MMD president Nevers Mumba says it is unZambian to boo a former Head of State despite the hardships citizens were subjected to under their administration.
And Mumba says Cabinet Office could have done better in terms of organising the inauguration ceremony, describing his experience as he got into the venue as a nightmare.
In a Facebook Live video, Wednesday, Mumba regretted the booing of former president Edgar Lungu as he handed over the instruments of power to President Hakainde Hichilema.
“One of the issues that happened during the inauguration that brought sadness to myself and of course to many Zambians is the booing of the former president. First of all, I must put it on record that that’s not who we are as a people. I am aware that the PF administration led by president Lungu brought some pain in the lives of many people including myself. I am one of those that suffered greatly at the hands of the previous administration. For 10 years my life was in and out of jail, my own political organisation was totally under assault by the PF. I was never given a chance to come up on air, they recruited rebels. So I was affected by their behaviour and their actions. However, I do not think that it is Zambian of us to boo a former president like we did. The reason why it is not a good idea, Zambians have options to teach any political leader a lesson. One of those was through the ballot box, the same way that Zambians handled the previous administration and removed them from power. A great and precise punishment,” Mumba said.
“So I think that if there is any kind of concern that they could have broken the law in any way, at any point, we have sufficient legal systems to which these political leaders are going to be subjected. To boo a former leader is setting a precedent which we must as Zambians start to remove from our cultural approach. Dr Kenneth Kaunda towards the end of his presidency, obviously those of you that were there with me remember that his vehicle was smeared with tomatoes and they tell me even with eggs in the independence stadium. And I think that’s where this spirit began. Dr Chiluba’s life towards the end was a sad one where people distanced themselves from him. Basically, it’s all part of Zambians trying to express dislike for what happened during someone’s tenure in office. Booing is not part of who we are and I think we missed an opportunity to paint the picture of who we really are as the Zambian people to the international community.”
And Mumba said Cabinet Office did not organise the inauguration ceremony well.
“Well, I believe that we could have done better in the manner in which we organised the event. We would like to believe that the transition team from Cabinet and all the permanent secretaries that consisted of that transition team underestimated, whether unknowingly or deliberately, the response to this inauguration. I was one of those that started off very early in the morning to be part of that event and the traffic that was there was very mismanaged. First of all, most of the roads were closed and a lot of people could not get there in time because they had to be redirected using other roads. Even when we got there, even to get into the stadium was a nightmare,” he said.
“I have never seen such confusion on the VIP side where all these other dignitaries were coming through. It was like a mad rush! I think that we mishandled the proper arrangement of this event. We could have done better and I hope that next time we are going to ensure that any transition team or any team organising an event like this is a bit more professional, more deliberate. We thought that they had estimated by the interest that was generated in the nation that we were going to have a full house, some people slept there. So that to me is unacceptable and I think that the cabinet office could have done much better in organising physical preparations for the event.”
Meanwhile, Mumba advised the UPND administration to manage citizens’ high expectations.
“What I felt in that stadium of 60,000 Zambians was that it was not one tribe. That was a mixture of almost all the tribes of Zambia. The energy of expectancy scared me because to satisfy those levels of expectation demands caution and also a manner in which you can interpret what this mandate given to the UPND is. First of all, it is important to accept that this was a selfish vote, Zambians voted for themselves, they want to get out of trouble, they want prosperity, they want to move forward, they want to cut PF and start afresh. They felt that the UPND and in this case, President Hakainde Hichilema was in a better position to deliver that on their behalf,” said Mumba.
“So I think that it will be wrong for President Hakainde Hichilema and the UPND to misread that, because the Zambian people actually, unfortunately, expect the change now. They expect that by next week the jobs are going to be made available. They expect that mealie meal will go down. They expect that the fuel cost will go down. They expect that there will be medicines in hospitals within the next few days. So what does that mean? It means that the UPND must get to those platforms and clarify this point, that this destruction that has taken place to this country has taken 10 years to destroy this nation. There is no way, even with all the goodwill and magic that UPND can have, that they can heal this very sick patient of Zambia in one month, or two months, or three months. UPND needs to be clear about this. If they raise the expectation to the extent that they give the impression that they are coming in and solving all the problems, the rebellion from the same Zambians who were clapping will be harsher than what we saw against PF and Mr Lungu.”