By Hon Major Robbie Chizhyuka
“In Africa, long term national interest must override short term political gain, vested interests, corruption and political patronage.” Kofi Annan Chairperson, Africa Progress Panel, WEF Davos 2016.
I have already stated in an earlier publication that my support for Edgar Chagwa Lungu in 2016 is firm solid and complete. It is support that has been well thought out and that both my mind and my heart believe that ECL is best for Zambia for now.
The only other time that both my mind and my soul settled so passionately on one presidential candidate in this way, was when I campaigned for Andy Mazoka Mwana Mubotu in 2001.
I do not wish for any job let alone a parliamentary candidate slot in President Lungu’s government. My readers may wish to understand that even President Lungu is aware of this stated position of mine.
My political passion of the current times is that Edigar Chagwa Lungu comes back to State House as Republican President in August this year. When that happens, the poor people of our land, can rest in peace and unity under the protective umbrella of a God chosen leader for another five years.
The story of ECL providing legal representation to all the widows and families of the Gabon Air disaster when an entire National Team perished off the cost of the Indian ocean reminisces of my own struggles to provide leadership in Mazabuka, Kalomo, Namwala, Monze and Kitwe on the Copperbelt.
Through the indigenous peoples’ rights organization, my colleagues and I launched an unprecedented brand of mass action to restore cattle grazing land in Mbeza, Kantengwa, Kabulamwanda, and Bweengwa. A clandestine foreign organization schemed Mbeza Irrigation project to take away hundreds of thousands of hectares of prime cattle grazing land from our people on the Kafue Flats in Namwala and Monze Districts.
In 2005, when Mwanachingwala Chiefdom of Mazabuka District was under siege from WWF who wanted to turn their land into an animal sanctuary, I and my colleagues in the indigenous peoples’ rights movement travelled to Mazabuka from Namwala to provide the leadership sought by our people across Southern Province.
We launched a decapitating whirlwind mass action strategy not known in Zambia and by God’s grace our push for the people’s rights to their God given land in that part of our country was successful and the people of Shiyoowi Muntu (Kabanje) today live in peace across the Makoye river and pasture their cattle on the Kafue flats, their God given land.
When in 2004, the Copperbelt Butcheries association, were under siege from boudoirs meat marketing companies from Lebanon, Zimbabwe, and within the country, who wanted to take over all the struggling Zambian peoples’ abattoirs including the main one in Kitwe, the association called me from Namwala to provide leadership. We travelled to Kitwe and in one week we ended that impasse. I believe that the Copperbelt association is operating in peace, safety and prosperity today.
I was privileged to represent the people of Namwala in parliament from 2006 to 2011. There, I championed the cause for the people of Sichifulo in Kalomo and Kazungula districts. I lead 54 opposition parliamentarians to State house to petition the Republican President then Rupiah Banda to allow the people of Sichifulo to go back to their land which was rightfully given to them by subsequent Nyawa Chiefs.
I am grateful to His Excellency Michael Chilufya Sata who came to complete my job in Sichifulo by according all those people their rights to their land when he assumed the office of Republican President in 2011.
So, I hail from a background of providing leadership to poor people under siege wherever, they may be in Zambia. That too, is the background of our republican president Mr Edgar Lungu.
There were many firmly established law firms in the country some of which were multi-million dollar earning law firms which could have better come to the aid of those Gabon disaster widows but none of them lifted a pen to provide legal representation and support.
There were many multimillion dollar rich Zambians who could have rendered financial and legal support to those widows but alas, they kept their billions of dollars to their chests reminiscent of the tradition of some rich people we all know. All those two classes of awfully rich people would have joined Edgar Lungu to help our widows whose husbands were rising football stars and national heroes.
It had to take a humble lawyer, with hardly any financial muscle and ware withal, to fight a relentless and fearless battle for the cause of the widows for seven years until he won the case in court and restored their benefits.
At that time, ECL was not in government, he was not even an MP, he felt for the widows.
He did not want to take advantage of their plight to enrich himself, but used his knowledge and resources to mourn and pain with them by providing legal services.
We understand that the widows financial condition had become so desperate that it had become difficult for some of them to put food on the table. ECL would from time to time donate from his pocket K20s and K50s, for those widows survival.
When ECL become President last January, he did what no other president had done since independence. He appointed Inonge Wina, a woman from a province which did not vote overwhelmingly for him, as the first woman Vice President.
He went on to appoint Richwell Siamunene, as Minister of Defence from Southern province, a place where President Lungu was getting zeros in some polling districts. He also appointed Hon. Monde as Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, from UPND strong holds in Itezhi-Tezhi.
When later the President had an opening for top jobs in the police Service, he appointed Mr. Kanganja, from North-Western, and Mr. …… from Western province as commissioner and deputy commissioner of Police respectively.
If this is not evidence of President Lungu’s desire to unite the country by an all inclusive government where every part of Zambia feels represented then what is it? I cannot wait to see a President Lungu administration when we the Zambians give him a whole term in his own right.
For me a baptized Christian the creation, of the National house of prayer in our Christian Nation is but the icing on the cake. President Chiluba declared Zambia a Christian nation. President Lungu went on to bequeath the nation a solid Christian sense of belonging and unifying identity through that national house of prayer. He declared a National day of prayer, reconciliation and fasting.
Dear country men and women, Let us give ourselves a sense of national stability. We voted in 2008, 2011, and 2015 for a new president. Do we really want, yet again, to change presidents one and half years down the line? Are we looking for a place in the Guinness book of records as the country that changes presidents every other year?
I am humbled by the full support of my family in this decision for my political choice.
We will campaign for President Lungu in peace on issues and truthfulness not through violence and character assassination.
When violence comes our way as we indeed expect it going by the events in Bweengwa this past week, we shall seek recourse to the law. We will not hit back. In Illa, we say Muliwo tayiiwa.
Koffi Annan spoke in riddles when he said lets seek the long term national interest. Dear country men and women, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu represents that long term national interest which we seek. He is the man of the moment and the man of the times. God bless you all. God bless our Republic.