It is dishearteningly shocking that in more than 20 years after UNIP, Zambia’s first ruling party lost power, we have some of the country’s senior most citizens and freedom fighters languishing because successive governments have literally forsaken them.
Listening to Grey Zulu, Zambia’s post independence Minister of Commerce and the last secretary general of UNIP, one would have a chilling feeling how unfair systems can be to some people who sacrificed everything to liberate Zambia from its colonial bondage.
At 90-years old, Mr Grey Zulu sauntered into the offices of the Daily Nation and narrated his struggles to have successive governments pay him his benefits…without success and no one has taken the trouble to explain to him why he has over the years not received his pay cheque.
It is unimaginable that a man in the name of Grey Zulu has been subjected to this kind of humiliation by a country he so devotedly served in his hey days.
It is without malice that he asks what offence he has committed to deserve this kind of treatment.
That successive ruling political parties have elected to ignore the court rulings that have ordered that Mr Zulu be paid his benefits is not only torturous but shows how patriotism could be such a thankless virtue.
Mr Zulu’s lamentations about government’s failure to pay him seem to be a voice in the forest where there is no ear to hear his cries and his SOS call to the Law Association of Zambia must be heard and considered.
But we don’t believe Government should promote such thinking in people who scarify their energies and labour for the well-being of Zambia.
Mr Zulu is one of the Zambians who should not be made to feel his struggle for the Independence of Zambia and his 27 years of working for the Zambian Government was a thankless job.
He might not have been at the helm of the UNIP Government’s leadership but he held important positions to deserve recognition.
If the demands of Mr Zulu have grounds, we urge the Patriotic Front to come out in the open and do the needful.
Equally, it would be wise for the PF Government to explain to Zambians and Mr Zulu himself the reasons why it has been difficult to pay him benefits.
For Mr Zulu to complain 23 years after his party, UNIP, lost elections to the MMD, it shows that he has not received the deserved explanation about whether he qualifies to receive benefits.
But for the courts to rule that he is entitled to benefits, then he has strong grounds to cry foul.
Government has many legal brains who would take time to study the judgement in favour of Mr Zulu and explain the reasons why it was finding it difficult to pay to one of the leaders of Independence.
Government would lose nothing by publicly closing this case by doing what is legally and morally right – Pay Mr Grey Zulu his benefits.