IT IS ridiculous for some opposition political parties to shun the Independence Day celebrations because the event goes beyond political affiliations, former freedom fighter and veteran politician Sikota Wina has said. Mr. Wina has described the opposition’s boycott to attend the Independence celebrations as refusal to acknowledge that Zambia was an independent State. He said only people who were not happy and proud that Zambia got her Independence could shun such an important national event. Mr. Wina stated that the Independence Day celebration was far beyond political affiliations, charging that the move by some opposition political parties to shun the celebration was not in the interest of the country, but selfish interest. “This is a day when we celebrate our freedom from bondage, and one shunning such an event is giving a message that they lack that feeling of being happy that we got Independence. “Independence Day celebrations are way beyond political affiliation. We are not celebrating a particular party, but we are celebrating our nationhood. So unless one is annoyed with our nationhood, one should definitely not participate in celebrating it,” Mr. Wina. He indicated that national events such as Independence Day must be valued and respected because they provided a forum for unity and harmony. Mr. Wina said political parties should put the national interest before anything else by being party to national events that helped foster the unity of the country. “National events like Independence give us an opportunity to get together and so political differences must be handled at other fora other than this. There is need to respect the Independence Day because a lot of sacrifices were made to attain the freedom that Zambia is enjoying now,” he said. And Mr. Wina has implored Zambians to guard jealously and uphold the sanctity of the nation’s Independence attained at great pain by the founding fathers and make the country a better place for all. He said freedom must not be taken for granted, urging Zambians to strive hard for peace and unity of the country at all times. “Every Zambian has a responsibility to contribute to maintaining the peace that the country is enjoying. Attaining Independence was not easy, blood was shed and the greatest way to honour the people who fought hard for this is to remain united and work hard for the development of Zambia,” Mr Wina said.