Kitwe toasts Uhuru in style
By MAYA NTANDA -
COPPERBELT province, Kitwe in particular toasted the 49th Independence celebrations in grand style with Republican President Michael Sata who was accompanied by First Lady Dr Christine Kaseba gracing the occasion in the mining town.
The presence of the President Sata rekindled a new sense of feeling of Independence Day celebrations as it was the first time the Head of State was celebrating the day, outside the capital city since 1964.
This year’s Independence Day was celebrated under the theme: “Commemorating God’s favour of Zambia’s 50 years of independence for continued peace, unity, democracy, patriotism and prosperity.”
This year’s national event also saw the launch of the jubilee celebrations by President Sata to mark Zambia’s 50 years of independence scheduled for next year.
Copperbelt residents gathered in large numbers at the Kitwe Playing Field (KPF) to ensure that they were not left out in the historical event of being part of the celebrations.
Other dignitaries that attended the independence celebrations included Sports and Youth Minister Chishimba Kambwili, Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenge, several deputy ministers, Mayors, District commissioners from the Copperbelt towns and several councillors.
Others were opposition National Revolution Party leader Cosmo Mumba and his Green Party counterpart Peter Sinkamba, including several other opposition party members.
The event was characterised with music by the Defence choir, the Buomba cultural group, the Patriotic Front (PF) choir, Zambian based American musician Todd Seely and many others who gave the audience live performances.
Renowned comedian Bob Nkosha and Zambia National Broadcasting Services (ZNBC) personality, Anne Mukabe, were also at hand to direct the programme as masters of ceremony.
And as blessings were in the air, Kitwe experienced a heavy down pour on the eve of the Independence Day and in the early hours of the actual day itself, there were showers of blessings.
First Republican President Kenneth Kaunda, who was also part of the celebrations, flagged off his speech with his traditional song ‘Tiyende Pamodzi Ndimutima Umo’ and said the two years of President Sata’s stay in office had seen the country being saved from collapse.
Dr Kaunda praised Mr Sata for working hard by uniting and developing the country.
At the same function, President Sata conferred nine Zambian citizens with the Presidential honours and awards for their bravely and contribution towards service to the nation during the Investiture ceremony.
The Head of State re-affirmed Government’s commitment to transform the country by providing inspirational and visionary leadership to the nation and promoting inclusive governance.
He said that the year 2013 was a very important one as it marked two years of hard work and commitment by the PF in Government.
“It is with enormous pleasure that I am here today in this great city of Kitwe to join you in commemorating our 49th Independence Day celebrations as well as officially launching the Golden Jubilee celebrations.
“Our country will next year be commemorating 50 years of its Independence, we approach this milestone, proud that Zambia continues to enjoy political stability and has embraced democratic principles which have formed the basis for social and economic transformation for the betterment of the lives of our people,” he said.
Mr Sata said the PF Government was determined to create a better Zambia for all in line with the Patriotic Front (PF) manifesto, the basis upon which the party was elected into office.
The President emphasised that celebration of the Golden jubilee would be incomplete if the country did not recognise the many freedom fighters who fought for the freedom every Zambian was currently enjoying.
And former Kitwe mayor and former freedom fighter Cosmas Bwalya said in an interview that Government deserves to be commended for deciding to celebrate the 49th Independence anniversary in Kitwe.
Mr Bwalya said most people on the Copperbelt who participated in the freedom struggle including those born after Independence, believed and have complained over the years that they have been sidelined and that real and proper Independence celebrations where only held in Lusaka where the President and ministers are domiciled.
But it was gratifying that the tables had turned this time around and saw Kitwe hosting the big event with most of the freedom fighters who contributed to the current independence resurfacing at the event.
He said the Independence Anniversary should be a time for all well meaning Zambians to remember and pray for the gallant men and women who lost their precious lives at the hands of colonial masters not only in this country, but the whole continent of Africa.
National Restoration Party (NAREP) Copperbelt Information Publicity Secretary Joshua Mfune congratulated President Sata for being part of the 49th Independence Day celebrations in Kitwe.
Mr Mfune said the gesture by the Head of State to celebrate Independence on the Copperbelt province was fantastic and should be extended to other provinces.
“It’s the first time we have seen a Republican President celebrate Independence Day away from Lusaka, It is wonderful, fantastic and should be extended to other provinces,” he said.
And NAREP Chingola District Secretary Bernard Mwila said shunning the ‘uhuru’ celebrations by some opposition political parties was an insult to Zambians and the freedom fighters who worked hard to liberate the country.
Mr Mwila urged fellow opposition political parties to avoid being bitter but put the country’s interest first.
Kitwe, the Hub of the Copperbelt province, will go down in history as the district that celebrated Independence Day away from the capital city for the first time since 1964 and the gesture should be extended to other provinces so that citizens can have a feel of being part of the national event.