United Party for National Development (UPND) yesterday shunned Labour Day celebrations in Lusaka. Among the political parties that participated in the celebrations was the ruling Patriotic Front, Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), National Restoration Party (NAREP), UNIP, New Revolution Party (NRP) and the Zambia Direct Democracy Movement (ZDDM).
However, despite UPND shunning the national celebrations, several parastatals and private companies added colour to the event, which was graced by President Edgar Lungu as they took part in the match past that lasted for more than two hours.
PF secretary general Davies Chama said the party would not politicise such national events, but would continue praying for the opposition leaders so that they, in future, could consider attending national events.
NRP leader Cosmo Mumba said it was unfortunate that some political parties decided not to attend the national event despite being invited.
Dr Mumba said it was high time that political parties in Zambia realised that such events were not for any political party, but were national events that required everyone’s participation.
He appealed to the opposition parties to take such national events seriously.
However, despite the absence of UPND at the event, its president Hakainde Hichilema thanked the people of Zambia for their continued hard work and contribution to the country’s economy.
Mr Hichilema said in his statement that the International Labour Day was a time “to celebrate and give thanks to all those who work tirelessly to make this nation great and provide for their families.”
He said all labour that uplifted humanity had dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.
Mr Hichilema said he personally held the values of hard work and dedication close to his heart because it was only through such that true success was possible and could bring an end to poverty and inequality in the country.
He said times were tough for Zambian workers and there was urgent need to tackle unemployment head-on so as not to let a whole generation down.
“As president of the UPND, I am fully committed to empowering Zambians and this means creating an economic environment for more jobs, providing greater protection of workers’ rights, reforming education,” Mr Hichilema said.
Mr Hichilema thanked the workers for their hard work to provide the country with food, water, power, roads, healthcare and education.