UPND President Hakainde Hichilema calls for national unity

Filed under: Statements |

hh manFellow Zambians, especially us politicians, lets stop dividing our peaceful and united people for the sake of our selfish political benefits, government appointments and contracts.

It is unacceptable to always resort to undesirable labels such as ethnicity against our opponents each time we lose an argument in the political debate arena.Poverty and hunger as a result of a badly managed economy does not choose one’s origins. It affects all of us equally.

One issue that we dealt with on our Radio Phoenix programme yesterday was that of the voting pattern in the just ended election.For the record and for the sake of those that missed the programme, I thought it is important we put this matter into context though, I know for malicious reasons, others will still keep bringing it up.

Records are there for all to see that in the 2011 presidential and general election, we in UPND were getting zero votes in three quarters of the polling stations in Luapula, Northern (then combined with now Muchinga), and Eastern provinces.

Poverty and hunger as a result of a badly managed economy does not choose one’s origins. It affects all of us equally.

In all our postmortem meetings after the 2011 elections, we clearly realized our mistake of not having put enough effort in terms of selling ourselves in those areas. But at no time did we demonise anybody from those regions as being tribalists for not voting for us.

All well-meaning Zambians who care to remember will recall that we started putting a lot of our energies in those areas even when we faced brutality at the hands of those who felt we should not disturb what they labeled their strongholds.Many will remember how we were brutally hounded out of Eastern Province by the police barely one week in the area even when we had permits for one month.

You will remember how we were chased from meeting then Chitimukulu elect in Northern province, that even the police could not help us.You will remember how we were almost assassinated at Ndola’s Sun FM studios on the Copperbelt where we had to pass through rooftops to escape.But, in all instances, instead of resorting to undesirable labels against our people, we kept going there, because we truly believed our good people in those areas had been told a lot of undesirable messages on what we stand for.

In the just ended 2015 elections, we deliberately devoted three quarters of our time and resources in Eastern, Muchinga, Northern, Copperbelt and Luapula Provinces visiting almost all the constituencies so that our people could genuinely interact and understand us.

It therefore defeats the spirit of ‘One Zambia, One nation, One People that we genuinely believe in for someone to demonise our people in those regions (Copperbelt, Northern, Luapula, Copperbelt, Eastern Provinces) that voted for us this time around and label them as traitors for believing in our messages.

Besides, these are our brothers and sisters in these areas who even today, some have probably not been paid their money for farming, majority have failed to plant this season, they have failed to send their children to schools, they can hardly afford basic necessities because of the high cost of living, yet they were still expected to vote in a particular manner.

As a solid UPND team, we may have our own shortcomings, but we had and truly believe we still have superior messages and better solutions for our country.It is also a fact that our main competitors never campaigned in certain regions, yet the people in those areas were still expected to vote for them.

And based on our postmortem and lessons for the 2015 elections, we are again embarking on the same journey of thanking and uniting our people all over the country as we amplify our messages.

God Bless you all and have a wonderful day

Hakainde Hichilema