(By Edwin Mbulo and Christopher Miti)
THE Zambian flag hoisting ceremony at midnight on October 23 failed in Livingstone as the rope snapped sending the emblem to the ground and six subsequent attempts to have it hoisted also failed long after the national anthem and fireworks display.
The flag-hoisting event at the civic centre presided over by mayor Eugene Mapuwo forced some boy scouts unsuccessfully climb the mast several times in attempts to fit the flag rope, sending the
audience into resenting laughter.
The mishap forced the master of ceremonies, Pastor Buster Tembo to pray against all evils that were sending the flag tumbling to the ground.
However, 18 minutes after midnight, with the guidance of a ZAF officer, the boy scouts managed to secure the flag to the pole.
Meanwhile, Mapuwo said there was need to strive for the nation’s development and prosperity regardless of ones political party, ethnic background, gender, age group and religious affiliation.
He appealed to Zambians to reject tribalism because the country’s founding fathers, such as Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Sikota Wina, Reuben Kamanga, Grey Zulu, John Mwanakatwe, Nalumino Mundia, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula, Elijah Mudenda and many others were united beyond tribal lines.
“We can only actualise the theme of this year’s independence by embracing the Christian values of love and unity. Without love and unity, we will not be able to tolerate those with different views from ours,” he said.
“There is need to consolidate the country’s unparalleled peace, unity and freedom in the 54 years of self-rule, with the democratic change of political leadership and as we do so, we need to develop our democracy with a sense of mutual respect and tolerance so as to strengthen the democratic foundations on which our country is built,” Mapuwo said.
Livingstone acting district commissioner thanked Mapuwo for accepting to grace the flag hoisting ceremony at short notice as Southern Province permanent secretary Mwangala Liomba, who was to do so was not present. There was also no mention of the absence of the PF leadership at the function attended by some UPND councillors and some senior government officials.
Meanwhile, Paramount Chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni people says independence celebration is for all Zambians.
And Luangeni member of parliament Charles Zulu says Zambians should build on what those who fought for independence started.
Meanwhile, Esnert Mushiba, a freedom fighter, says Zambia can only be transformed through hard work. During a Independence Day sports tournament, Mpezeni said before independence Zambians were like slaves.
“This slavery status applied to all Zambians. Now our forefathers, Dr [Kenneth] Kaunda and his friends, fought for independence for all Zambians. It is for this reason that we are celebrating independence today, we are not discriminating against any person because of political affiliation because we were all in slavery, be it ruling party or opposition,” he said.
Mpezeni said Zambians were one people and should not segregate themselves on political lines.
“Dr Kaunda spoke about One Zambia, One Nation, let’s stick to this because we are one people,” he said.
And Zulu said Zambians should be happy with the attainment of independence.
“We have to continue living as one people. I have observed that we have started discriminating against each other on tribal lines which is not good. We are all One Zambia, One Nation. I know that Inkosi yamakosi also agrees with this,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mushiba, who moved a vote of thanks during the commemorations at DK Stadium, said Zambians could not be transformed if citizens did not work hard.
“Zambia can be transformed in the near future if we work hard because if we do not work hard there is no way we can transform this country. For us to work hard, we need unity, let’s work together, we only have to differ on principle but let us work together,” she said.
Mushiba said freedom fighters have a task to show the young ones the unity that the country deserved. Eastern Province minister Makebi Zulu, who graced the occasion, said Zambians should remember that the independence they were celebrated was a product of the courage and immense sacrifice by the founding fathers and mothers who fought for the liberation of the country.