Wednesday, January 16, 2008
By Brighton Phiri
Wednesday January 16, 2008 [03:00]
DR Kenneth Kaunda yesterday said the government's planned increase in mineral revenue was long overdue. And Dr Kaunda disclosed that he preached "One Kenya One Nation" slogan to the displaced Kenyans during his peace mission in that country last week
Commenting on President Mwanawasa's announcement that government would introduce a new tax regime that would increase its share of mining revenue, Dr Kaunda said every Zambian should support the government's decision, as it would benefit them.
"I wish the decision was taken yesterday. I am in full support of government's decision. They must implement it now for the good of Zambians," Dr Kaunda said.
On his peace mission in Kenya, Dr Kaunda said the destruction caused by the Kenyan post election violence evoked a lot of sadness in the minds of the former African presidents who last week visited the country.
The four former African presidents; Joackim Chissano (Mozambique), Dr Kaunda (Zambia), Ketumire Masire (Botswana), and Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania last week visited Kenya under the African Forum peace building assignment.
The four African presidents who were led by African Forum chairman Chissano visited Eldoret, one of the hardest hit towns by the Kenyan post election violence.
"It was an extremely useful visit. We, during the time of our visit, learnt a lot. When we were there, the figures of the dead persons was 400, but now it has increased to over 600.
It was a sorrowful picture to see wrecks of wheelchairs, an indication that defenceless disabled persons were victims of the violence," Dr Kaunda said.
"It is an extremely serious problem, which has been seen by many as something fuelled by ethnic differences.
Our visit brought out a lot of sadness in our minds. The only thing I can do now is to plead with all those involved in the violence to begin forgiving each other and finding best ways of working together."
He said the violence was a product of increased poverty as the gap between the rich and poor people continued to widen in Kenya.
Dr Kaunda said ethnic differences and high poverty levels contributed to the worsening political tension in Kenya.
"We went there to meet the Kenyan government to assist them to understand what this means and how they can handle it," he said. "Our task was to ask both the government and opposition leaders to have their country's interest at heart and place it above partisan and ethnic interests."
Dr Kaunda disclosed that the African Forum delegation met both the government and opposition leaders, whom he said expressed their commitment to dialogue and national peace.
He said during their site visits of the affected areas, he preached reconciliation and healing among the people and their leaders.
Dr Kaunda said in his "gospel" he chanted "One Kenya One Nation" slogan because he saw the need to preach love and unity.
"I was motivated by the fact that this slogan worked effectively here in Zambia. Mind you this was not a UNIP slogan but a motto of the nation," he said.
Dr Kaunda asked Zambians to learn from the Kenyan experience, saying the ugly signs of tribal alliances which were mushrooming in the political arena was dangerous for the country's unity and peace.
He asked Zambians to avoid political alliances that were anchored on tribal links.
"Let us get united and get through our problems as one united nation," he said.