[By Mwaka Ndawa and Chambwa Moonga]
UPND chairman for elections Garry Nkombo shed tears of joy this morning as his party president Hakainde Hichilema was declared winner of the August 12, 2021 presidential election.
And Nkombo says UPND founding president Anderson Mazoka’s soul now lies in peace with the party’s victory.
Nkombo, who returned his seat in Mazabuka Central led his team in popping champagne (moet et chandon) and toast to success after his party was crowned winner by Electoral Commission of Zambia chairperson judge Esau Chulu.
It was a momentous occasion for members of the public who thronged the national totalling centre (Mulungushi International Conference Centre) in jubilation for their transition.
The crowd which was dominated by youths took their celebrations to the streets and blocked Great East Road and chanted “abwelele ku Chawama (he ‘Lungu’ should return to Chawama)”.
Police officers could not control the crowd as it was overwhelming but they kept vigil.
The youths pulled down PF posters hanging at Manda Hill footbridge.
The UPND overpowered the PF with a margin of 996,556 in 155 constituencies across the country with Mandevu left to be counted.
Speaking after the totaling of results was concluded, Nkombo said the dream of UPND’s founding father, late Anderson Mazoka, has been achieved through its triumph with the help of the people.
He assured electorates that his party was competent.
“I am very certain that this is a new beginning. I would like to thank the almighty God who makes light come into darkness…. This day was long time coming, I don’t even know if I will have a job in this new government because Mr Hichilema, if he was here, he would not have tossed to anything,” Nkombo said.
“We jumped the protocol as far as he (Hakainde) is concerned, there is nothing to celebrate. This country has got a lot of challenges which the Zambian people in their collective wisdom have decided to lamp on the shoulders of this one man but we must be quick to say that this one man is equal to the task and you must all watch the space.”
He said the ousting of the PF from power was not done by the UPND alone but Zambians whom they [UPND] owe allegiance to.
“You don’t need to be told that the UPND has been in this struggle for 23 years and to find themselves in a position of authority, we call it the position of authority courtesy of the Zambian people rather than a position of power because the power belongs to the people,” Nkombo said.
“We want to thank the youth bracket of this country because they were the most hit by the recklessness, shortsightedness, myopic nature of the government of the PF. We want to assure you that we will not let you down. We will make sure that the national resources are utilised to the best interest of those we have endevoured to serve.”
Nkombo said Hichilema was a true definition of tenacity as he was bold in the midst of trouble, and death.
He hinted that the UPND government would restructure the ECZ and ensure that it is free from political interference.
“Under this new order, we are going to create a truly independent electoral commission. We will not swallow our words; commissioners will have to come from different political persuasions rather than being appointed by one human being,” Nkombo said.
He added that no citizen would be victimised using the public order Act.
“We believe in the fundamental freedoms of people. The Public Order Act has been abused by successive governments. It has been operating under the whims of human beings. This government is going to be that of laws rather than that of men. The POA will be reformed. In its current form, it is lacking a little bit, but the past government used it to abuse citizens. That will be completely avoided in the government of UPND. No citizen will be a victim of the law,” said Nkombo.
“Mazoka’s soul now lies in peace because this (victory) was his dream and we will not let him down.”
And Nicholas Malata, a Lusaka resident, urged the new government to create jobs for youths.
“We want everyone to be treated fairly in relation to jobs. I don’t expect the new government to fulfill all the promises like mealie-meal to come back to K50 soon, it will take a little bit of time but we have to be patient. He (HH) will try to change some of the things like corruption and other things people campaigned against. I was almost leaving for the diaspora if the PF bounced back but I now have hope things will change,” said Malata.