Freedom fighters in Luapula province have attributed the lack of tangible development in the region to corruption.
Luapula Province Freedom Fighters Secretary, Johnson Mulenga, observes that there is very little which has been done in Luapula in terms of development due to some selfish leaders who just concentrated on enriching themselves at the expense of the poor people.
Speaking during the commemoration of this year’s Africa Freedom day in Mansa, Mr Mulenga said some political leaders who originate from Luapula have the habit of neglecting the area and just focus on enriching themselves.
He said it is saddening that the province has continued to lag behind in terms of development when it has had leaders who served in very high portfolios in the country.
“The leaders we are having nowadays are those who are just concerned with amassing wealth for themselves as opposed to serving the people who put them in those offices,” said Mr. Mulenga.
He observed that it would have been difficult to attain the freedom which the country is enjoying today if those who fought for independence had selfish motives.
Mr. Mulenga further said the fight against corruption requires concerted efforts as it is a cancer which affects the poor most.
He observed that the poor continue to remain impoverished while the rich get richer because of corruption.
“Corruption is very bad because the money which is supposed to benefit the public ends up in the pockets of a few individuals and this should not be allowed to continue at all,” he revealed.
Mr. Mulenga explained that freedom fighters are saddened whenever they hear that public resources are being mismanaged.
He pointed out that provinces such as Luapula should not continue to lag behind in terms of development because they have a lot of natural resources which are supposed to be used to develop the area.
And Rosemary Mambwe, another freedom fighter, said the government should come up with a better way of taking care of those people who fought for freedom.
Mrs. Mambwe revealed that most freedom fighters feel neglected because there is nothing much being done to take care of their welfare.
“Most of us are today living in extreme poverty despite our contribution to ensure that Zambia got its freedom and this is very unfair,” says Mrs. Mambwe.
She said the government should come up with a better plan on how to support all the freedom fighters in the country and not just a few of them.
She noted that freedom fighters acted collectively when they were fighting for independence.
Meanwhile, Luapula Province Minister Derricky Chilundika, who led the Provincial Joint Operations Committee (PJOC) in laying of wreaths at the cenotaph in Mansa, said the government has put in place measures aimed at ensuring that local people benefit from natural resources such as Mukula timber in the province.
Mr. Chilundika explained that all the natural resources in the province should benefit the local people hence the government has come up with deliberate measures to ensure that this is achieved.
“We want our people to benefit from the manganese which we have here in Luapula and that is why we have said that priority when it comes to giving licenses, should be given to our people and if they want they can partner with investors,” he said.
Mr. Chilundika has since urged people in Luapula to take advantage of the initiatives aimed at ensuring that they benefit from the natural resources.
This year’s Africa Freedom Day was celebrated under the theme: Leveraging our natural resources to boost food security.