Please allow me to express my feelings about a thorny issue in the history of Zambia.
One of the men I respect is my former teacher and Christian mentor Jorn Perdersen. He said, “ If we forget our roots, we may bear flowers but without fruit.” If we ignore our past, our future will be blurred. We will fail to interpret our tomorrow.
Zambian politics and economics are incomplete without the story of the former President Fredrick Jacob Titus Chiluba (MSRIP).
It looks like he is a forgotten hero. Sometimes to mention his name is to ask for anger from some circles.
Chiluba is the father of democracy in Zambia. He changed the way politics were done in Zambia.
A darkened heart of hate erases and overshadows the good that a person has done by magnifying the perceived evil.
On account of the few people who disliked him, his involvement in the change that we are now enjoying has been obscured.
Very few people talk or celebrate the life of FTJ. But I refuse to let history be distorted by people that want to portray him as a wicked man that need not to be remembered.
Chiluba was a brave man. As a trade unionist, FTJ played a gigantic role in influencing Zambians to choose multi-party democracy as opposed to a one-party participatory democracy which we had for 27 years.
Chiluba already had a following of many unions. Before him, no political party was allowed to be formed nor participated in choosing their own leader.
It was during his presidency that we learned to go for elections after every 5 years. He is the author of our democracy in Zambia.
Chiluba liberalised the political and economic participation in Zambia. This is what we are enjoying now. Before him, the economy was run by the state.
In those days, if you buy a car, you will be under investigations. The shushushu (the OP, SITET) were everywhere monitoring who was perceived against the government.
KK had one of the most sophisticated intelligence systems in Africa. They seemed to know everything about everyone.
KK brought the first liberation, and FTJ brought the second liberation. Today we can talk and debate over politics or economy freely.
We can hear political parties even insulting and no body follows them. Those days, you would be gone to some places no one would know.
I remember I was at college that time, and you have to always look over your shoulder before you could say anything about the government.
Chiluba allowed us to speak freely and join any political party of our choice. Today we are free. How can we forget such a man?
FTJ being a Christian was the one who made the declaration that Zambia shall be a Christian nation. And it was because of him that the declaration was put in the preamble of our constitution.
Today any politician who wants to win elections pledges to keep that in the constitution even those who are not Christians knowing that most people in Zambia are Christian. Indeed FTJ changed our story.
He had his own weakness and made some mistakes like trying to avenge and fix President Kenneth Kaunda, and by accepting wrong economical advice of privatizing the mines which brought our nation to its knees.
Those mistakes should never erase the positive input and sacrifices he made to make a free Zambia we are enjoying today.
We owe FTJ respect and love. One of the reasons some people have tried to paint him as a wicked man, is because they were not in good terms with him.
They screamed the loudest that he was a criminal and yet the courts found him and declared him innocent.
Today those that were tasked to investigate the nearly 60 million dollars in money and assets allegedly stolen during Chiluba’s presidency are the very people being investigated for abuse of office.
Chiluba must be honoured somehow. Our history will never be complete without him. He is a piece of the puzzle to complete our history.
I suggest that his grave site be done in the same way like that of late Mwanawasa and some institutions, bridges and roads be named after him.
We cannot continue showing an attitude of dishonour to a man who did so much and hope that all shall go well in the nation. Chiluba was a hero of democracy.
Bishop Alick Malama.