KELVIN CHONGO & HONE SIAME, Lusaka
FORMER President Rupiah Banda has urged politicians to be humble and emulate him and former President Kenneth Kaunda by conceding defeat in elections.
United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema and his party members have refused to accept the election of President Lungu as the sixth President of Zambia.
Mr Banda said Dr Kaunda conceded defeat in 1991 when he lost elections to Frederick Chiluba, who became Zambia’s second president.
“I remember on the night the United National Independence Party (UNIP) lost elections in 1991, Dr Kaunda said it is over now and went ahead to concede defeat and wished Dr Chiluba well,” he said.
Mr Banda said what happened to Dr Kaunda also happened to him when he lost the presidential election to Mr Michael Sata.
He said politicians must learn to be humble and concede defeat to maintain peace and unity in the country.
He said this yesterday in Lusaka when he presented birthday gifts to Dr Kaunda, who turned 93.
Mr Banda, who is fourth Republican President, said he has been following the foot-steps of Dr Kaunda, and this is why he conceded defeat to Mr Sata.
And British High Commissioner to Zambia Fergus Cochrane-Dyet says the United Kingdom (UK) and the rest of the international community recognise President Lungu as a democratically-elected head of State who should be accorded respect.
Mr Cochrane-Dyet says respect for a head of State is a fundamental rule in international relations and democracies.
He described the recent incident in Mongu where opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema’s convoy resisted police orders to give way to a presidential motorcade during the Kuomboka traditional ceremony as provocative.
Mr Cochrane-Dyet said this on Thursday evening at a reception he hosted at his residence in Lusaka to mark Queen Elizabeth’s 91st birthday.
He said the recognition of President Lungu as a legitimately-elected republican President was re-affirmed by a congratulatory to the head of State from Queen Elizabeth following his re-election in the August 11, 2016 general elections.
“It should be possible to combine polite respect, and adherence to Zambian protocol, with disagreement and even legal challenge. I repeat that the UK, along with the rest of the international community, has recognised the Zambia government,” he said.
He said the British government will continue working closely with the Zambian government under the leadership of President Lungu until the expiry of its current five-year mandate.
“We look forward to working in partnership with Zambia until the next elections,” he said.
On the Mongu incident, Mr Cochrane-Dyet said the incident appeared to be provocative and stressed the need for law and order for Zambia to sustain its long-outstanding international record as a beacon of peace.
He said the best response to political divisiveness is dialogue and compromise, tolerance, more freedom of expression, and more media freedom.
He said Zambians should not take the peace the country has enjoyed over the years for granted and that the current political impasse is a huge distraction to economic development.
Mr Cochrane-Dyet also commended the government for embarking on economic reform programmes aimed at addressing various problems besetting citizens.
He re-affirmed the British government’s commitment towards providing assistance to Zambia together with its other international allies.
And speaking on behalf of Government, Minister of Agriculture Dora Siliya said Zambia appreciates the social and economic support Britain has continued to provide.