AFRICA Freedom Day should be a reflection of what we can do to protect and progress Zambian’s precious inheritance says, UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema.
And MMD president Nevers Mumba says Zambians must consider the high price paid by freedom fighters and find a meaningful way to say thank you to them.
Mr Hichilema said the UPND was proud of the strong position of Zambia’s history as a peaceful and democratic nation.
Speaking in his Africa Freedom Day message, the opposition leader however said there was need for the rights of all Zambians to be constitutionally protected and respected by Government.
Mr Hichilema said he felt mistreated when his movements were regulated and monitored.
“…The events of the past few weeks that have seen yet more attempts to regulate and monitor my movements are just one public example of how not all citizens are treated equally and that protection of these rights is currently insufficient,” Mr Hichilema said.
He said in order to protect and respect human rights in Zambia, the Public Order Act must be reformed.
Mr Hichilema vowed that UPND would continue to champion such policies in the interests of all Zambians.
He said Government was there to serve the people and if it could not introduce basic provisions to protect the freedoms of its citizens then it would be seen failing in its most necessary functions.
Mr Hichilema said the proper protection of fundamental human rights was also an essential foundation for progress and proper socio-economic development.
He said the UPND would also continue to push for economic empowerment and liberation through its advocacy of increased investment in education, support for local businesses and training initiatives, improved access to credit for youths, and an end to any discrimination based on age, gender, or tribe.
“Today, we should be celebrating a new achievement and step towards greater freedom guaranteed by a 21st century constitution,” Mr Hichilema said.
He said more than 50 years since independence and more than 20 years since the advent of multi-party democracy, Zambia should have been celebrating the delivery of a new people-driven constitution.
“A constitution that through its Bill of Rights enshrines valuable protection of various rights for Zambians, including the freedom of expression, the freedom of the media, and various socio-economic rights such as the right to free primary and secondary education for Zambian children,” Mr Hichilema said.
And Dr Mumba said Zambia had failed to honor its freedom fighters in a manner that befitted them.
“Most freedom fighters are dying in abject poverty with no cushioning for them. Our freedom fighters must be honored both in life and in death,” Dr Mumba said.
He said as the nation strived for total freedom, Africa Freedom Day should remind Zambians of how difficult life had become for the ordinary Zambian.
“The ordinary Zambian struggles month after month to pay his basic bills like water, food and clothing. These should never be viewed as luxuries but basic necessities. We remain a poor country as long as Zambians live their lives struggling to pay for these basics,” Dr Mumba said.
He said there was need to bring Zambia to a place where basic needs were no longer crowd in minds but innovative and fulfilling individual’s dreams.
“May this Africa Freedom Day help us reduce politicking and for once look at how we can together leave the basic platform of life and embrace a life of fulfilling long held personal dreams,” Dr Mumba said.