Statement by the President of the National Restoration Party following the Election of President Michael Sata as Zambia’s 5th Republican President
Ladies and gentlemen, my fellow youth, countrymen and women. We celebrate a new day under a new government with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to building a Zambia that we hope and believe will take into account the wishes and aspirations of the many rather than just the few.
Our excitement today stems from a collective sense of relief; even more, it stems from a collective sense of joy that we as a people could peacefully transition our nation to an alternative political establishment without bloodshed or manipulation. We can all stand truly proud as a nation, of what we have achieved in deepening and strengthening democracy on our continent. Indeed, the world has marvelled at the resilience of the Zambian people to stand together to demonstrate that there is no power other than God that is greater than that of the people.
This victory belongs to the Zambian people – and to them, we the leaders of political parties, must collectively say: thank you. For this is not about winners and losers. It is not about the patriotic front and the MMD. It is not even about an old era and a new era – that change is yet to come. This victory is about the right to determine a future for ourselves and the generations that will follow by safeguarding the fundamental freedoms that protect our right to demand and deliver political change. The freedoms we have confirmed in the outcome we witnessed last week must be jealously guarded and protected. That is not the job of the politicians. It is the job of every Zambian and we must each rise up to meet the responsibility that this demands.
Indeed, the people of Zambia have spoken with a clear and emphatic voice. They have once again chosen peace over anger; hope over despair; courage over fear; and change over the perpetuation of power by a regime that had deprived millions of decent livelihoods while seeking to preserve its own continuity.
What the people of Zambia have done in reality is pass their verdict in a referendum on the last three years of an administration that had become far too comfortable with itself and too uncomfortable with implementing tangible development plans that could benefit all of the people rather than just the few.
But now is not the time for complacency. Now is the time for hard work and sacrifice. Now is not the time to worry about missed opportunity. Now is the time to seize the moment and embrace the chance to embed real and democratic change in our institutions and our very way of life. This will mean setting out an immediate plan of action for:
- Dealing decisively with the corruption that has robbed our children of a decent future
- Developing a constitution that will truly stand the test of time and limit excessive powers
- Making our electoral commission truly independent
- Empowering our women and our youth by investing in their development
- Reducing wasteful expenditure and investing in delivery of quality healthcare and education
As an opposition party, we urge the new administration to exercise tolerance and restraint and to build a culture of reconciliation within the nation. Our role will not be oppose for the sake of opposing but to work as responsible custodians with the new leadership commending them where their work is consistent with the correct governance standards and challenging approaches they may take that could retard our progress.
But in the end, it should be clear to all that the seeds of a new beginning have been planted. The people of Zambia have spoken and their voice is loud and clear. The future we all seek can be attained. But this will require vigilance and determination not to squander the opportunities presented to us by this victory; the people’s victory.
We congratulate the Patriotic Front and its leader Mr. Michael Sata on this victory and we once again congratulate you the people of Zambia.
NAREP has made a lasting impact in these elections and we want to thank all those that voted for us, all those that sympathised with our cause for a better Zambia for how proud they made us feel last week. We know that many that voted for change shared our vision of a new Zambia but felt that out time was yet to come. To you, we say: we are here. We will not abandon your belief in our cause to deliver values-based leadership for Zambia and to press for the changes we can and should demand of our national leadership today.
We urge you all to work with us in building a new generation of leadership by starting where you are, with what you have.
I thank you all and may God’s grace be with you all.