By CHUSA SICHONE-
FIRST Republican President Dr Kenneth Kaunda has urged Zambians to remain united regardless of their divergent backgrounds.
Dr Kaunda said this during the launch of his 90th birthday celebrations at his office in Lusaka yesterday.
He reiterated his appeal for adherence to the One Zambia One Nation motto and avoiding any divisive elements.
“Continue to build One Zambia One Nation, it’s a great thing. One Zambia One Nation so that even if we hear so many things being talked about, parties or what have you, please ignore them. Remember, one Zambia is one nation,” Dr Kaunda said.
Dr Kaunda said the One Zambia One Nation slogan meant unity across colour, tribe, faith and against any other divisive elements.
When Dr Kaunda arrived at his Kabulonga office around 10:00 hours, he was surprised to be welcomed by Vice-President Guy Scott’s wife Charlotte, Deputy Permanent Secretary to the Cabinet Peter Kasanda, KK at 90 committee chairperson David Kombe and Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Zhou Yuxiao, among others.
Dr Kaunda only came to learn what was happening shortly afterwards when he was led to a marquee where some Freedom Fighters and local artistes as well as other people were waiting to welcome him.
It was after leading the gathering to singing his favourite Tiyende Pamodzi song that he confessed that no one had told him that such an event was happening at his office.
“You know my age. I don’t remember at any time when I have been surprised in this way as I was today.They didn’t tell me anything about it at all and if I came a few minutes late, ladies and gentlemen, your excellencies, it was not deliberate at all, I didn’t know,” he said.
He described the surprise as amazing, incredible and wonderful and was grateful to everyone for the gesture.
“Am sorry Betty is not here but it has happened what can we do? She’s not here but am representing her,” he said.
At the same event, Brian Chengala’s Shakarongo Arts and Youth Academy (SAYA) with support from Raising Rhythm from Canada presented Dr Kaunda with a guitar, which he tested by strumming to a song.
InterBrands Investments and Distributors also presented gifts to Dr Kaunda and other Freedom Fighters present.
Mr Kombe said yesterday marked the launch of the 90 Minutes Helping Hand programme aimed at dedicating of 90 minutes at individual and institutional level to lend a helping hand to the needy in society as part of the activities lined up ahead of Dr Kaunda’s 90th birthday on April 28.
Dr Kasanda echoed Mr Kombe’s remarks that Government had decided that Dr Kaunda’s 90th birthday and Golden Jubilee celebrations go hand in hand and recalled how he worked as Dr Kaunda’s private secretary for a decade.
Gender Permanent Secretary Annie Sinyangwe said the country was indebted to Freedom Fighters for what it was now, owing to their vision for unity, prosperity and peace. She said this was why they needed to be honoured and respected for God to continue blessing the country.
Among the Freedom Fighters in attendance were Sikota Wina, Peter Matoka and Mama Kankasa.
By CHUSA SICHONE-