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SPEECH BY MR. DOMINIC Y. SICHINGA(SC), THE PERMANENT SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS AND TRANSPORT OF ZAMBIA
 

 ON THE OCCASION TO MARK THE COMMEMORATION OF THE 35TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE HANDOVER OF TAZARA BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA TO THE GOVERNMENTS OF THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA AND REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA

14 SEPTEMBER, 2011

It is indeed a great honour to be part of the occasion to commemorate the birth of TAZARA and, particularly, the handover of TAZARA by the Government of the People's Republic of China to our two Governments of Tanzania and Zambia.

For me, knowing the significance that TAZARA plays as a uniting factor and a symbol of solidarity amongst the three nations of China, Tanzania and Zambia, it is an even greater honour to be allowed to say something on this historical occasion.

The TAZARA project is an important symbol of the close relations that have for a long time existed among three Nations, namely the People's Republic of China, the United Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Zambia. This project was executed at the most trying period in the history of our Region due to the apartheid regime in South Africa at the time. The international community in response to the evil practices of apartheid, applied sanctions against South Africa in order to help bring about change in that country as advocated by the freedom fighters.

Indeed Zambia as a member of the United Nations and the Front Line States, felt the obligation to abide by the alternative decision of the international community by boycotting the use of the Southern Route for its exports and imports. The only alternative at the time was to construct the Tanzania-Zambia Railway with the help of the People's Republic of China. Indeed TAZARA was a landmark project which has to date remained as a symbol of the very warm and cordial relations that so happily exist among the three sister nations.

The anniversary of TAZARA is therefore an occasion for celebrating the amity, comity and reflection of the important decision that was taken at the time.

In this regard, history will record that His Excellency Dr. Keneth D. Kaunda and his late brother and comrade the late His Excellency Julius Kambarage Nyerere of Tanzania worked tirelessly to ensure that their vision for this project became a reality despite the resistance from the western countries. His Excellency Dr. Keneth D. Kaunda is of the view that this anniversary is an occasion for remembrance and celebration. He feels greatly honoured by the gracious invitation that has been extended to him in recognition of the role that he played. He conveys his best wishes to all of us gathered here today and wishes TAZARA a bright future.

In his message, he states, "Even at its initiation, this project was consciously intended to provide multilateral rewards and wide economic development purpose, on a broad Pan-African scale of vision.

The successful liberation and decolonization of South Africa has exposed TAZARA's usefulness and benefit not only to Zambia and Tanzania, but to other countries in Southern, Eastern and Central Africa.

The economic growth and diversification within and among these countries has shown TAZARA to be a partner in demand for multiple economic sectors and actors needing to transport an infinite variety of products and passengers."

Indeed, now, TAZARA is not just an emergency or interim alternative outlet for Zambia's exports.

It remains relevant and necessary even after European settler colonialism and apartheid in Southern Africa.

Now and in the future, TAZARA is an essential facilitator for exports, imports and internal distribution of commodities as well as movement of people, within and among several African countries.

This is underscored by increased demand emerging from imports and exports of Zambia, Tanzania, the Congo (DRC), Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Botswana, Namibia, Angola and Kenya.

The increasing significance of the role of TAZARA in the region underscores the great vision, respect and honour with which we can look back and remember our founding leaders in the late Chairman Mao Tse Tung, the late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, who is still living with us.

Allow me to pay special tribute to and salute our late leaders as well as the living Dr. Kaunda, who courageously and boldly advocated for the construction of TAZARA.

Their vision for a free Africa as a tool for development has long been proved correct and beneficial to everyone in SADC, COMESA, the East African Community, and the world at large.

With hindsight, we can now proclaim how great and visionary our leaders Chairman Mao, Mwalimu Nyerere and Dr. Kaunda were when they fought against all odds for the construction of TAZARA.

This commemoration is a clear mark of a solid history of collaboration, cooperation and solidarity between and amongst the three nations of China, Tanzania and Zambia.

This commemoration demonstrates how TAZARA has enhanced development amongst the three nations.

This commemoration is a great inspiration for the future.

Allow me to praise the Communist Party of China for the commendable policies over the years, which have demonstrated true friendship and solidarity to the people of Africa, and the people of Tanzania and Zambia in particular.

At 35 years, TAZARA is still seen and appreciated as a great symbol that espouses that friendship and solidarity.

On behalf of the government of the Republic of Zambia, allow me to simply reiterate our commitment to this railway, which we dearly value as a true measure of the friendship with China and Tanzania.

I believe that TAZARA's true potential is yet to be realised but am convinced that with the right measure of support from all of us, we have a capable Management that will steer TAZARA in the right direction.

Thank you

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