Zambia’s Hakainde Hichilema returns to the political hotbed of Barotseland

22 December 2017
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Hakainde Hichilema's emotional return to Barotseland

 

Following the infamous clash of motorcades on Barotseland’s Mongu-Limulunga Road at April’s Kuomboka festival that saw him and five others imprisoned for four months on treason charges, Zambia’s main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema on Wednesday made an emotional return to Mongu.

Hichilema, who was accompanied by United Party for National Development (UPND) chairperson Mutale Nalumango and several other senior party officials, drove on the Mongu – Limulunga road that many are now referring to as the “treason road” on their way to paying a courtesy call on the King of Barotseland, Lubosi Imwiko II.

The UPND leader later launched his party’s card renewal exercise and addressed thousands of excited Mongu residents at Mulambwa school grounds, carefully staying away from issuing any statements or any commitments on the contentious subject of Barotseland’s self-determination.

And thousands of Mongu residents in the embattled territory turned up for the UPND card renewal exercise which was graced by Mr. Hichilema, party National Chairperson Mrs. Mutale Nalumango and several senior party officials.

“Thank you, people of Mongu. Your support is intriguing and motivates me to continue on this journey of fighting for a better Zambia, but let me ask you to remain strong and don’t fear anyone except God,” announced the opposition leader who many in the region believe was robbed of the 2016 presidential vote.

“I want to extend this to Mr. Edgar Lungu who arrested us immediately we left this land, that, don’t fear that ‘Hakainde will arrest me and take me to Lilayi police, to Chimbokaila, to Mukobeko like I did to him.’ No, get it from me, Lungu; I will not have time to arrest you because by then I will be busy working to bring about development in our country, development mwa Bulozi (Barotseland), ku Kaputa and everywhere. I will be very busy ensuring that our country’s laws are followed to the letter by all,” said Mr. Hichilema as thousands applauded.

And the UPND President has added that arresting those who jailed him would not make him different from them hence focusing on moving Zambia from a poor country to a middle-income country.

“This country needs development, not arrests; arrests of those with better ideas on how to develop our country is pure archaeological or simply ancient thinking and as HH, I will not go that direction; people want development, malozi babata zwelopili (Barotse want development), abena Kopala balefwaya inchito, abena Northern balefwaya ubuyantashi and banzatu ku Chipata bafuna chitukuko not pangas, guns and meaningless if not evil arrests,” said Mr. Hichilema.

Further, the UPND President stated that he was back in the territory to express his thanks for the support the people showed to him before and after his arrest.

Mr. Hichilema also added that he was only being delayed to run the government but that delay is in no way denial.

He added that Zambians must now stand up for credible leadership and not those whose interest is to plunder public resources through corruption and close the independent media for fear of being exposed.

“We will develop this country in totality and not in partial segments as the case is now, and this is why my brothers and sisters, I am saying I will not have time to arrest those who arrested me, because what I want is for them to see how developing a country is done, I was arrested because you welcomed me in a thunderous manner and that is how those bitter people arrested me, but don’t worry, we are strong and 10 times stronger,” he said.

“Their 127 days did not break us so I call on all of you to remain strong and stop fearing but only fear God, because that night they came to kill me, they took me to Lilayi, Chimbokaila and Mukobeko to kill me but God said not HH, Hakainde has to work and develop this country, so don’t fear,” said Mr. Hichilema.

And on the economic front, Mr. Hichilema said that in Zambia it was now clear that no good road leads to good things ahead as is the case in other countries citing ‘Western province’ as one province which has been neglected.

He said the only viable and possible economic road to ‘Western province’ is the Lusaka-Mongu road which he said was also in a deplorable state.

“Cry my beloved country that today we cannot say a good road leads to good things ahead because we now even don’t have good roads, if one existed just know that ahead of it lies poverty, because PF and Lungu stole the money meant to improve the lives of the people, Lungu and his associates pocketed the money meant to create small-scale businesses that would, in turn, create jobs for our people. But worry not; hope and help is around the corner,” Mr Hichilema stated.

“Yes we have been cheated a lot but this time as a country we must demand normal leadership that will not abrogate the constitution with impunity, by the way, in our government anyone caught stealing will be facing the law and we mean it, we are not joking because serving the people will be first and not what is happening now and I have heard some in their wildest dreams talking about us recognising them if the dialogue process is to go ahead, well, this is the problem of having dictators, there is no law that compels abena Kopala to recognise someone, so whoever wants that must hear the petition, because recognition and petition is like a phone and sim card, without the other, you cannot communicate.”

“Let me state here that I remain committed to the dialogue process and no maneuver by the other side (PF) must be entertained because why would someone who won an election and is a democrat fear to face me or dialogue? Why? Ayopa chani? We want that dialogue so that we can reform public institutions and just maybe some people as well especially those that never want to be told the truth,” said Mr. Hichilema.

SOURCES: Lusaka Times and Online Media

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The Barotseland Post, also known as The Barotsepost, is an online media platform, for now, that is dedicated to reporting stories and news around Barotseland and beyond, giving exclusive coverage and access to the people and the nation of Barotseland to fully express themselves in their aspirations for self- determination.