HUNDREDS turned up for the “Yellow Card” protest against what they say is government corruption, injustice, misappropriation of national resources.
Musicians Pilato, Maiko Zulu and Alliance for Community Action executive director Laura Miti Miti led the rare protest at Parliament entrance in Lusaka.
Clad in yellow, the peaceful but slogan- chanting, placard-carrying and yellow card-flashing protestors converged at the open space outside Parliament opposite the Great East road under the watchful eye of patrolling Zambia police officers.
Strong-worded speeches were the highlight of the protest as organisers called on citizens to be more vigilant and demand government accountability in the use of national resources.
“I am an artist, so allow me here to be silly…. When someone is sleeping and they start farting in their sleep, the people who are inconvenienced by the foul smell are the people who are awake. So in order to stop them from farting further and polluting the air, the people who are not sleeping have to wake up those who are sleeping – that is what we are here to do, to wake President Lungu and his sleeping government,” Pilato told protestors.
“A people that can make a better Zambia nimwebo naine fwebashilele (it’s you and me who are not asleep). Bakateka nama ministers babo nabalala baletubifishyafye umwela, tulecula fweka. Tufwile twababusha (The President and the minister are fast asleep and they are polluting our air. We are suffering alone. We need to wake them up.)”
Pilato said it was six months since the first lady Esther Lungu went to America with 25 people using taxpayers’ money to receive a donation of fire trucks but up to date the fire trucks have not been delivered.
He said Citizens must demands for answers as their resources were being mismanaged.
“No one has seen the fire trucks but our money was spend to feed, to transport 25 people. And today we are saying we don’t have money to feed our intelligent young people at UNZA and CBU. But there is money to spend when going to America to watch the buildings? It’s yellow card bane!” said Pilato.
“We were told that we are buying ambulances for $288,000 but up to now we have not seen the ambulance that is worth so much on our roads. When was the last time you saw that expensive ambulance on the road? We only see the ugly ones that are cheaper and we are used to, the ones that can be given to us when we ask?”
Pilato old the protesters that it was sad that Zambians were not benefiting from the infrastructure development that was taking place in the country.
“If you are going to bring shopping malls at every corner, allow us to go to school, so that we can know what to do with all those shopping malls. We cannot have a country where 50 per cent of the people are waiters and cashiers on the till, no. we want to have Zambian bosses. We want the Zambians to take over KCM not the shani shani awe we are all human beings. We are human beings even though we are short, black or with uncombed beards, we are still human beings,” he said.
“Mwamona ifyaba ichalo. Ba Given Lubinda baya pa Kabwata ku window shopping baboma icimbangu mbangu (you see how the world is; Given Lubinda goes window shopping at Kabwata market and he gets beaten). People are upset. He is lucky because it happened in Kabwata, if it was somewhere else, they would have removed his necktie and his jacket. What I want you to understand is this; one week later the people that did that were arrested.”
Pilato further told the gathering that selective justice system should not be entertained in the country.
“As you and I are standing here, we don’t know where Vespers’ issue will end, because she is the daughter of a poor woman and poor man. We don’t want a justice system that favours the Minister of Justice alone. We want a justice system that favours every Zambian. We raise the #Yellow card against selective justice! #Yellow card ba Zambia! One Zambia, one nation, not one Zambia 10 justice system, no! twakana,” said Pilato.
Reggae musician Maiko Zulu told the protesters that under PF there was a systematic shrink of the democratic space and if left unchecked the situation would be worse.
He said people must rise up without fear and defend themselves.
“We are here because of the police that are there. We are here because of the cadres that are hungry. We are here because of the mothers that have no access to health care. We are here because of the CBU students who are languishing in the streets,” said Zulu.
“We stand here to make our voice and our stance to be known. We will not be intimated; we are not afraid of anybody because Zambia is ours. The people that are flying in private jets are our servants. Let’s not make mistake about it. But this time they want to be worshipped likes gods. I will not worship any leader, especially if you are not doing the right things.”
He said CBU students were being treated as destitute because of poor decisions by those entrusted with poor.
Zulu urged Zambians to stand firm and defend themselves because the space was being given to the Chinese.
“Comrades, what we see today is the systematic shrinking of our democratic space. They are killing our democratic space systematically using the police, using the judiciary, and using the political cadres and other political machinery. And we say no to that.”
Bishop John Mambo urged the people to be brave and demand right answers from the politicians.
He said the owners of Zambia must enjoy the fruit of their independence.
“Zambia cannot be one Zambia one China, no! we are the owners of the country and we must enjoy the fruit of our independence. Our CBU is closed. We have closed our eyes for too long in our prayers. It’s time to tell God that God we have suffered enough, help us,” said Bishop Mambo.
“When they come to kneel for votes, ask them. Are you going to respect us? Are you going to fear God? We should stop being fooled by politicians.”
And Miti said she would not allow the country she loves to be destroyed.
She said in Zambia, politicians were getting rich while the majority citizens were getting poorer.
Miti said the yellow card protest mean Zambians were tired of the PF leadership
“If we the Zambia people we are not careful, we will get tired of changing the parties in power without real results. This is not about a political parties but if the people of Zambia don’t know that the power belong to them, we will remain poor. Our children will not go to university.”