serving Zambians to engage in unproductive discourse like rumors and insults, as they did not benefit any Zambian at all.
“We all must put Zambia first and start a new path after today. But not in a manner that isolates oneself on the basis of tribe, religion, political affiliation, race or even indeed social standing. Let us put Zambia first by saying and doing that which will make our country stay united and remain peaceful and a beacon of hope and opportunity for all,” Ms Siliya said.
Ms Siliya, who is Chief Government Spokesperson, said Zambia needed a mindset based on tolerance, forgiveness, entrepreneurship and love for one another.
Ms Siliya said national values of love, forgiveness or good manners should assist the citizenry isolate those who wished Zambia to degenerate into a pit of insults in the name of politics.
The minister said she would remain open to receive feedback on how the Government could effectively deliver development to the Zambians and co-exist with various stakeholders, including the opposition.
She said that with the disruption of traditional media by online media, there was need for everyone to rise to the occasion to ensure a balance between private and public good.
Ms Siliya said there was need to embrace new technology with dignity and enjoy the opportunities created for the betterment of the nation, adding that the media was critical and pledged to work closely with all to ensure the profession and the business was enhanced.
Ms Siliya said as Chief Government Spokesperson she would use all channels of communication to keep citizens informed at all times, noting that Zambians had a right to know how their Government was expending national resources as captured in the annual Budget.
Ms Siliya pledged to disseminate information on Government affairs in a truthful, fair and timely manner and that it was her intention to listen very carefully to various stakeholders and the public to what it was they expected from the Government.
The minister said it was her duty to ensure visibility of the social and economic achievements that the Government had scored, noting that some citizens were not aware of the Government’s accomplishments in health, education and agriculture, among other sectors.
Ms Siliya, however, said more needed to be done to ensure that the economic growth trickled down to the poor and vulnerable citizens so that they could afford decent housing, sanitation and wages as well as adequate nutrition.
Ms Siliya said further that although the Government had embarked on fiscal discipline, there was need to do more.
Ms Siliya, who was accompanied by the ministry’s Press and Media Development director Isaac Chipampe, took time to shake hands and interact with journalists from public and private media institutions besides posing for pictures with those that requested and assured that yesterday’s meeting was the beginning of more engagements with media.