PATRIOTIC Front deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri says veteran politician Simon Zukas and other senior citizens that have formed an organization to challenge and address governance issues in the country are just job seekers.
In an interview, Phiri said since they were “too old” maybe the celebrated veterans were seeking relevance.
“In that organization, I even saw bashi nono (Bob Sichinga), who is known by my six-year-old grandchild that he left his family to go and live with a concubine in Kaunda Square! Are those the eminent people we are looking up to with that character? We wish them well and May God bless them. Even in a home, if I have seven children, not everybody can be happy, that is the way the world is. If the world was smooth, God himself would not have sent Jesus Christ to come and die for us. For me, I take great exception. I am in this position, that even when I leave, I continue with my life and not look back. When I am given a chance, I should leave things in place, which cannot be destroyed. But the problem we have in this country is that people want to be in positions forever,” Phiri said.
“That mentality for (Kenneth) Kaunda continues and this should be an outcry for young people! That when old people serve, they should give room to the young people to build where they have left. It is such a shame if you look back at the Non-Governmental Organizations, who were making so much noise. When they are given jobs, they shut up! So, for me, I have seen such things happen, I just look at these people as job-seekers or maybe they are too old, they just want to talk because they are missing the recognition, which they were getting when they were in the limelight.”
And Phiri said the ruling party was not threatened by the formation of the organization.
“I do not think anybody is threatened by that group. There are big names in that group, credible people. There is Telesphore Mpundu, Simon Zukas, Dr Sketchley Sacika and others. Nobody can take away what these great men have done for this country. But when you are calling yourself eminent, it is like you have cooked a very nice cake and then you apply faeces to it! Can people eat that? But that combination…we wish them the best. That is why I have said I will never be a political prostitute because I am not a job-seeker. When I retire, I shall continue where I left. And you will never hear me talking because my time would have passed. I want to see young people. This is my time to make headlines and I have been given an opportunity out of the 18 million Zambians to serve as the deputy secretary general for the ruling party. I should make my impact be felt so that even when I go, the positives should contribute to my legacy,” said Phiri.
Zukas and fellow senior citizens launched an organization called Our-Civic-Duty Association (OCIDA), which consists of some senior citizens, among them freedom fighters, a retired senior church leader and some retired senior civil servants, who served in the past governments and the ruling party.