What Siulapwa said on Monday

A lot is being said about how Zamtel should be handled. One fact which is very clear is that Zamtel has continued making losses for many years and the situation has reached a very crucial stage which needs immediate intervention. All of us Zambians are worried and concerned about the future of Zamtel hence different people are offering and suggesting different solutions on how Zamtel should be handled.

We must always remember that we go for elections, in order to elect people so that they can make decisions on our behalf as Zambians. This simply means that government is the only institution in Zambia mandated by the people of Zambia through the law to decide how best Zamtel should be handled. The rest of us can only make proposals or suggestions. It is very important that we allow those in government to exercise their mandate and freely make decisions on how best they feel they should manage the nation.

It is unfortunate that in our country, those of use who are not in government, instead of engaging government in a civilized manner, by proposing and suggesting solutions to problems affecting us as a nation, we always want to be confrontational, to the extent of trying to give instructions to those in government. Instead of those in government seeing sense they became defensive and as a result the nation losses out on good ideas from the opposition.

Our position as the New Generation Party (NGP), on the Zamtel issue, is that let President Banda and his governments freely decide what is best for Zamtel on our behalf. They are the only ones mandated by the people of Zambia to decide the best way out for Zamtel. President Banda and his team have decided that the best way out for Zamtel is privatization. Privatization is not bad per se but what matters is how it is done. ZANACO was privatized and is doing very well.

Finally I wish to remind the Zambian people to be very careful with some of the critics of government who always speak the loudest. Some of the critics like Mr. Michael Sata, Hon. Edith Nawakwi, Gen. Godfrey Miyanda, Hon. Nkandu Luo, Hon. William Harrington, Dr. Ludwig Sondashi, just to mention a few had an opportunity to govern this country and make decision on our behalf as Zambians. Whatever their arguments are, the bottom line is they failed us big time. They supported blind and speedy privatization under Dr. Chiluba which resulted in them together as a team destroying more than 600,000 jobs out of the 1 million jobs they found created by Dr. Kaunda and the UNIP Government. Why should we follow them or trust them today? If Mr. Sata did not expel most of these from the MMD for being anti-third term, today they would be in MMD government supporting the very things they are condemning.

The shooting of Cornelius Mwape a CBU student by police is unfortunate and unacceptable. We wish to condemn strongly the use of live bullets by the police on students.

We also support the demand by COBUSU that the Zambia Police must produce a comprehensive report on circumstances surrounding the shooting of Mwape. This is the second time in the recent past that the Zambia Police are shooting a student using live bullets. The previous one was at UNZA during the rule of President Mwanawasa. This is unacceptable and must be stopped.

We also support the demand by the students that the Police officer involved in the shooting must be found and brought to book. We further suggest that should Zambia Police fail to bring the culprit to book, COBUSU should petition the IG to discipline whoever was the overall in change of that operation. This will surely deter and stop police offices from indiscriminately using live bullets on defenseless citizens.

It is very clear that war has erupted between the MMD Cadres and the Post Newspaper. The Post Newspaper is using the power of the pen to fight while the MMD Cadres are using their physical power. It is important as Zambians to handle this situation, soberly and without biasness. This war must be nabbed in the bud, before it gets out of hand. As small as it may appear, it has the potential to engulf the whole country if it is not quickly checked and stopped.

Our position as the New Generation Party (NGP) is that we do not support any form of violence. Violence has never been known to be a good solution to any problem any where in the world. Where it has been used, it has left bitter memories and scars which are impossible to erase and those who are affected or involved go with them to their graves. We don’t need such an experience in Zambia.

It is very easy and normal for each of the 2 parties at war to point a finger at the other as the causer. The fact, however, is that it takes two to tangle. Unless one is insane, it is not possible for one to wake up and became violet towards the other. There definitely must be a reason for the violence. It is only after we analyze and understand the reasons or root causes behind each party’s behaviour that we will be able to advise correctly and help to stop this violence. In Zimbabwe for example, ZANU-PF became violent but it took efforts by both parties to find a solution. As the NGP, we wish to call upon the parties involved; the Post and the MMD cadres to sincerely and genuinely, in truth and spirit to search their hearts to see if there is anything they can do on their part to stop this violence. It will not help us for one to blame the other. Since it takes two to fight, it therefore follows that both parties have a share of the blame.

To the MMD cadres, we wish to request them to reconsider their vow to continue violence the against post journalists. We wish to remind them that, where there is violence, there is no winner, we are all losers. They should ask themselves if this violence is in the best interest of the nation, if not, it must be abandoned. MMD has capable leaders in the names of Hon. Mabenga, the party Chairman, Hon. Katele Kalumba, the party National Secretary, just to mention a few, who can prevail and reason with the cadres to stop this violence.

On the other hand, we wish to request The Post also to genuinely search themselves and see if there is anything they can do to stop this violence. It is very easy for The Post to simply put the whole blame on the MMD cadres and say we are not violent, it is them. The fact that MMD cadres are raising reason to do with the conduct of the Post, it simply means that there is something the Post can do to stop this violence. Some people have argued that sometimes the power of the pen has potential to hurt other people, even more than the hurt brought about by violence. Maybe time has come for The Post to take stock and review their conduct in the last 18 years of their existence, to see whether they have been on the right track or they have departed. The fact that certain people are so aggrieved to an extent of resorting to violence, this calls for their serious self examination. The Post must remember that they are human beings and prone to make mistakes.
This is a verbatim report of the
Press statement issued by New Generation Party president Humprey Siulapwa

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