Zambia is running out of freedom fighters – Scott
Vice President Guy Scott has observed that the country is running out of freedom fighters and thus Government is next year considering identifying and honouring national heroes beyond 1964.
Dr Scott said this at Government House in Lusaka on Sunday when he hosted a dinner for the Freedom Fighters honoured by President Michael Sata during Africa Freedom Day celebrations.
Dr Scott, who had just returned from South Africa where he witnessed the inauguration of that country’s President Jacob Zuma, said Zambia and South Africa attained Independence in different years and thus their freedom fighters belonged to different age groups.
“I have just been in South Africa, the difference there (is that) they got their Independence 20 years ago; we got our Independence 50 years ago so when you say, in South Africa, bring me a freedom fighter, it
can even be a young chap.
“Here in Zambia, if you want a freedom fighter, myself I only just qualified, I will be 70-years-old next week.
“Others are more than that. You are 80 or 90 but somebody who is 50 years old to come and say I am a
freedom fighter, he’s lying. He was born in 1964, how was he going to have been freedom fighting before that?” he said.
Dr Scott said Zambia was running out of freedom fighters and noted the need for the country to change its targets and focus on doing something to make it a great country, which people looked forward to associating with.
“One day even the last freedom fighter will be dead, hopefully it will be me but maybe I will be dead before them and then what shall we do? We can’t keep looking to the past and say yes it was a great
battle. We have to move forward and put ourselves into the 21st century and make ourselves a modern country.
“So in many ways, maybe even this will be the last day, the last year in which we will be looking for freedom fighters. I think next year will change style and start looking for heroes, start looking for
people who have been heroes of events that have happened since Independence,” he said.
Dr Scott said he had chaired the committee which had identified this year’s Africa Freedom Day awards recipients and earlier refused to address his guests insisting that he would only do so after they had had their meals.
In his vote of thanks on behalf of the award recipients, Cyprian Mulonda said the freedom fighters were overjoyed at President Sata and his Government’s decision to honour them as previous administrations had neglected them.
“What you have done in the 50th year of Independence, if it will continue us as your parents even if we die, will say we liberated the country and left it with people who will take good care of it,” he said.
Mr Mulonda, who is Mansa District Freedom Fighters Association chairperson implored Government officials at district and provincial levels to embrace freedom fighters and respect them as their parents who contributed to the freedom the country was enjoying.
Also in attendance were Deputy Minister in the Vice-President’s office Davies Mwango, Home Affairs Deputy Minister Nickson Chilangwa, Defence Deputy Minister Joseph Lungu and Local Government and Housing Deputy Minister Forrie Tembo.