Freedom fighters struggling to put food on table, says VJ

VETERAN politician Vernon Mwaanga says Isamu lya Moomba should be nationally acknowledged and recorded in Zambia’s history.

Mwaanga also says not enough is being done to look after freedom fighters.

Isamu lya Moomba (Moomba tree) is situated in chief Choongo’s area in Monze district, Southern Province.

The place has a very special place in the history of Zambia’s struggle for independence because the first ANC delegation to London in 1952 was financed by a fundraising event held at Isamu lya Moomba.

At that place, citizens – men and women – donated cattle, goats, groundnuts et cetera to enable ANC president Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula and ANC secretary general Kenneth David Kaunda travel to London to meet the British colonial secretary of state to demand independence for Northern Rhodesia.

“They also demanded that the federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, which the white population was demanding should not be granted,” Mwaanga told The Mast. “It (Isamu lya Moomba) demands to be nationally acknowledged and recorded in the history of Zambia.”

He said this year’s 57th Independence anniversary should be a time for reflection and remembrance of “where Zambians have come from, where we are and where we should be”.

Mwaanga said this year’s Independence Day should be used to reunite Zambia with a view to building a better future for all citizens and make One Zambia One Nation a reality.

He also said every country goes through ups and downs.

“We have had our great moments and we have also had our downs. These have been useful lessons, which must guide us going forward,” Mwaanga said. “Our population has grown since independence on 24th October, 1964. We should collectively redefine our national priorities and focus on economic growth, which will create jobs particularly for the youth.”

He pointed out that Zambians should also prioritise education, health and infrastructure development.

Mwaanga added that recognition and acceptance of women as equals is cardinal.

“Women represent just over 53 per cent of the voting population of Zambia. The new dawn administration of President Hakainde Hichilema has started well and we now have the first female Speaker of the National Assembly since independence, Mrs Nelly Mutti,” he noted. “It is my hope that the subsequent appointments the President makes will continue to reflect the spirit of gender equality.”

On the plight of freedom fighters, Mwaanga said it has been his long held view that not enough is being done to look after freedom fighters.

He said in neighbouring countries, freedom fighters were being cared for through small allowances paid by the State and through membership to State-owned companies.

“During the short presidency of Rupiah Banda, a serious attempt was made to address this issue, which was not continued under the PF government,” said Mwaanga. “I hope that President Hichilema will resurrect the issue by appointing a small committee to quickly look at this issue. It is painful to see freedom fighters struggling to put food on their tables, after the supreme sacrifices they made to liberate our country.”

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