UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has demanded that the Times of Zambia retracts an article in which he was quoted as having blasted a traditional leader in Southern Province for hosting PF Secretary General Davies Chama and greeting him in Bemba.
The article in today’s Sunday Times alleges that Mr Hichilema blasted Chieftainess Mweenda of Chikantanta for welcoming Patriotic Front Secretary General Davies Chama and taking time to speak to him in Bemba.
It said that Mr Hakainde phoned Chief Hamusonde of Monze in the presence of his team and complained that it was shameful that certain Chiefs in Southern Province are welcoming Bembas and even taking time to speak the language.
But Mr Hichilema has issued a statement in which he is demanding for a retraction from the Times of Zambia within 24 Hours failure to which he will sue the newspaper.
He has also advised Journalists to be mindful and never be used in such issues as any litigation the UPND is taking will also affect their professional careers and reputation permanently.
Below is Mr Hichilema’s statement in full.
27th December 2015
The PF leadership through it’s Secretary General Davies Chama are again back with their usual tribal and unproductive remarks of wanting to divide our united and peaceful people of Zambia using government media that is paid for by taxpayers.
It is clear that they are losing the coming elections and the only way they hope to survive is by cheating and promoting hate speech such as old and tired tribal debate, while hoodwinking Zambians that they champion One Zambia One Nation.
It is really low thinking and utterly childish to hope to remain in national leadership through dividing our peaceful people using government propaganda through the so called fictitious and imaginary sources.
We have not encouraged any Chief from Southern Province or anywhere in the country not to be visited by any people from other ethinc groupings, including Chama despite having insulted people of other ethnic groupings because we believe Zambia is one.
What Chama needs know is that people from of all ethnic groupings have homes and investment in Southern Province, while others are even village headmen and that’s how every other province is and must continue to be.
We do not appreciate Chama’s limited thinking and his awkward way of looking at citizens only in terms of ethnicity, going by his recent and continued derogatory remarks against other groupings.
Chama should not drag the rest of us into his mess.
It is so shameful that a supposedly professional newspaper such as Times of Zambia and other government media can engage in total and malicious fabrications.
And in a well orchestrated move, this is the same newspaper that was used against us in the January elections who quoted Bishop Chomba alleging that we are involved in underground evil things, the matter that is still in courts of law.
We also challenge journalists from government media to please give us space as well and be professional enough by getting the views from the people you are being used to insult and demean.
While the PF leadership are being given all the space to travel around the country, including Davies Chama’s recent tour of Southern Province, we are being teargassed, beaten and severely restricted by the biased police and PF thugs.
Therefore our travels are being hampered by the archaic Public Order Act, thereby limiting us from explaining our positions to Zambians across the country.
From the information we have, PF wants to draw us in all sorts of character assassination and unfounded propaganda, in an attempt to draw discussion away from the real issues affecting our people such as unemployment, job loses, high cost of living, high cost of fertiliser and other inputs for farmers, powercuts, high cost of electricity, depreciating Kwacha, etc.
We call on journalists to be mindful and never be used in such issues as any litigation we are taking will also affect their professional careers and reputation permanently.
For now we demand an immediate retraction of the attributed article in the Times of Zambia within 24 hours. Failure to which we reserve the right to take any remedial action.