By Austin Mbozi
I write to propose an alternative to President Sata’s renaming of three Airports namely Ndola Airport (renamed Simon Kapwepwe), Lusaka’s International Airport (Kenneth Kaunda) and Livingstone Airports (Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula). While these heroes deserve to be remembered, I think there are several considerations that need to be addressed.
I therefore propose the following;
1. Suspend the directive and subject it to more public, cabinet, civil society,
business community and even parliamentary debate. The President needs more
consultations. At the time he announced it he had no cabinet etc. and he cannot decide on such an
important issue, which will affect the whole nation, alone.
2. Formally consult parliament and the business community. There are huge cost to be incurred by government and the business community in changing these names. There are binding contracts (involving airports, travel agencies) and travel bookings to be either rewritten or disclosed to clients about new changes. All embassies abroad must re-write their brochures, travel magazines etc about Airport destinations in Zambia and to remind their nationals of changes. Even government will incur
costs changing names of national airports.
3. Name freedom fighter heroes after new stadiums. It is better to name these heroes after the new Chinese build and planned ultra-modern stadiums and Ndola (the new one), Lusaka (the one being
belt next to the Independence Stadium) and the one planned for Livingstone (the one the Chinese promised for Livingstone). After all Stadiums will be better because football is more on the lips of ordinary citizens and the international community.
4. Remove Kapwepwe’s name from the three.
The criterion used to include Simon Kapwepwe on the top three list raises questions. Simon Kapwepwe was indeed a vibrant and articulate nationalist. But his personal contribution is lower than that of those leaders that were Presidents of anti-colonial parties like Kaunda,(UNIP President: 1958-1991), Nkumbula (ANC President 1952- 1973) and Goodwin Mbukusita Lewanika (Northern Rhodesia African National Congress:
1948-1952). Kapwepwe’s contribution is at the same (lower) level as Nalumino Mundia, Reuben Kamanga and Mainza Chona. This is because although Kapwepwe was the first Republican vice President he only served for four years and Reuben Kamanga took over. So if the choice of
Kapwepwe is that he was a vice President, why is Rueben Kamanga left out? If it
was because he made challenge to Kaunda’s rule with his UPP, them why leave out Nalumino Mundia who did the same with his party?
5. Don’t replace Lusaka International Airport name. Lusaka International Airport was named after the Lenje headman Lusaaka who ‘gave’ us the Lusaka city during early colonial rule. Headman Lusaaka is also an African hero.He gave his whole land to all tribes and races to live in, while his Lenje people were evicted into chief Mungule etc. Replacing his name most likely resisted by the
Lenje-Soli speaking people.