In this audio, fourth Republican president Rupiah Banda says the tense political situation in Zambia arises from the fact that opposition UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has refused to concede defect after the 2016 general elections.

And Banda says he wouldn’t agree with people who are saying that the country is sliding into a dictatorship.

Speaking to journalist shortly after laying a wreath at late former president Frederick Chiluba grave at Embassy Park in Lusaka today, Banda said the problems which the country was facing were not enough to brand Zambia a dictatorship.

“I would not say that the country is sliding into a dictatorship. We have had this kind of problems all along. That’s why we are talking about Mr Chiluba. When we had a one-party state, many Zambians felt chocked by being forced to belong to one party and they spoke. So this country must learn from people like this and perhaps we will avoid some of the mistakes that we make. We are human beings we make mistakes. But we have those who came before us, like in my case, those who ruled before me, they have given us very good examples,” Banda said.

“That Mr Chiluba what he did for the people of Zambia is very important, from the time he was a trade unionist as a young man he felt for the downtrodden, the poor. That’s why he gave us houses for K50. But to say that we are sliding into a dictatorship, it will be our fault as Zambians.”

He said Hichilema must accept defeat like he did in 2011 when he was removed from power by Michael Sata’s PF.

“Kaunda was defeated, I was one of the four people that went to see him at night. Myself, his son Panji, a friend of mine Mumba and I can’t remember the fourth one. We went to say ‘look, people have spoken what do we do?’ And Dr Kaunda said ‘don’t worry my young men. I have decided that I am going to concede to the decision of the people tonight’. I have said this that Dr Kaunda has always been a role model to me on that point that when he was defeated he accepted,” Banda said.

“Unfortunately, we are facing the problems we are facing today, and I am not hearing anyone talking about it; namely that when we have had an election and it has been declared, we are supposed to accept. Thereafter, we can raise the issues that we want to raise in order to make peace in the country. Dr Kaunda did, I did it and I hope that the others will also learn to do that.”

Take a listen:

He said if Hichilema does not accept defeat to President Lungu, he should also not expect the current administration to accept defeat if he wins the next election.

“The first thing they should do is to accept the results otherwise we are not going to accept. Let us assume that there is another elections in the next five years and the current government loses and he wins our Brother who is in prison, we will expect that people should accept. If he doesn’t accept now, why would he accept that people should accept if he wins? So this is the issue that is creating the problem that we are facing right now,” said Banda.

Frederick Chiluba’s children at the memorial – Picture by Tenson Mkhala