Zam­bia seek in­ter­ven­tion

Lesotho Times - - Africa -

LUSAKA — Zam­bia’s pres­i­dent Edgar Lungu (pic­tured) prayed to God to “heal” his coun­try’s ail­ing cur­rency on Sun­day, with bars shut and foot­ball matches can­celled on a na­tional day of prayer to end a record slump.

Lungu or­dered the prayer ses­sion last month af­ter the kwacha fell 45 per­cent against the dol­lar since the start of the year due to a sharp drop in the price of cop­per, the coun­try’s main ex­port.

Food prices have soared and crip­pling power short­ages have also been trig­gered by low wa­ter-lev­els in Lake Kariba, where hy­dropower plants sup­ply much of the coun­try’s elec­tric­ity.

The kwacha’s 45 per­cent slump against the dol­lar this year has been the worst of all 155 cur­ren­cies tracked by Bloomberg news ser­vice.

“Our God has heard our cries, he has for­given us our sins and we are sure he will heal our coun­try (as) we face se­ri­ous so­cial-eco­nomic chal­lenges,” Lungu told a gath­er­ing of around 5 000 Zam­bians, in­clud­ing former pres­i­dents Ken­neth Kaunda and Ru­piah Banda.

He also ap­pealed to Zam­bians with “bril­liant ideas” to come for­ward and as­sist the gov­ern­ment.

“There are many out there who have bril­liant ideas, let them come for­ward, we run an open gov­ern­ment,” he told the crowd in the Zam­bian cap­i­tal Lusaka.

“We should never seek po­lit­i­cal suc­cess on the back of our na­tional fail­ure or dis­as­ter. It is our peo­ple who will suf­fer,” he said.

“You all know that God is love and I ap­peal to all of you to do the best and leave the rest to God.”

Ken­neth Kaunda, Zam­bia’s found­ing pres­i­dent, mean­while prayed that God would help Lungu solve the coun­try’s woes.

“God con­tinue to help us solve the prob­lems this young man may face in fu­ture,” said Kaunda as he placed his hand on Lungu’s head.

The Zam­bian foot­ball as­so­ci­a­tion post­poned all of Sun­day’s games and the gov­ern­ment had an­nounced that bars should not open un­til 18:00.

Crit­ics of the gov­ern­ment have ac­cused Lungu of fail­ing to tackle the causes of coun­try’s econ­omy trou­bles, say­ing that the prayer day was a dis­trac­tion. — AFP

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