Senior Citizens and Freedom Fighters Comment on the Prevailing Political Situation in Zambia

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President Edgar Lungu Talks to a young Patient at Namwala Disrict Hospital on Staturday - Picture By Eddie Mwanaleza/statehouse. 13-2-2016.
President Egar Lungu

POSITION PAPER BY EMINENT PERSONS, SENIOR CITIZENS AND FREEDOM FIGHTERS ON THE PREVAILING POLITICAL SITUATION IN OUR COUNTRY.

PREAMBLE

We, the Eminent Persons, Senior Citizens and Freedom Fighters from various parts of this country, consider it our patriotic duty to add our voices to the grave concerns being expressed by others on the current prevailing political situation in our country. We find the current political situation unhealthy, unpleasant and a threat to the very foundation of our country’s core values.

Our decision to speak out comes in view of our unparalleled participation in nation building and coupled with our vast experience and knowledge of this nation from the time of its conception, birth and growth. Some of us have also been involved in promoting peace in other countries faced with similar political dilemmas.

CONCERNS

We are here not to impose any solution to the current political stand-off, but to suggest alternatives that may be helpful to bridge the widening political divide currently obtaining in Zambia. We are convinced that Zambia’s problems can be handled and resolved by Zambians themselves and if need be, by applying other African solutions such as the SADC TROIKA for Politics, Defence and Security; the AU Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution; and the Zambia Center for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID).

From the onset, we want to recognise and acknowledge the concerns expressed by our Churches, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), the International Community and other eminent persons on the current political situation. Their messages on this issue have been loud and clear which now require practical action from the powers that be rather than glossing over these concerns.

To this end, we, the Eminent Persons, Senior Citizens and Freedom Fighters have noted with great concern the political divisions, discrimination based on regions, tribal and political associations not only in the political arena but even at work places to an extent that many innocent people have been retired or fired in the national interest!! just for perceived exercise of their rights to political and tribal association.

We have also noted the increasing intolerance and disrespect in our society and the declining and shrinking democratic, political, civic, and media spaces in our country and hereby wish to express our resolve to speak out whenever such vices emerge because we have realised that our continued silence on such matters has actually encouraged these democratic ills. The continuous political tension that has engulfed our country after the 2016 General Elections largely exacerbated by the failure of the Constitutional Court to hear the Presidential Petition filed by the aggrieved political parties, has created the potential to risk our country’s peace and stability.

We also want to express great concern on the breakdown of the rule of law, the absence of separation of powers among the three arms of state and constitutionalism in the country. This is visibly observed by the continued exhibition of impunity by some state institutions to disobey court orders as was recently the case in the Hakainde Hichilema and four others, which is currently in court.

In this incident the police disobeyed the Court Order to return seized property during the raid at Mr. Hichilema’s residence in Lusaka on April 10, 2017. The continued presence of heavily armed police with dogs at court grounds, whenever there is a high profile case not at the invitation of the Judiciary, but seemingly on instructions from the executive arm of the state.

We, the Eminent Persons, Senior Citizens and Freedom Fighters, wish to note with further consternation the increasing culture of fear and silence emerging among citizens on many national issues. This potentially threatens the country’s democracy, erodes the rule of law and grossly undermines good governance as a result of increasing state intimidation, suppression and intolerance of critical opinions which has scared away many citizens from effectively participating in national processes as well as the enjoyment of their birth rights and freedoms. These include such freedoms as the right to assembly, expression, movement and association. This, we feel, is contrary to the spirit and letter of our Republican Constitution, independence and freedom struggle and to the vision of our freedom fighters.

It is also our considered view that the recent judgment by the magistrate court in the case of using insulting language involving Mr. Hakainde Hichilema and others, is a cause for serious soul searching among the leadership of the Zambia Police Service and the National Prosecution Authority (NPA). The judgment has clearly exposed the incompetence and unprofessional conduct of some officers from the two institutions. The judgment has further brought to the fore the inherent credibility deficiencies of some of our men and women in uniform in the discharge of their duties. This judgment has brought a ray of hope in the independence and credibility of our judiciary, which is at its lowest ebb in terms of public confidence and trust.

We also note with serious concern that democratic centralism which started way back in the post-independence era, has continued to characterise our governance system leading to leadership deficiencies due to too much power deposited in the Presidency. This has led to state capture of citizens’ rights on one hand and executive capture of the other wings of government on the other. The continued abuse and misapplication of the Public Order Act (POA) as amended in 1996, has undermined the respect of the Bill of Rights by the State. The current misapplication and abuse of the Public Order Act is one of the clearest examples of the state capturing citizens’ rights. The continued existence of a one party dominated National Assembly on one hand has led to the arrogance of numbers resulting into the passage of laws that are non-user friendly to citizens on the other.

We also note that the state capture of the judiciary has led to passing of questionable court judgments as recently observed. The above scenario is one of the pointers of Executive domination. We want to reiterate our desire to see an independent, impartial, efficient and practical co-existence of the three arms of the state. In this regard, our purpose in this statement is also to present to the President as well as to demonstrate our sense of patriotism and national pride. We want Zambia to remain a shining example of a country in Africa firmly anchored on multiparty democracy and stability. We feel that this position paper is timely to prevent our country from slipping off its democratic credentials which have earned us international acclaim and cohesion. In the spirit of this national pride, we advise President Lungu, political parties and all citizens to scrupulously respect and uphold the Constitution, the Rule of Law and the Bill of Rights, if we are to maintain this national pride.

We also note that one of the causes of the democratic and leadership deficiencies in our governance system, has been the defective Constitution of 2016 and wish to advise that the Constitution be redone as a matter of urgency through a more inclusive, transparent, consultative and accountable process. The Constitution revisiting process must take a nationalistic approach, rather than that of narrow political interests which, in the past, have resulted in the delivery of a defective Constitution. It is through such a process that we shall arrive at a national consensus and agreement for the sake of the nation, present and future generations. Further, it is imperative that we move towards sustainable peace and stability in our country. We request all political parties, citizens and other stakeholders not to put pre-conditions to dialogue on national matters and further urge them to develop a selfless desire to find LOCAL SOLUTIONS to our national challenges through INCLUSIVE CONSULTATIVE PROCESSES.

THE WAY FORWARD

TO THIS END, we, the Eminent Persons, Senior Citizens and Freedom Fighters hereby;

1. URGE His Excellency, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the President of the Republic of Zambia to be a genuine bearer of a message of unity, patriotism for the love of the country by initiating GENUINE, UNCONDITIONAL and CONSTRUCTIVE dialogue between himself and his political opponent, United Party for National Development (UPND) leader, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema and his party. We are of the view that such dialogue will relax tensions among warring political party sympathisers and supporters thereby promote peace and stability in our nation. We do not want President Edgar C. Lungu and UPND President Mr. Hakainde Hichilema to regard each other as enemies but mere political opponents, because this is what democracy demands.

2. We further URGE him to release UPND leader, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema as a prelude to peace and national reconciliation, together with other political prisoners like Hon Obvious Mwaliteta among others, currently being held at various detention and other correctional facilities across the country immediately;

3. We REAFFIRM our resolve to pursue and preach NATIONAL UNITY across regions, tribes and political affiliations of citizens and in addition call for respect of democratic tenets such as freedom of assembly, expression, opinion and association in the governance of this country from those entrusted with state power;

4. We CONFIRM and RE-AFFIRM our resolve to uphold the National Motto of “One Zambia, One Nation” which has served our country well since independence in October 1964.Hence our plea to President Lungu to promote conditions of oneness by releasing political prisoners and his brother, Mr. Hakainde Hichilema in furtherance of this Motto;

5. In addition, we APPEAL to President Lungu to censure divisive elements within his political party and government perpetuating tribal and political divisions in the country which are observable in their actions and utterances. We also appeal to UPND leader Mr. Hakainde Hichilema once released and other political party leaders to do the same.

6. Further, we URGE government to genuinely involve and consult citizens and stakeholders in addressing the current Constitutional lacunas without prejudice and also start the consultative process on the national referendum for the expanded Bill of Rights. We also call on government to exhibit genuine and practical steps aimed at reviewing the Public Order Act

7. And finally, we make an EARNEST APPEAL to President Lungu to honour and respect freedom fighters living and posthumously through the establishment and maintenance of Freedom Fighters’ Burial Sites for all freedom fighters such as Godwin Mbikusita-Lewanika, Lawrence Katilungu, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, Nalumino Mundia, Arthur Wina, Munukayumbwa Sipalo, Reuben Kamanga, Elijah Mudenda, Mainza Chona, Julia Chikamoneka, Mukwae Nakatindi Nganga, Solomon Kalulu, Omelo Mumba, Lewis Changufu, Mukuka Nkoloso, Mungoni Liso, Paul Kalichini, Kapasa Makasa, Zeniah Ndhlovu, Leah Hamusonde, Mathew Nkoloma, William Nkanza, Jethro Mutti, Mama Mary Fulano, Samuel Mbilishi, Maria Nankolongo, John Mwanakatwe, Peter Matoka, Fines Bulawayo, Andrew Mutemba, among others too many to mention here.

8. We are of the view that such an undertaking will display the diversity under which these freedom fighters operated when put at one resting place, It would further help the current and future generations to appreciate the sense of unity, patriotism and love these gallant men and women exhibited for the sake of mother Zambia regardless of their political, tribal, regional and social status. We are convinced that this will help bridge some of the emerging divisions in the country based on the aforementioned fault lines.

It is our sincere hope, trust and prayer that our serious concerns to President Lungu will be given the respect and due attention they deserve and further wish to state that we are available to meet with him through a selected delegation of five (5) persons from amongst our group in furtherance of these national objectives.

GOD BLESS THE REPUBLIC
AGREED AND SIGNED BY;
TUESDAY, 16TH MAY, 2017
LUSAKA.

NAME
1. Amb. Sketchley D. Sacika
2. Levy Chimpinde
3. Martin Jangulo
4. Amb Joe Mwale
5. Ompie Nkumbula Liebenthal
6. Dr. Shimwaayi Muntemba
7. Hon. Shuresh M. Desai
8. Amb. Amon Chibanda
9. Amb. Lily A.W Monze
10. Dr. Vernon. J Mwaanga
11. Brig.Gen. Dr. Brian Chituwo
12. Dr Michael M. Mabenga
13. Mr. Willard Ntalasha

62 COMMENTS

  1. +12
    -32
    vote

    These citizens are frustrated and don not have a voice of reason.

    They are past their sell by date.

    This is a new era and Lungu should ignore them for all it’s worth.

    Thanks

    BB2014,2016

    • +20
      -4
      vote

      This message is straight from the Lord above. You dont need visions or dreams to recognize that the Lord Almighty has spoken through these men. I wont add or subtract anything from this article. How I wish the Ministry of Religion and our other Church leaders would initiate such a stand for peace and reconciliation in the country.

      God bless Zambia.

    • +3
      -9
      vote

      Eminent? Who says? You just work up ine moment and call yourself an eminent person.

    • +4
      -6
      vote

      If HH becomes president, then you shall enjoy your peace, otherwise forget! We will make Zambia ungovernable.

    • 0
      -1
      vote

      If only there was a listener on the other side. PF is not a listening party. But some day they will.

    • +5
      -6
      vote

      And they have deliberately avoided one resolution: We urge HH to recognize HE ECL as the duly elected president of Zambia and that ECL is currently the president of this country. Why? So these citizens do not see anything wrong in HH and the southern province continues refusal to acknowledge that this country has a president! These citizens do not know that in Southern province ECL portrait is not being hug in some offices, even Government offices? And they do not see any problem with that! The names again are predominantly UPND inclined and this is cause for more alarm. Why can’t these suggestions be on both parties? Why is ECL so unwanted by these tribes?

  2. +9
    -18
    vote

    This is very disappointing coming from the so called Senior Citizens and you surely would expect a more neutral statement looking at a global picture than this narrow view projected here.

    Being senior citizens, these so called EMINENT persons should have realised that like a coin, every issue has multiple sides and made an effort to address things from that context. You can’t discount the fact that LUngu won hands down in 7 provinces and that is why PF has the majority in Parliament. That is solid ground PF is standing on.

    I expected these senior citizens to ask their HH to recognise that unconditionally as well. HH is setting conditions here. Let his case be heard before he can recognise. That is a condition

    And you as citizens failed to see that.

    Shame

    • +10
      -16
      vote

      I hate agreeing with you but you couldn’t have put this more eloquently.

      Thanks

      BB2014,2016

    • vote

      @mushota stop thinking like an animal and for once reason like a human being… u are the same beneficiary’s of our money which the so called political fools are stealing from Zambia and just because you have people in government helping you it does not mean you should also stop thinking. useless fool..

  3. +13
    -4
    vote

    Who ever you are , or pays you dis-respective uncultured girl, so called schooled , which ever useless school you went to or are , have respect to these people who made the Zambian you are enjoying and its not for afew criminals in the name being what ever party. Ask Kaunda , this wise men they fought a white man , so we not allow anybody in what ever name or position to destroy Zambia .

    All issues raised are true and factual, so let the wise hear , otherwise God in heaven is listening and shall judge fairly at the right time, that is the way God works , so wit and see. Concerned citizen

    • +7
      -3
      vote

      Thank you edwin zulu.Hope mushota has heard.she grew up without manners…w.h.o.l.e!

  4. +13
    -3
    vote

    Every sensible Zambian that wants the best for the Zambian people and future generations will agree to this and support it wholeheartedly.

    Those disagreeing are only interested in their own selfish greed.

    This should be the position of EVERY PATRIOTIC ZAMBIAN!

    • +2
      -2
      vote

      Thank you edwin zulu.Hope mushota has heard.she grew up without manners…w.h.o.l.e!

  5. +6
    -11
    vote

    rubbish one sided demands…how about making some demands on the incarcerated one to tone it down? how about asking him to tame his language? calling a president chimbwi? is that particularly supposed to ease the tension? be NEUTRAL you so called senior or else you will be shanted off into the dustbin of political scoundrels

  6. +4
    -6
    vote

    Civil war is around the corner. It feels calm in Zambia right now, but the outcome of treason charge will be a different story. Chagwa is going to seek refugee in Malawi, Zimbabwe, Uganda. I don’t if he will be welcomed in Tanzania because Magufuli is busy working. I am afraid that people will be going to door to door asking about the political party you belong to and if you are not in the same bandwagon, it will be the end of your life. I am scared that our families will be displaced due to civil war.
    My question is, are you ready to be a refugee?

    • +6
      -3
      vote

      Mushota is refugee enjoying Scotland, thanks to William Wallace. Nick keep paneling that refugee in duodenal.

    • +5
      -10
      vote

      These are retired people with retired minds

      Like an old computer they dont’ function properly

      They are windows 95, we are windows 8

      Thanks

      BB2014,2016

  7. 0
    -2
    vote

    Civil war is around the corner. It feels calm in Zambia right now, but the outcome of treason charge will be a different story. Chagwa is going to seek refugee in Malawi, Zimbabwe, or Uganda. His family will be safe. I don’t know if he will be welcomed in Tanzania because Magufuli is busy working. I am afraid that people will be going door to door asking about the political party you belong to and if you are not in the same bandwagon, it will be the end of your life. I am scared that our families will be displaced due to civil war.
    My question is, are you ready to be a refugee?

  8. +2
    -4
    vote

    I think people are giving much attention to the attention seeker prostitute mushota. Please try to ignore her/him because she/he does not add any value. I don’t understand her/his language.

  9. +4
    0
    vote

    I agree with Rozzo indeed one sided not even one single word to Curb HH of his behaviour. anyway what can we hear from one tribe.

  10. +2
    -2
    vote

    Don’t argue with these senior citizens, you were not there.

    This scenario of having dogs around the court house has reminded them of those colonial dark days when dogs would be set on them, in other developed countries dogs are now used for rescue operations, here in dark Africa they are still a symbol of oppression, why are we always behind? This mushota should ask his Scottish boyfriend what William Wallace had to go through, for him to have a flourish Scotland.

  11. +4
    -1
    vote

    Comment:
    Oh, most if not all these relics are members and affiliates of Icilema and his UPND, not worthy any meaningful attention or consideration.

  12. +1
    -2
    vote

    Lovely statement; But the comments section shows once again that democracy is bad if you have a majority of ****** in the populace.
    Worse still; some cadre will be allowed to issue a statement attacking the people who have raised this voice of reason

  13. +2
    -4
    vote

    Lungu should listen to the voices of Reason from the Catholic Bishops, Foreign and Domestic Dignatories, GGI,EU Parliament, Senior Citizens, Statements from the Western govts etc and Release HH unconditionally and resolve the cause of the Disputed and Petitioned Election. The Petition must be heard in Court and a Winner declared Duly Elected President. Arresting and imprisoning the Petitioners will not work. The International Community will soon slap Sanctions on Lungu and his Criminal Advisers and ICC will indicte Lungu and his friends to the Hague for committing crimes against humanity. Lungu can ignore these voices of Reason at his Peril. Crunch time for Lungu. Whatever he does on Monday 22 May 2016 will determine the future of Zambia. Taking HH to Mukobeko Prison or keeping him in…

  14. +3
    -3
    vote

    This Mushota is Kaminamisa incognito. Busy responding to all the articles instead of running the country, or are u just a hired uneducated ******** of Kaminanisa. Revile yourself you u Unpatriotic, unemployed, dunderhead of a migrant.

  15. +6
    0
    vote

    Trump is having it rough in the USA with the democrats not accepting him as their president but Hillary conceded defeat in the general election although there are speculations that the Russians influenced the results. Key point is, Hillary conceded defeat. As for the Zambian scenario, how can EL initiate dialogue with someone who doesn’t recognize him as republican president? It is so difficulty! There should be humility on the opposition’s part. EL warned us that he ‘carries a big stick’ with him and such provocative situations makes him use it.

  16. +4
    -3
    vote

    My foot!
    So this is what the so-called eminent Zambians can offer as conciliatory counsel?

    Good advice must never be one-sided. They urge the President to open wide the gates of dialogue, but they fail to urge Hakainde to recognise and honour the man who is custodian of Instruments of Power, not even tentatively in principle.

    The so-called eminent people need to do critical thinking before issuing a statement to the nation.

    It will be a great relief to hear the named persons denying that they are party to the document.

  17. +2
    -2
    vote

    Sachika and VJ are 200% UPND. Ignore the AIDS devastated ******.

    Keep their god ka hh locked up until 2026

    Who cares.

  18. +2
    -1
    vote

    To mock your elders is to wreck the house where you have to stay tonight.
    The words of the elderly are as sweet as honey, but if you do not listen they become as sour as bile..

    • +1
      0
      vote

      You want us to believe these elders are infallible, glaringly not. Blasted elders with vested interests, that’s what they are.

  19. +2
    0
    vote

    The elders of a community are the voice of God.
    Those who respect the elderly pave their own road toward success..

    • +1
      0
      vote

      These elders took a side and therein lies the problem with their credibility. No one will refuse honest counsel, not even ECL. But this one is so biased and opportunistic.

  20. +2
    -1
    vote

    1. What the elders see while sitting the young ones standing on their toes won’t see.
    2. An elder uses old eyes to see and so the young use young eyes.
    3. The words of the elders do not lock all the doors, they leave the right door open.
    4. What the elders see while sitting the young ones standing on their toes won’t see.
    5. The strength of the elderly is in the ears and on the lips.
    6. The mouth of an elderly man is without teeth, but never without words of wisdom
    7. The elderly, even if deaf and blind, still know a lot.
    8. The person who does not listen to an elder’s advice gets his or her leg broken..
    9. The person who does not listen to an elder’s advice gets his or her leg broken.

    • +1
      0
      vote

      This is ALL RIGHT in entirety. But unfortunately it doesn’t apply to these elders. They’re more of Freedom Fighters than elders. In this case, fighting for HH’s FREEDOMS.

  21. +1
    0
    vote

    1. A youth that does not cultivate friendship with the elderly is like a tree without roots.

    2. Youths talk first and then listen, the elderly listen and then talk.

    3. The youth walks faster than the elderly but the elderly knows the road.

    4. When an elder speaks, be silent and listen.

  22. +1
    0
    vote

    Oh so these elders are encouraging us to start stealing(Mwaliteta) and to break the Law like Hikande. OK let HH come into power we shall steal, destroy property, insult, break the law. He will surely fail to Govern and I mean it. Stand HH in 2021 and win the election you will see what will happen. UNGOVERNABLE,UNGOVERNABLE .

  23. +2
    -1
    vote

    These sentiments are from senile demented chaps. If the laws of the land are to be obeyed, why should those that are said to have gone against be released without being tried?
    Stop giving GRZ conditions that are not tenable, infact you people had provided fore-counsel to some politicians, we would not be where we are currently. Time for armchair philosophy is over, we need to set right course for our country now without any sacred cows.
    The current constitution may have lacunas that you mention but definitely cannot be addressed in the manner you prescribe because, all people were called to give input before the document went to parliament and consequential ascendence into law, but you stood aloof and wanted special invitations with financial attachments for you to participate like in…

    • +1
      0
      vote

      Hadn’t ECL not assented to it, they were going to cry the LOUDEST for the constitution. All in the name of their elderly and valuable submissions. Now they’re calling it names. Shame!

  24. 0
    -1
    vote

    What is political power which makes people become so ruthless and disregard other citizens and try and make them suffer so much? Politics is to serve and a make an improved difference in peoples lives – not to settle scores and see who the boss is. Wrong people are occupying our public offices. Only education will clean up the mess. Too much politics of the belly it seems, our representatives have lost all morals to challenge immorality.

  25. +1
    0
    vote

    A group of old UPND cadres, please tell your son to respect the sitting president. UPND was given a chance to file in the petition within 14days but they failed becouse they do not have proof that elections were stolen.so please make sure you term your son even as you ask for this dialogue to have manners becouse it seems the president is wrong to you.

  26. +1
    0
    vote

    This so-called group of eminent person’s consists of some suspicious characters with very shady backgrounds. This makes it difficult to believe that they are sincere in what they are saying. Just speaking.

  27. +1
    0
    vote

    All upnd carders, not a single moraly upright person to qualify as a freedom fighters. The president must leave this to party leadership to respond. Where is madam veep SG

  28. +1
    0
    vote

    These group of people calling themselves as senior citizen are too late to be Heroes.The president’s hands are tied.HH wishes and likes fighting for “the right to be Heard”maybe its time for Zambia to hear him out.All Zambians whether poor or rich lets respect our laws.We can do politics,differ in views about our country but within the confines of the law.One Zambia One set of laws for both rich and poor people.ELc careful it could be a setup for them to be saying you interfere with the judicially if you listen and release him(HH).Let courts do its job.

  29. +1
    0
    vote

    Old shallow minded UPND imminent cadres all tongas.tell your son that EL is the duly elected president and that he must stop masquerading himself like a president too.akafwila my chifungo chikamba chakwe.
    The best you can do is to advise and accept that we have one president ECL.not the rubbish you are saying.

  30. vote

    VJ remember that zambia is not your bedroom were you can propose anything and people accept noooo,try shalamwana she will accept coz that’s what u good at.

  31. +1
    0
    vote

    This is intimidating the government knowing that the court case comes up on Monday, 22 May 2017. Its not the President who releases suspects. The President can only release a convict.We have not heared the EMMINENT PERSONS admonish the opposition, does it mean they are approving of its stubborn and disrespectful conduct. Surely you can come up with a balanced presentation. IT`S ONE SIDED AND DONE AT A WRONG TIME.

  32. vote

    It is suppression and political intimidation on the citizens. The leadership of this country is sickening. They are not ready to listen to anyone. They don’t value advice.

    • vote

      Has HH heeded to the numerous good counsel of respecting the President and government administrative institutions? Isn’t that valuable advice?

  33. vote

    Sketchley Sachika did a good paper until Vernon Mwaanga edited it. Because VJ is easily bought he has forgotten that it takes two to tangle. One sided demands don’t make sense. People need to know consequences of their actions. The fired Tonga army officers knew what was coming when they were campaigning for HH. Even Intelligence and other wings were leaking info to their man, so they got what they asked for

    • vote

      Zambians donot prentend as we have always done , Zambia is really too divided than ever before and including global perception is true for all as they see it , even the invitation of the EU for those SH meetings does not hold water at all. This is that the truth is in the public domeni , so I would advise the President to take charge and not get any wrong Political advise from these wrong boys who have no heart . Note that we need to resolve issues , as bad people are every day dividing the nation every minute starting with the Civil service more less nonfunctional and more politicized than ever before .

      So please be sober and never use call tribes and names here , for example iam not any tribe ,but Zambian and Africa that is what iam , with Lozis as my cusins from the opposite side…

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