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REMARKS BY CANDIDATE, Dr. Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika

Your Honor the Vice President, Mr. Rupiah B. Banda, M.P.;
Honourable Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers and Members of Parliament;
Your Excellencies, the Heads of African Missions resident in Zambia; Heads of International and Regional Organisations;
Senior Government Officials;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and Gentlemen:

Let me begin by thanking his Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia for finding me a worthy Zambian candidate to contest for the high office of African Union Commission chairperson.

I am also very grateful to His Honour the Vice President for his strong support, and his knowledgeable and experienced guidance, as the chairperson the Zambia Campaign team.

His Honour is well supported in this task by Honourable Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, other government officials and other eminent citizens.  Gratitude and credit is also due to these distinguished Zambians.

And, if I may state what is self-evident to all of us present, the work by the organisers of this event is truly magnificent and gratifying. 

Above all, I also thank you all for accepting His Honour the Vice President’s invitation and for your support today and in the months and years to come.

Je dit merci beaucoup;
Asante sana, na shukuru sana;
Muento obrigada.

Given the honour of your presence, and the support the support of the Zambian Government, I pledge to all my fellow Zambians and fellow Africans that I will not let you down – God being my help.

It has been my privilege to have served in over 40 African countries, in all the five sub-regions of Africa, through UNICEF.  This has been after a decade of child development and teacher training, at university level in Zambia.

I have been associated with the OAU, since the 1970’s.  As a Special Envoy of His Excellency President Levy P. Mwanawasa, SC., I have been privileged to play a part in the transition process from the OAU leading to the establishment of the African Union.

In this an many other ways, I have interacted in socio-economic development work with a cross section of Africans, on the continent and its Diaspora. 

Needless to say, my candidature is only significant in the context of what Zambia, has stood for and continues to stand for.  The history of Africa would be incomplete without the recognition of the fact that Zambia hosted freedom movements and freedom fighters.  Zambia has hosted, and continues to host, refugees for several of our sister countries in Africa. Zambia is the birth place of SADC, the birth place of COMESA and the decision point for the establishment of the African Union.

Indeed, Zambia has played key roles in promoting peace in our sub-region and Africa as a whole.  Our country continues to be active in African affairs, as signified by the recent election of our President to the chairmanship of SADC.  This is in addition to continuing to host COMESA and the UN Economic Commission for Africa’s regional office for Southern Africa.

It is, therefore, as a Zambian that I am proud of the progress Africa is making.  I believe strongly in the renaissance of our continent.  Our continent deserves nothing less. Our continent is richly blessed with many resources, chief among which are the people – with their smiles, energy and the wealth of human relationships, as well as their determined aspiration for political freedom and human development.

The solutions to all the challenges facing Africa are in committed African hands, sharp African minds and strong African self-determination.  African needs to unite around common ground and issues of common interest.  Africa needs to engage all her people young and old, male and female and urban and rural.

The future of the African Union lies in the appropriate mobilization and application of these committed African hands, sharp African minds and strong African self-determination. It is in this context that I am humbled, but eager and ready, to accept the nomination as Zambia’s candidate for the position of chairperson of the African Union Commission. 

African can and will make it;
Asante sana mungu a mibariki;
Thank you.

Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika
11th September 2007
Lusaka, Zambia