Fellow citizens, first and foremost, the United Party for National Development [UPND] recognises that the Jubilee Anniversary is an important national event that transcends political party affiliation. It is for all Zambians. This is an opportunity as citizens to spend some time and indulge in serious, deep national reflection. We shall commemorate but not celebrate this Jubilee.
Let me on behalf of UPND pay tribute to the gallant freedom fighters who sacrificed all to give birth to our independence. The late Godwin Mbikusita Lewanika, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, Kapasa Makasa, Nalumino Mundia, Lawrence Katilungu, Humphrey Mulemba, Mainza Chona, Mama Julia Chikamoneka, Munukayumbwa Sipalo and Dr. Peter Matoka, Solomon Kalulu, Mungoni Liso and many other gallant sons and daughters of mother Zambia, some alive like Mr. Grey Zulu, Samuel Mbilishi and Dr. Kenneth Kaunda. To these and others we owe our political freedom.
Special tribute is due to the leaders who have borne the burden of being Presidents of this great Republic. Our founding father, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, a distinguished freedom fighter, Frederick Chiluba a distinguished and fearless Trade Unionist, Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, a renowned lawyer , Rupiah B. Banda, a distinguished diplomat and now President Michael Chilufya Sata. Each of these in their own way have contributed to building the foundation upon which Zambia has stood in the past fifty (50) years.
Fellow Countrymen and women, at such a time as this, it is important to note that the 50 years is not about a political party such as UPND, MMD and PF. There is only one Zambia. This is the Zambia whose fifty (50) years we are all commemorating. It is the Zambia that we hope future generations will celebrate a hundred years and beyond. No single human being can be greater than our country.
We commemorate but do not celebrate this event? Here are our Reasons in UPND
To commemorate is to remember and observe an event. To celebrate is to rejoice and have fun.
Since the PF came to power on a platform of lies and deceit the country has witnessed repression, violations of fundamental human rights, freedoms and liberties, biased media coverage, Police brutality, political violence, destruction of the rule of law by the PF thereby effectively hampering operations of opposition political parties in the country. For instance, I, Hakainde Hichilema, a citizen of Zambia, is a virtual prisoner as my freedom of movement has been curtailed by the police and PF thugs. I am in and out of Police cells and prison. I am on court bail now.
1.0 PF Repression and Police Brutality
The Police under the instruction of the PF have blocked and even arrested opposition political party leaders for attempting to hold political rallies and closed door meetings.
The application of the Public Order Act by the PF Government is the source of repression and Police brutality.
PF has undermined the Rule of Law. It has occasionally gone so far as to disregard High or Supreme Court decisions and has deported innocent persons or expropriated business interests from lawful owners to empower PF cronies. In this regard, even the judiciary has come under threat and its independence has been seriously compromised
We shall cite incidents to show that democracy is under threat by the PF. These incidents show that the police have violated the freedom of expression and right to assembly.
- Opposition Presidents of NAREP and FDD had their indoor meetings disrupted in Kitwe and Ndola respectively.
- Nevers Mumba of MMD was prevented from meeting Chief Nkana and was arrested.
- Father Frank Bwalya of ABZ was hounded out of radio Chengelo in Kitwe and Chibuku was poured on him by PF cadres.
- Bishops and other citizens at BIGOCA Church were beaten up by PF cadres whilst in church where they had gathered to discuss the state of the nation
- My Party Chairman Hon Mutale Nalumango and two others were humiliated at Titanic Guest House in Chinsali, Muchinga Province when they were invaded and whipped by PF thugs in June this year.
- In January, 2012, members of the United Party for National Development (UPND) who were organizing a rally in Kanyama sanctioned by the High Court after refusals by the Police were attacked and severely beaten by Zambia Police which dispersed the rally.
- In June, 2012, Zambia Police descended on a peaceful demonstration by UPND Youths in Kanyama who were against the presence in Zambia of Malawian Judge Chikopa and severely beat them up on Lagos Road in Lusaka.
- During the Livingstone by-election in 2013, PF Youths attacked UPND campaigners at their camp and then using the Press, framed up UPND. Police, in spite of knowing the truth moved in to beat up and incarcerate UPND members and leaders.
- When I was on a Party mission to the Eastern Province with written Police approval in March 2014, the Police on instruction from higher authorities cancelled this approval and acting with PF cadres began to disrupt UPND rallies in the Province, and beat up innocent people attending the meetings. In the interest of peace, I cut short this programme.
- In early April 2014, I again came under physical attack by PF thugs while I was at Sun Radio in Ndola, on the Copperbelt. The PF thugs who were heavily armed raided the radio station with intent to kill me. The Press carried this report.
- The nation was stunned in June, 2014 when Police put up a barrier across the road in Mongu to prevent me from paying a courtesy call on the Litunga of Western Province. Furthermore, police cancelled my radio programme at the Community Radio Station.
2.0 Land Grabbing
Land grabbing by PF cadres, often tolerated by the police has become common, leading to the breakdown of the rule of law in the land tenure system. The population is traumatised by frequent violent attacks of land owners by PF cadres. A few examples are as follows:-
- State security men shot and killed Kampasa villagers East of Lusaka in June 2013 who had lived on their land for the last 50 years in Chongwe. No one has been apprehended.
- A former Member of Parliament, Hon Chella was killed in Kitwe last year when persons alleged to be PF members attacked him over his farm.
- In Lusaka West, a life was lost at Mr. Lisulo’s farm when persons suspected to be PF members invaded the farm with intentions to subdivide and share plots among themselves in March this year.
3.0 The Plight of the People
I have gone round this country and have seen the resilience of the Zambians. I have seen our fellow citizens struggle to extricate themselves from the jaws of poverty.
I have seen families sacrificing the little they have to ensure that one of their kith and kin gets an education.
I have seen families sell their assets to get their relatives to secondary school, college or university.
I have come across people who walk long distances to get water. I have seen farmers sleep in the open struggling to get markets for their produce. When they sell their produce to state institutions, payments have not been timely to the extent that by the time they have received their payments, inflation will have eroded whatever value was inherent in the payment.
I have come face to face with people of all ages who have lost their lives needlessly due to lack of medical facilities. This state of affairs, in the words of Nelson Mandela, is not natural, it is man-made and therefore man can do something to address this sad state of affairs.
4.0 Lack of economic freedoms
We acknowledge that Zambians got political freedoms and independence. But 50 years down the line, the people are still suffering economically and battling to get economic independence and freedoms. Can a person who is hungry celebrate? Can students who have been thrown out of school due to non-payment of school fees rejoice? Can patients that have not been treated due to lack of medicines in hospitals celebrate? Can anyone wallowing in poverty and failing to afford mealie-meal rejoice and think it’s part of having fun? Can a worker whose salary has been frozen rejoice?
We think it is unreasonable to celebrate poverty. It is a waste of tax-payers money to hold big parties and enjoy ourselves in the midst of poverty. This should not be a time for merry making but serious reflection on what has happened to us in the last 50 years.
5.0 Wage Freeze
We find it difficult to celebrate this Jubilee when the workers of Zambia are, through the wage freeze being subjected to poverty and misery. The wage freeze is a violation of the workers’ rights. Lest we forget, it is the workers of this country who in the 1930s set in motion a trend of industrial actions giving rise to political aspirations which culminated in an organized political struggle for independence without which this Jubilee would not have been. Throughout the struggle, the workers through their trade unions fought side by side with their brothers and sisters on the political front.
Let me touch on a subject that is very close to my heart and that of all Zambians — the constitution. The Constitution is the foundation upon which all pillars of good governance are founded. Our country needs a people driven Constitution. We need a constitution that will protect the rights of the people, one that will give people the power to call on leaders to account for their actions, which will ensure that the country is governed in a transparent and accountable manner. One that will ensure institutionalism and not reliance on a benevolent leadership. I as an individual and the UPND, are committed to a people driven Constitution. We demand that now.
The people are tired of being cheated over the constitution. There were so many commissions of inquiry over the constitution such as the Chona, Mvunga, Mwanakatwe and Mung’omba Commission. The views of the people were later reinforced through the Chifumu Banda led National Constitutional Conference (NCC) and the latest Annel Silungwe led Technical Committee on the constitution. PF is refusing to release the Draft Constitution. We demand that as we commemorate 50 years of independence, the Draft Constitution should be released to the public this week. We thank the church, civil society through the Grand Coalition for being good partners.
- The freedoms and rights fought for by our forefathers, and the anchor upon which the Jubilee has been founded have been violated and abused by the PF Government. That is why we have refused to celebrate. In the spirit of the Jubilee, these dictatorial acts and behaviour must come to an end and we must as a people open a new democratic chapter for our country. Failure to do so would be in violation of the Jubilee spirit, and a perpetuation of evil. Those who stand against these principles will be swept away by the Jubilee…… into the dustbin of history. We shall not wine and dine to celebrate the Jubilee. Instead, we shall commemorate the Jubilee by reflecting and observing what has happened to our country.
- The PF have taken us 50 years backwards to make us start fighting for political freedom. We have to start fighting for freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of assembly, the right to property, and freedom of expression. So what is there to celebrate if we have to start afresh fighting for freedoms. They are also taking us backwards in our fight to liberate ourselves from economic bondage. They have imposed a wage freeze. They have denied us our right to more money in the pocket. We are back to economic slavery. After PF is kicked out, it will be meaningful to celebrate political, economic and social freedoms and democracy. We conclude that only removal of the PF dictatorship during the next polls will be the surest way of guaranteeing restoration of order and sanity in the nation. The PF will never recant its reign of terror. May all who care please help.
- All suspects currently appearing in court or already convicted of politically motivated crimes should be released. For example, Journalists Clayson Hamasaka and Chanda Chimba and Hon Jonas Shakafuswa should be freed to mark Jubilee commemoration.
- All freedom fighters should be put on a long life pension or social security scheme.
- The Public Order Act should be repealed or amended to reflect modern democratic value.
- The Penal Code should be amended to remove sections that impend freedom of expression such as that relating to publication of false news with intent to cause alarm and fear to the public as well as criminalising the defamation of the President, and being in possession of seditious material which is currently suppressing people’s freedoms.
I thank you.