Selective Jubilee honours annoy VJ

VETERAN politician Vernon Mwaanga is riled by the alleged selective manner with which Government has chosen to honour freedom fighters.

Dr Mwaanga said the decision to edit Zambia’s history by deliberately leaving out freedom fighters that belonged to the African National Congress (ANC) and opt to honour only those that were close to the current Government was not good for Zambia.

It was unfair, he said, that the awards were given to people that were only in good books with the current Government when there were many freedom fighters that fought for Zambia’s freedom but have never been recognised.

“More people fought for Zambia’s independence than those that were being awarded but they have been deliberately left out from the history of this country. Some Zambians fought for independence before 1964 but have been left out even from history books,” he said.

Dr Mwaanga said Zambians should not lose sight of who fought for freedom including those that were not in UNIP.

“That is why there was the Choma declaration where the two parties, the ANC and UNIP, agreed to work together but we are wondering why only freedom fighters who are in good books with the Government are the ones that are being honoured.

“According to the list published by Cabinet Office it is clear that only those in good boots with the current Government and this is the first time that it is happening. The manner also in which invitations are sent to people to attend the Golden Jubilee celebrations is selective. There is need to embrace freedom fighters that were there before independence and I am aware of the people that have not been honoured,” he said.

Dr Mwaanga, who was honoured by late president Levy Mwanawasa, has since urged Government to take stock and make sure that the honours to freedom fighters were inclusive and not exclusive.  He said it was a sad development as it had never happened in the past and it was clear that Cabinet was biased and emphasized that this should be corrected so that Zambians could have real facts on the freedom fighters.

Meanwhile, Dr Mwaanga said that as Zambia moved forward, its citizens were waiting for the original draft Constitution drafted by the technical committee and not an edited version. He said there was need for Government to engage with the church and civil society to provide for a clear road map for a referendum to adopt the Constitution. The veteran politician observed that Government had shown commitment by allocating K29 million to come up with the Constitution that would stand the test of time. He said Zambians should hold elections in 2016 under a new Constitution because the current one was for a one-party state. “The Constitution we are using now is for one-party state though it was slightly amended in 1991 and 1996. It is unfortunate that we should be using the one party Constitution when other countries have adopted new ones. The Constitution is the main law of the land and Government should make sure that it is completed on time,” Dr Mwaanga said.