Thursday, February 23, 2012

Anti-realignment activists flood Mazabuka with fliers

Anti-realignment activists flood Mazabuka with fliers
By Henry Chibulu in Mazabuka and Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Thu 23 Feb. 2012, 11:59 CAT

A youth group calling itself "Mazabuka Youth Entrepreneurs" opposed to President Michael Sata's realignment of Chirundu and Itezhi-tezhi districts yesterday distributed over 3,000 fliers in strategic places in readiness for today's demonstration which has been cancelled by police. Mazabuka Police has cancelled the demonstration on grounds that the organisation the youths are purported to be representing is fake and not registered.

Mazabuka district officer commanding Lizzy Machina warned the demonstrators against breaking the law but instead follow procedure to avoid prosecution. But youth coordinator, Grovies Mushibwe and his group distributed the fliers carrying messages which stated: "Say no to dictatorship" and "Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour's landmarks".

The youths through the fliers have also warned that not even an inch of the land belonging to Southern Province would be removed by the head of state.

And Mushibwe said police yesterday summoned him to explain why the permit was not granted, but was however quick to point out that his group was advised to re-apply and a fresh application was re-submitted the same day (yesterday).

Mushibwe, who is also MMD Mazabuka constituency youth chairman, is organising the demonstration with his UPND counterpart Mwendabai Pelekelo and nine others, some believed to be Tonga fundamentalists.

Citizens Forum Mazabuka chairperson, Mussolini Buumba, who is the elder brother of Mazabuka Mayor Lloyd Buumba is among the organisers.

The youths had invited MMD presidential aspirant, Nevers Mumba and UPND Mazabuka member of parliament, Garry Nkombo to take part in the demonstrations and according to organisers, the two leaders were just waiting for confirmation with regards to police granting the youths a permit.

According to the organisers of the demonstrations, youths from other districts would join the other demonstrations set for February 29.

But Mazabuka District Commissioner Eugine Munyama warned the demonstrators not to test the wrath of the law.

He said the demonstration was illegal because Mazabuka was not Chirundu or Itezhi-tezhi.

"Yes, I can confirm receipt of the letter from the youths informing me of the demonstration to be held today. However, I will not involve myself in illegal activities aimed at frustrating government efforts," said Munyama.

Munyama wondered why the MMD and UPND were inciting youths to demonstrate when people in the affected districts were quiet and happy with the realignment of the districts by the head of state.

He wondered why politicians found pleasure in creating disturbances in Mazabuka when people in other districts were going about their economic activities despite the pronouncements.

And Southern Province members of parliament, chiefs, councillors, women and youth groupings will meet in Choma on March 12 to come up with a common resolve over Chirundu and Itezhi-tezhi.

In an interview yesterday, Chief Mukuni said the Choma meetings would be held at three different venues with each group meeting separately so that no group influences the other.

"We have resolved as chiefs that we hold a meeting on March 12 at Mahogany while the other stakeholders such as the area members of parliament in the province, councilors, women and youth groupings will hold theirs at separate venues. However, we shall all gather later at the Central Sports Club to have the resolutions of all the groups integrated into one," he said.

Chief Mukuni said the meetings had been organised as a reaction to the government request through Southern Province minister Miles Sampa who on February 17 wrote to chief Mukuni requesting that stakeholders meetings be held and resolutions be given to him for onward transformation to President Sata.

Chief Mukuni, who is also chairperson of the Southern Royal Foundation, said he was opposed to the realigning of Chirundu and Itezhi-tezhi because it takes away human cultural identity of the people of the two districts.

Chief Mukuni said he was opposed to the realigning on grounds that the move would now entail the teaching of Nyanja and Bemba to school children as is the case in Central and Lusaka provinces.

"The best way to destroy a human being is to destroy his identity, make him feel ashamed of his new identity," he said.

Chief Mukuni said Southern Province chiefs felt short changed over the creation of Muchinga Province when they had also proposed to State House under former president Rupiah Banda to have Southern Province divided into two provinces namely Southern and Zambezi Valley.

"We feel it is difficult for us to believe that the alienation of Chirundu and Itezhi-tezhi is based on developmental issues as the office of district commissioners have gone back to politicians," he said.

Chief Mukuni accused the PF government of taking away Chirundu and Itezhi-tezhi in light of decentralisation so as to take away the high revenues being earned and the anticipated revenue from the Kafue Hydro Power Station in Itezhi-tezhi.

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