PRINCE Akashambatwa Mbikusita Lewanika says there is no truth in Zambia’s National Anthem because it does not reflect the correct image of the country.

Speaking when he featured on Camnet Television’s National Matters programme, Monday evening, Akashambatwa argued that the Zambian National Anthem was all a lie because citizens were neither free nor strong.

“I have less quarrel about the words in our national anthem but my fundamental quarrel is that it is all a lie. We are not free men, we don’t stand, we are not strong, we are not one. In other words, somebody sings that national anthem and then passes a Constitutional Amendment which he knows is divisive, he cannot believe in those words,” Akashambatwa said.

“If Parliament can continue mutilating the Zambian Constitution for personal and partisan reasons, it means they don’t believe in the words. No wonder even citizens are forgetting the national anthem; the national anthem forgot them a long time ago because it is not meaningful. Our national anthem is not honestly reflective of Zambia. Yes, you can say it (our national anthem) has an aspiration, that I understand. But then there must be some activity that shows that you are moving towards your aspirations not away from your aspirations so that beyond singing the national anthem, you also check whether it is true or not. In fact, for the last many years, each time I am cornered to be present when the national anthem is being sang, I really think word for word, line by line and check ‘is this true’? I say ‘it’s a lie’.”

Asked which particular words of the country’s national anthem he thought were not reflective of Zambia’s current status, Akashambatwa argued that Zambia was not free because it was still indebted to its colonial masters.

“You sing the first one (verse), what is it? ‘stand and sing of Zambia proud and free’, are we free? From what are we free? ‘land of work of joy…’ and an unemployed person sings that? You say we are free from colonial masters, when did the colonial masters leave? These IMF, who are they? You want [Winston] Churchill to come? He’s well represented, who is managing our economy? Who are we inviting to invest? Who sets the rules of how we manage the economy? Who gives us awards for following their economic policies?” Akashambatwa asked.

“Suddenly, they say ‘you are now HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor Country), you have completed HIPC’. Five or 10 years later, you are again in debt…to the same people you are supposed to be free from. So as I say, I don’t mind us as Zambians aspiring high but I would like to see that those who aspire high are moving towards that height. Not just talking about your aspiration and then doing the reverse.”

Akashambatwa also encouraged young people to take interest in reading in order to avoid forming uninformed opinions.

“If I had only one message and it’s to young people in this country; please read and read critically. Don’t form opinions over matters you have not read properly. Most of you are sufficiently educated to be able to read and get your knowledge from those books,” said Akashambatwa.