THE government should not be surprised that very soon children of freedom fighters will rise to claim a fare share of what is due to them, says Keegan Chipango, a former MMD Livingstone civic leader. And Chipango has suggested that the history of Zambia’s political struggle needs to be re-written as most Zambians born in the 1990s do not know the truth about fallen and surviving freedom fighters.
In an interview, Chipango, who is the son to the first Zambian Livingstone mayor William Chipango, who was once arrested for treason,
said the government should be appreciative of the people who sacrificed for the country’s democracy.
“Only a few people are benefiting from the sweat of our parents’ struggle for independence. The government should not be surprised that very soon, as children and grandchildren and great-grand children of these gallant men mentioned here, will rise to claim a fare share of what is due to them. Even getting jobs which they qualify for is a struggle. I am not advocating for favours or suggesting that other Zambians did not fight for independence and do not deserve recognition, but let us have the truth be told and prevail,” Chipango said.
He added the roles in Zambia’s independence struggle played by people like Harry Mwaanga Nkumbila, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, Rueben Kamanga, Mungoni Liso, Sikota Wina, his brother Arthur and Nalumino Mundia, among others, were not being celebrated like that of Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s role. Chipango, who is also a former FAZ committee member, said these gallant men ensured that the country was not plunged into a civil war immediately after the first elections where ANC won 15 seats.
“In those elections, UNIP had 12 seats, the Federal Party go 15 seats, so had Nkumbula being selfish like the other leaders we later come to see, he would have partnered with the Federal Party, the whites, to form a coalition government and not UNIP…Reuben Kamanga saved this country
from war when there was a fight for the position of Vice-President, which he later surrendered to Kapwepwe for the sake of unity and peace,” he said.
“Currently, our children born in the 1980s and 1990s do not know this part of history, not to mention those born in the 2000s, to them it is
only Dr Kenneth Kaunda, who was father of our independence. If anything, Nkumbula did a lot as far as the struggle for independence was
concerned,” Chipango said.
He added that the second part of Zambia’s history which required re-writing was the fight from the one-party dictatorship rule under Dr Kaunda.
“Some of us were indirectly victims of this fight in the sense that our fathers, like my father, William Chipango, was arrested and sentenced to death and acquitted and later again detained and finally acquitted in the 1980s. My family suffered a lot in terms of education and other necessities, that my father used to provide to me and other family members. He was arrested together with Crispin Mwendabai, Sifulo Kakoma and others who were later also released,” Chipango explained.
He further indicated that the story of Adamson Mushala also required to be re-written in the right perspective as his fight also was for democracy and not the way it was being portrayed negatively in certain quarters.
Chipango wondered what benefits the children of those who fought the one party state had acquired.
He also said the issue of tribalism which was only being lamped on the Tonga people of Southern Province was annoying.
“This is not fair to me; had they been tribal they would not have contributed such amounts, a good number of animals, towards the fundraising campaign to allow the Zambian delegation travel to London for the Independence we are enjoying today. Let the truth be told and our history be re-written in our schools,” Chipango appealed. He indicated that it pains him to see how children of fallen heroes were suffering.
“We have children of Kamanga, the man did a lot in Eastern Province, it is not fair to abandon his children,” said Chipango.