Elias Chipimo enchanted UPND supporters and officials on Friday night when he said Hakainde Hichilema is a unifier and that he will have no problem if he became President of Zambia before him. Chipimo, who is opposition National Restoration Party (NAREP) president, rebuked the UPND membership for failing to do “a good enough job” to share Hichilema’s character as a unifier. Chipimo was speaking at Hotel InterContinental in Lusaka at the 20th anniversary of the UPND’s existence.
“…This man (Hichilema) is a unifier and I encourage you (UPND members)…I’m actually going to admonish you; you don’t do a good enough job to share the nature of a man that he is. You are now relying on me as his political colleague to be the one to sell him. Shame on you!” Chipimo said.
He then told the audience that he would, for the night, do “your job.”
“This man is a unifier. I would have no problem, should God so decide, that he goes before me becoming President of this nation. And I also know he will have no problem if I go before him!” Chipimo said, sending the audience into merriment.
“But I respect and cherish the hard work that he has put in all these years to fight for a better Zambia.”
The opposition leader added that there was need for a united voice on national matters because there was only one Zambia.
“We have to fight to protect it (Zambia) from the people who are destroying it right now. We know who those people are [and] we don’t even need to name [them]. We cannot let any more time pass by; we must unite,” he emphasised.
“Imagine if every single time there is an issue, we are to stand shoulder to shoulder on the same platform with each other and fight against the changes that need to be made to the judiciary, to the Constitution, to the electoral laws, to media freedoms, to political violence.”
Chipimo cautioned that without unity, “we may end up in the same situation that we are facing right now after 2021.”
“We cannot let that happen! We cannot allow future generations to look at us as a disappointment because somehow we failed to work together. So, that is my appeal,” Chipimo said.
And before leaving the stage, Chipimo indicated that he had a provocative question.
“That provocative question is following what you said, bwana director of programmes (Choma Central UPND member of parliament Cornelius Mweetwa). You said ‘in 2021 (we have to defeat the PF.)’ So, my question is, do we have to wait that long?” said Chipimo, as the audience chorused into “No.”