Members of the Central committee of the Patriotic Front, Provincial and District officials, Honourable Members of Parliament, The former First Lady, Madam Christine Kaseba, members of the Sata Family,
distinguished guests and fellow comrades.
We gather here like we have always done in the last six years to honour the memory and celebrate the life of His Excellency, President Michael Chilufya Sata, the gallant founding President of the Patriotic Front Party.
But we also come here not just to honour and celebrate the legacy of this great son of the soil, we also come to renew our hopes and commitment to the very virtues, principles and ideals that President Sata embodied. We therefore must use this occasion as a mirror to judge ourselves of how best we are doing our part, individually and collectively to ensure that the dream of our founding father, the dream of a United, Democratic and more Prosperous Zambia is kept alive.
President Sata was many things to different people: to some he was the tough disciplinarian fondly known as King Cobra; to others he was this gentle loving, jovial daddy, husband and granddaddy, however, regardless of the type of relation one shared with him, there is no debate that this is a man who was a true Patriot, an honest and straightforward man who was a passionate defender and steward of the poor and marginalised in society. He was a spokesperson for poor workers who had no one to bargain for their rights and conditions of service; he spoke and fought for that student who had grades but not the money to pursue his or her dream of pursuing university education; he fought for that poor mother selling groundnuts and tomatoes on the side walk of the road in the heat of a scorching sun and yes he spoke for that young man selling airtime on the streets. The values and principles of love , honesty, selflessness, community service and hard-work is what defined ba Sata and yes these are the same values and principles that form the cornerstone of our Party, the Patriotic Front.
Fellow comrades, distinguished ladies gentlemen, time May ease the pain and emptiness of losing President Sata but time will never erase the memories and lessons that this great man passed to all of us. No matter what calamity or difficult that may befall us, we shall hold on to the vision and spirit of bashi Chilufya.
Today, we find comfort in our broken hearts knowing that we as the Patriotic Front while in Government worked tirelessly to fulfil some of the key social and economical milestones that His Excellency President Micheal Chilufya Sata had embarked on: we built roads, bridges, airports, schools, hospitals, colleges and universities across the breadth and width of our great country, leaving no one behind. We laid a firm foundation for social and economic prosperity for all by pushing a momentous and ambitious infrastructure development agenda. Today, with just a tap on the screen of a phone, a farmer is able to purchase his farming inputs because he has access to a robust communication network; today a grand mother in a tiny village of Mugubudu doesn’t have to worry about the absence of a bank because she can receive money for her food from her grand daughter in Mufulira at a nearby mobile booth. Today, many of the people are connected to the national electricity grid or they have at least got access to alternative sources of energy, which is the blood line of industrialisation, job creation and poverty reduction.
Yes, we have made mistakes in our line of duty, yes we have at times come short of our people’s expectations and yes we have at times broken their trust and for that we render our sincere APOLOGIES. In the same vein, we want to assure all our people that we have done an honest self introspection and we have reformed our hearts and minds and that we shall emerge stronger and better.
President Sata was a very unique and generous person. He taught us to love one another; to share the little we have. He taught us to be each other’s keeper and work and sacrifice not for ourselves but for those that look to us for help and guidance. We must always strive to hold on to these same virtues each day we live. We must put service to others above service to personal gratification. We should not use multi-party politics to divide ourselves in to regions and tribes, create a wedge between ourselves and those on the other side of the political divide because before we are PF, or FDD, or UNIP or UPND we are Zambians first. We should therefore learn that in a democracy we can’t all agree but we must not be disagreeable; even when you don’t agree with your opponent, you must recognise the fact that your opponent reserve an inalienable and constitutional right to freely express oneself and to without any prejudice or fear of retribution freely belong any political association of thier choice.
Through his trials and through his triumphs, President Sata taught us one valuable leadership lesson: we are not masters but servants of the people; it doesn’t matter how big and powerful the trappings of power might seem, the people and not the leaders are the masters. Therefore we must always serve the people with humility, dignity and honesty for they are the true masters of this country.
As I come to my conclusion, I want to say something directly to members and leaders of the mighty Patriotic Front; the Party of President Sata and the Party of choice for millions of Zambians: colleagues, there is no better way to honour the memory of this gallant son of the soil than pursuing and promoting the very values and principles that shaped his life; we must never ever let PF die. No matter the circumstances, PF must live and arise. PF is the mass movement for all Zambians and it is not for sell to the highest bidder. This not a time for small talk and petty squabbles; this is not a time for blame game and unending lamentations. This is a time for love, unity and fellowship. We must never let our momentary loss and disappointment to define our future, the future of this great party and indeed this hallowed nation. There are more lessons in defeat than in victory. We must use those lessons to build even a more dynamic, more resourceful and far reaching organisation.
The time has come for the leadership of the Patriotic Front to take stock of ourselves and ask ourselves the tough but honest questions. The time has come for some of us to accept the fact that we have done our part and it is time to give way to a new generation of leaders, leaders that will build on our collective glory and take this Party even to greater heights.
In the words of President Micheal Chilufya Sata, natutemwane.
May the soul of President Micheal Chilufya Sata continue to rest in eternal peace.
I thank you