CIVIL Servants and Allied Workers Union of Zambia president Davy Chiyobe says the union will advocate for the reinstatement of the 41 civil servants who were retired in national interest after PF won in 2016.

And Chiyobe says the removal of cadres from bus stations and markets is more like a second independence, as citizens are now free from cadre harassment.

At a media briefing, Wednesday, Chiyobe expressed gratitude to President Hakainde Hichilema over his assurance that no civil servant would be unfairly retired in national interest.

“We are grateful that the President has promised to reinstate the civil servants who were unfairly retired in national interest. We equally appreciate the President’s position that no civil servant will be retired unfairly in national interest. This will promote and entail a professional and efficient public service that is competent, motivated, impartial and dedicated to serving the public interest. You might be aware that the past elections in 2016, about 41 civil servants were retired in national interest and those are civil servants who may have taken serious and critical sides at the heights of that campaign. Some of them risked their lives, they put on regalia of certain parties and when the party that took government went ahead, inaugurated, there was retribution of which this President has indicated, there will be no retribution,” he said.

“At that time, there was retribution. About 41 civil servants were retired because they supported the opposition by that time which has now formed government. We pleaded as labour movements to say can you forgive those young men and women because they are family. The constitution is very clear, you have the right to belong to any association, any political party of your choice. This serious abrogation which happened, another door has been opened and the forgiving should start from the last elections because this one there will be no one who is going to be retired. So those 41 who were retired in the last elections, they are there, all of them are our members and we will be in a position to contact them. So we will forward their papers so that they can get back their jobs.”

And Chiyobe said the removal of cadres from bus stations and markets was like a second independence as citizens were now free from the harassment by cadres.

“We greatly appreciate the bold decision to remove party cadres from markets and bus stations. We are happy, this will bring sanity. This will equally entail government institutions collecting the needed revenue for national development. The councils were grappling with resources because these resources were going in people’s pockets. So this came as a great relief. I think that everyone has won independence, against the 1964 independence this is another independence which has come as people are now free, you cannot be harassed by anyone. That’s what we cried for, that’s what the Zambians wanted and that’s what the youths wanted. So we have it now and let’s guard it jealously,” he said.

Chiyobe called on the UPND administration to fight corruption boldly without leaving any stone unturned.

“We greatly appreciate the president’s commitment to ensuring that government institutions run autonomously in carrying out their mandate. Political interference has made many government institutions perceived irrelevant and lose public confidence. There is indeed a need to change this picture for the people of Zambia to have confidence in government institutions. The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC), the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Zambia Police (ZP) should operate competently without political interference. Equally, we expect the UPND government to boldly fight corruption with a “blind eye”. We want a commitment to fighting corruption that leaves no stone unturned,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chiyobe urged ZNBC to carry out its mandate without fear of favour following President Hichilema’s commitment to ensuring a free media.

“We appreciate the president’s commitment to a free media. A media that operates independently, regulates itself, and reports fairly and objectively. The ability of journalists to report freely on matters of national interest is a crucial indicator of democracy. Free media allows people to obtain information from a wide range of sources that are not dictated or restricted by the government, so that they can make decisions, develop opinions, and communicate their views to the government. Free media leads to the informed public debate necessary for a democratic state,” said Chiyobe.

“We are hopeful that UPND has learnt something from the Patriotic Front (PF) government on the need for a free media. We want to reiterate, we look forward to the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) reporting on matters of national interest without fear or favour.”