UNIP has observed that the Third Republic has been a period inundated with extreme forms of self-interest and greediness leading to massive corruption.
And UNIP vice-president Njekwa Anamela has wondered who the current government wants to deceive with the One Zambia, One Nation mantra when “three quarters of the Cabinet and permanent secretaries come from one region” of Zambia.
Speaking when he visited The Mast head office in Lusaka’s Ibex Hill area for a courtesy call, Anamela indicated that UNIP, the country’s independence party, was concerned with the violence and intimidation that was meted out on journalists in the third Republic.
“We’ve seen a lot of these things, not just in one phase of the third Republic. The third Republic, if I may describe it, has been a period inundated with extreme forms of self-interest and greediness leading to massive corruption. This has been witnessed from time and time again! You can go back to the days of the late Baldwin Nkumbula and Akashambatwa because they were the first young people, at that time, in the Cabinet of [Frederick] Chiluba to come out on account of corruption. They could not stand it!” Anamela, who was accompanied by UNIP deputy secretary general Reverend Alfred Banda, lamented.
He noted that although the third Republic was accepted as an era of democratic dispensation, it had evil sisters.
“The evil sisters are corruption, violence. Where there is violence, citizens are not free to carry out their everyday activities. Equally important is that where there is massive corruption, it means State resources are not used for intended purposes such as contributing to the lifting of lives of our people,” Anamela explained.
The third Republic refers to the political period from 1991 to now.
On his views about patriotism and One Zambia, One Nation in the current political arrangement, Anamela pointed out that the political space seemed to have been violated by tribal politics and regionalistic tendencies.
“Obviously, this also impacts on our One Zambia, One Nation. One Zambia, One Nation should not be a slogan [but] it should be translated into practical reality. During our time, children from Northern Province went to secondary schools in Western Province and children from Eastern Province went to secondary schools in North-Western Province. Children from Eastern Province went to secondary schools in Luapula Province. That was using the education sector to carry out national integration so that you give meaning to One Zambia, One Nation,” he explained, further recalling that there was a time when people would stand for political office in areas they did not hail from.
“For instance, I remember how the late great Mainza Chona, one of my most favourite politicians, went to stand in Kaoma. We had others; Humphrey Mulemba (from North-Western Province) went to stand in Eastern Province, Sikota Wina standing in Chililabombwe and so forth. People were not standing in their home areas but in any part of Zambia because Zambia was for everyone who was a Zambian. You cannot have a situation where you have three quarters of the Cabinet and permanent secretaries come from one region and then you say ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ Who are you deceiving?”
And Anamela explained that those who formed government had a constitutional responsibility to develop the country, regardless of the voting pattern.
“Yes, you can campaign and win as a political party. Others may not have voted for you but the fact is that once you have won, you are their leader and you must serve them equally. That’s the way our politics should be! Not to say ‘we’ll only develop this area because that’s where they voted for us. You people didn’t vote for us and so, you can suffer.’ That’s not what democracy says and I don’t know where they’ve got those theories,” Anamela said.
On matters of the economy, Anamela said it was acknowledgeable that Zambia had a very high unemployment rate.
He explained that while unemployment rate, at global level, was around six per cent, Zambia’s was hovering at 7.8 per cent.
“In the whole of sub-Saharan Africa, it’s around 7.6 per cent. So, we exceed the unemployment rate even in sub-Saharan Africa! Majority of the people who are suffering in this economy are young people because the population of Zambia is very young,” Anamela noted.
“Where there are high unemployment levels, it’s not wrong to think that the level of poverty is also increased so much. The reality is that the political systems in the third republic, because of lack of employment opportunities, have taken to look at the State as the main source of income.”
He reiterated that the politics in the third republic had been about personal accumulation and self-gain and “this makes UNIP to be concerned.”
“We (UNIP) were formed on the premise that public interest or national interest is the basis of seeking public office. So, in terms of the economy, what is lacking in the third republic is this commitment to public service. It’s absent! Any talk of sacrifice is mere rhetoric. There is no real substance, when you look at the facts on the ground,” Anamela said.
“Otherwise, why would you find a minister with huge amounts of money? If somebody keeps huge amounts of money in their bedroom, then there is something wrong, so much if they are public officers.”
Meanwhile, Anamela underscored that the struggle in the lives of Zambians was about food, land and positive conditions so that “we can go about our lives in a safe and secure manner.”
“That is the cause of UNIP and that’s what we stand for and that’s what informs our founding values and principles,” said Anamela.