By Nation Reporter
PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu has directed the National Heritage Conservation Commission (NHCC) through the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs to declare more sites in the country as national monuments and open these sites to the public.
President Lungu says that this was in order to stimulate rural development as most of these sites were found in chiefdoms.
In a speech read on his behalf by Chiefs and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister John Kufuna to mark the first ever commemoration of World Heritage Day in Zambia held at the Victoria Falls in Livingstone on Thursday. President Lungu said that his government recognises the fact that heritage sites provide opportunities for tourism especially waterfalls that attract a number of tourists and socio-economic developments.
“Since most of the heritage sites are located in the rural parts of the country, they have the potential of reducing rural poverty through the creation of employment opportunities. I am aware that Zambia has a total of 4, 052 cultural and natural heritage sites.
“My government understands that Mosi-oa-Tunya world heritage site helps to place Zambia on the world map. Its outstanding universal value comprising the superlative aesthetic beauty and exceptional geomorphologic process which form the zig-zag pattern of the gorges makes the site outstanding worldwide,” he said.
Mr. Lungu has further urged the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs to ensure that both the policy and legislation are provided for participation of local communities, vulnerable groups and the private sector to stimulate rural development and the creation of the sustainable jobs.
“I am aware that the national heritage conservation commission is reviewing the heritage Conservation Act of 1989 and is in the process of finalising the policy whose process started in 2009. As we do this, let us remember our role in ensuring that African world heritage sites such as the Mosi-oa-Tunya falls are preserved for many years to come,” he said.
“My government is celebrating this heritage because it strengthens our nationhood and accentuates our common humanity by recognising the need to forge unity through common dignity, self-worth and the esteem of each citizen,” he said.
Mr. Lungu has also urged Zambians to be tourists of their own beautiful country, adding that the country offers a diversity and abundance of cultural and natural sites that encapsulate both the beauty and history of the nation.