The most dangerous thing any person can do is to take a position on an issue for which they do not fully understand. It is therefore regrettable that I have to dedicate this whole article to try and enlighten our people and make them understand that the new allegations against President Hakainde Hichilema (HH) of the United Party for National Development (UPND) have no bases in law and only amount to malice on the part of his political enemies.
It is not my nature to write articles on individuals when it comes to politics, because I am very much aware that politicians come and go but the relevant issues affecting the country and our people still remain. Therefore, my approach has always been to focus on playing the ball rather than playing the man. And as I attempt to do so, I have found myself writing about the likes of John Sangwa or Archbishop Mpundu not because I favour such influential figures, but rather it is because such people have suffered at the hands of the current regime in one way of the other without just cause. Thus, for me I would not be a man to stand by and watch innocent citizens suffer or are targeted by the state machinery simply because they have a different opinion and views from that of the present government. It is on this basis that I strongly feel compelled to shed some light on the allegations against Hichilema with regards to his alleged name change and role in privatisation.
Let us begin by dealing with the issue of president HH having two national registration cards and having changed his name from Hakainde Sammy Hichilema to just Hakainde Hichilema as told to us by one so called opposition political party president. First and foremost, if our friend who claims to be an opposition leader had thought through this issue and done a little bit of research before uttering such rubbish, then he would have know that his allegations against HH are absolutely a piece of fantastic nonsense. The Zambian laws under the Registration Act, just like many laws in other countries including the United States provides for the right of any person or persons to change their names at will. Therefore, as an example, if my name is Fred Mwamba Chisanga and one day I wake up and decide that I no longer want to be called by this name and want to either remove my middle name (Mwamba) or even change my entire name completely; I can do so at will and without offering an explanation to anyone as to why I am changing my name. There is nothing wrong with changing one’s identity or name as long as they have gone through the due process and met all the legal requirements needed to effect such a change. There are many Zambians who have changed their names and taken upon themselves other names without giving anyone any explanation, which is perfectly fine according to the law. For example, Reagan Blankfein Gates, who is a prominent and respected Zambian lawyer and author, changed his name from whatever he was called to his current name which he even uses for his law firm. Hence, to victimise HH for changing his name from Hakainde Sammy Hichilema to simply Hakainde Hichilema as alleged is nothing but a case of profiling. We know that those who want to make an issue of this matter either lack understanding in as far as the laws of name changing are concerned or they just want to find anything and everything on the man to try and disadvantage him from participating in the August 2021 elections, which is next year.
Also, we should point out that when someone changes their name or identity, then a new national registration card will be issued to them under the new name. Therefore, the idea that HH has two national registration card numbers and that the police must investigate him is nothing but laughable, because if it is true that HH removed Sammy from his original name and did this legally, then the new identity of Hakainde Hichilema cannot bear the same NRC number as the previous name Hakainde Sammy Hichilema. So, let me advise our friends in the opposition who seem to be excited about baseless issues just to get attention; please do not expose your stupidity, and do a little bit of research before you spread ignorance among the masses. There is nothing criminal or illegal that HH has done if at all he changed his name from Hakainde Sammy Hichilema to simply Hakainde Hichilema. And according to the National Registration Act, he owes no one an explanation for doing so, not even the chief registrar in charge of facilitating this process.
Now, let this be on record that my attempt to come to the rescue of president HH, whom I have only met once and do not have any relations with at all only stems from a sense to duty as a citizen because anyone can see that HH is being targeted by a bunch of interesting individuals out of malice and we cannot allow that. Also, I believe that we collectively have an obligation to educate and re-educate our people with regards to doing the right thing despite the challenges at hand. As a country, we have come so far to allow light-minded people to divide us, and sow seeds of hatred among us. These vuvuzela politicians that will do anything for 30 pieces of silver cannot be left to make baseless allegations against respected men and women in our society without challenging them. Lest we forget, we have had politicians in the past and perhaps some of them present who have changed their names from time to time, and no one saw it fit to make their actions a matter of public discourse.
Lastly, the issue of privatisation and the alleged role that HH played is nothing but an old song that is off beat now. It is clear that the Patriotic Front (PF) government today is absolutely in panic and are acting out of desperation to try and do anything and everything in an attempt to pin down their number one opponent so that he cannot be on the ballot next year and the privatisation issue is their only last hope because all other tricks and tactics have failed, including Bill 10. Just as a reminder to our friends in the government, no one can fight the wheels of change once they begin to turn. Therefore, the PF will do well to let fate take its course and allow for the people of Zambia to express themselves freely now and next year during the elections.