Lungu touts debt-ridden infrastructure investment as his legacy

Tuesday August 24 2021
Zambia's outgoing President Edgar Lungu.

Zambia's outgoing President Edgar Lungu (centre) at a past function. PHOTO | AFP


Outgoing Zambian leader Edgar Lungu on Monday bade farewell to his countrymen, while saying that his legacy is his administration’s massive investment in infrastructure.

However, these infrastructure projects have become a source of concern after debt rose significantly, sometimes causing delayed servicing.

Lungu is leaving office officially on Tuesday as President-elect Hakainde Hichilema, who beat him in the August 12 elections, is sworn into office in a ceremony that will be attended by regional leaders.

The incumbent’s embarrassing defeat was partly attributed to Zambia’s ballooning debt to countries such as China that gave the government massive loans to build infrastructure.

Some Zambians feel that the infrastructure will turn into white elephants due to the economic slump.

“Tomorrow I leave office with a sense of pride, proud of the many achievements that my government scored in the past 10 years under the leadership of our President Michael Sata, and when I took over the reins,” President Lungu said in the farewell speech on Monday.


“Most of these achievements are cast in concrete and cannot be erased now or in the near future.

“Posterity will look at the infrastructure we have built across the country with gratitude. That is a legacy we leave with you.

“Today I look back at our 10 years in office with satisfaction, our failures notwithstanding. 

“Yes, there are things we could have done better, but I’m happy that in many aspects, we leave behind a better country.”