Flashback: I can’t join plunderers in celebrating independence – Sata

BY BRIGHTON PHIRI, 26 OCTOBER 2003  (The post)

Lusaka — I AM prepared to name some ministers who are corrupt, Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata has said.

Commenting on Zambia’s 39th independence celebrations at State House on Friday, Sata said he could not join plunderers in celebrating the country’s independence.

“If they challenge me I will name some of the ministers who are corrupt,” Sata said.

He said he would not submit to President Mwanawasa’s arrogance because of the independence celebrations. Sata said there was too much deceit and trickery under President Mwanawasa’s leadership.

He said it would be a mockery for the opposition parties to attend the celebrations at State House because President Mwanawasa didn’t recognise them as equal stakeholders.

“When we go to church, we submit ourselves to the Priest or Pastor, whether you agree with the Pastor or not. But that is different in politics. We have to regard each other as equal partners,” Sata said.

Sata said his party would only join in celebrating the independence after the existing tension ceased.

“How can we celebrate together when there is tension amongst ourselves,” asked Sata.

He said there was no justification for the MMD government to organise any form of celebration because people were dying from malaria, HIV/AIDS and poverty due to their failure to provide the necessary requirements.

“When Americans celebrate, there is no tension among them. They enjoy celebrating their achievements. What have we achieved that is worth celebrating?” asked Sata. “Are we going to celebrate the increased number of people dying due to poverty?”

He observed that there was so much tension among families in the country due to high prevalence of poverty. “How do you expect these starving families to join in celebrating our independence,” asked Sata.

And in his congratulatory message to President Mwanawasa, Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov has expressed confidence that the traditionally friendly relations between his country and Zambia would foster development, world peace and security.

Women for Change (WfC) executive director Emily Sikazwe asked Zambians to reflect on what was happening in their respective communities as they celebrate the independence. “So before you commemorate independence day, don’t forget that the hungry need to be fed, the sick need medicine, single parents need your support and vulnerable women in both rural and urban areas need support and the people living with HIV/AIDS need cheaper drugs,” she said.

Sikazwe asked Zambians to fight for the inclusion of social and economic rights in the new constitution.


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