STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka
FORMER President Rupiah Banda says it is only when the United Party for National Development (UPND) accept and recognise that President Lungu is the duly elected head of State that he can offer advice on the best way to move forward as a nation.
Mr Banda said the UPND ought to accept that the elections are over, and that President Lungu is in charge of the nation, and then other issues can be raised.
Mr Banda was responding to questions from journalists in Lusaka yesterday on why he has kept quiet over the incarceration of UPND president Hakainde Hichilema.
“Let us all accept that the elections are over. The Americans, the British, the Germans, the Zambians, everybody must recognise who the President is. After that has been done, then we the Zambians can talk about whatever you want me to say,” Mr Banda said.
Mr Banda gave an example of Zambia’s first President Kenneth Kaunda who conceded defeat to Dr Chiluba in 1991.
“In 1991 we went to the elections and Dr Kaunda was defeated. I was one of the four people that went to see him at night. Myself, his son Panji, a friend of mine called Mumba, I cannot remember the fourth one, to say look, people have spoken, what do we do? Dr Kaunda said, ‘Don’t worry my young men. I have decided to concede defeat tonight to the decision of the people,’” Mr Banda said.
Mr Banda said he too conceded defeat to Mr Michael Sata and the Patriotic Front in the 2011 elections.
He said the UPND must learn from Dr Kaunda and accept the result of the election.
“When I said that about Dr Kaunda (that he is a role model of democracy), I was attacked the next day by a young man I think Mweetwa from the UPND. I felt very sorry for him because he didn’t understand what I was trying to do. I was trying to open a discussion. I was trying to get them to understand that the first thing we have to do is to accept the result. Then discussions can begin,” he said.
Mr Banda wondered how the UPND expects the PF to accept defeat in 2021 in an event that the ruling party lost if they themselves are refusing to concede defeat now.
“Let us assume that there is another election in five years and the current Government loses and he (Hichilema) wins, he will expect that people accept.
“If he does not accept now why would he think that people will accept if he wins? So this is the issue that is creating the problem that we are facing right now,” Mr Banda said.