IT IS childish for anyone to suggest that President Edgar Lungu is hiding behind former president Rupiah Banda, Vice-President Inonge Wina has said.
And Vice President Wina has directed police to maintain peace and order in all public places to stop the harassment of people.
Vice-President Wina said the remark attributed to UPND Choma Central member of Parliament Cornelius Mweetwa that President Lungu was hiding behind former president Banda to travel with him to Namibia did not only show lack of respect for elders but also insulted their efforts to liberate Africa from colonial rule.
Ms Wina was responding to opposition members of parliament who wanted to know whether it was true that former president Rupiah Banda was accompanying President Lungu to Namibia for the inauguration of president-elect Dr Hage Geingob and whether he was hiding in the former President’s name. Mr. Banda was officially invited to attend the inauguration ceremony by Namibia’s outgoing President, Hifikepunye Pohamba.
Vice-President Wina said she was surprised that an opposition political party that wanted former president Banda’s support were today attacking him in the manner Mr. Mweetwa had done.
“I am surprised to hear those remarks from a party that wanted former president Rupiah Banda to be their campaign manager. Mr. Speaker, His Excellency Rupiah Bwezani Banda, His Excellency Dr. Kenneth Kaunda and Honourable Vernon Johnson Mwaanga are freedom fighters who fought for the freedom of this country and the region,” she said.
Vice-President Wina explained that the political partnership between some MMD MPs and PF leadership was unsettling some political parties in the nation, adding that UPND must be mindful that the struggle for freedom was not fought in isolation but as a team in the region.
“The freedom fighters were not fighting the struggle in isolation, they were associating with the leadership in the region and as such they made friends with the leaders in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and others. And as a matter of fact Mr. Speaker, the new President of Namibia was in this country as a political refugee and as such he made friends in this country,” he said.
The Vice-President said former presidents Dr. Kaunda and Mr. Banda and Mr. Mwaanga were invited to be present at the inauguration of the Namibian President elect because at some point he lived in Zambia as a political refuge and made friendship with them.
“So, I wonder why these insinuations that Edgar Lungu is hiding behind Rupiah Banda are coming from especially that they are coming from those who were not yet born by 1964. So Mr. Speaker this country paid dearly for the freedom of Southern Africa and it is only befitting that the leaders of this country are invited to participate in such activities. Stop insulting leaders,” she said.
In his invitation letter, Mr. Pohamba said that the inauguration ceremony which would be held on March 21, 2015, would also mark the 25th anniversary of that country’s independence.
“I have the honour and pleasure to invite Your Excellency to grace the inauguration ceremony and the silver jubilee with your presence,” wrote President Pohamba.
He stressed that President Banda’s presence at Dr Geingob’s inauguration ceremony would symbolise the excellent bilateral relations and strong bonds of solidarity and friendship that exist between Zambia and Namibia. As Zambia’s Ambassador to the United Nations in the 1970s, President Banda once served as President of the United Nations Council for Namibia, a body that was responsible for superintending the country’s affairs before the attainment of political independence in 1990.