Speech by the patriotic front secretary general hon. Edgar lungu at the state funeral of his excellency president michael chilufya sata- 11thth november 2014
your excellencies heads of states and government’s present; leaders of delegation
the first lady, dr. Christine kaseba-sata;
your excellency the acting president of the republic of zambia;
members of the central committee of the patriotic front;
the honourable cabinet ministers;
senior government officials;
distinguished guests and fellow mourners.
On a day as difficult as today, the day we have to let go of the remains of our president, his excellency, michael chilufya sata, allow me to talk a little about him, before subsequently addressing my self to my fellow zambians, our neighbors, and all people of good will, as well as the international community.
During the difficult days of opposition politics, whenever, anyone dared express concern about president sata’s welfare, particularly when he was being harassed, president sata’s response all the time was, “cry for yourselves do not weep for me”. When the heart breaking news of his demise spread across zambia, anguish and pain pierced our hearts. The entire country paused, and then descended into mourning. Fellow country men and women, we have been mourning for ourselves. Our leader, our defender, the advocate for the poor and marginalized finished his work. He did so, with distinction and earned himself a place amongst the greatest leaders of our time.
Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, with time, the pain of losing president sata may end, but we shall never, ever, forget him. The lessons he passed unto us are our inspiration will forever be our inspirition. The fight for a prosperous and just society that president sata so passionately fought for must be won.
President sata was a very unique and generous person. He was a great teacher and guardian of the universal human values of love, compassion, solidarity, equity and justice. He strongly believed that, all human beings have a duty to each other. As a result, president sata’s politics were about “being of service to fellow human beings”. It was for that reason, that president sata never wavered from drawing attention to the sufferings of our people at home and abroad. His favorite question when we seemed indifferent to the suffering of others was: “what kind of human beings are we, who can allow indignities of poverty and human suffering in a world of plenty? Commitment to upholding human dignity, your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen was the defining characteristic of our departed president.
As a teacher, president sata did not use many words. He often used subtle humor and action to drive his point home. He responded to the problems of our time by doing something about them. And he often reminded us that, he was in a hurry to leave zambia a better place than he found it. His commitment to improving the living conditions of the very poor led him into the trade union movement and subsequently the struggle for zambia’s independence, and indeed the liberation of our region, southern africa. President sata never rushed into leadership of our country. After attainment of the country’s independence, he sought to contribute to the development of the country through private enterprise. He did so very successfully, but regretably he found the pace of our social and economic development too slow and inconsistent. This state of affairs forced him back into the political arena.
President sata scored successes in almost everything he did, but the successes never changed his beliefs and values. He remained true to his beliefs even when they were not shared by the rich and powerful. He was faithful to his values. He actively fought for his beliefs, human dignity and justice. The desire to create a more humane society in which even the poor and marginalized had a chance eventually forced him to offer himself for the leadership of zambia. He thus founded the patriotic front in 2001 with just a few like minded people, who have remained his faithful comrades to the very end.
Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the patriotic front is committed to the promotion of human dignity and the creation of a just and prosperous society. Within that broad, mission the patriotic front also advocates for the poor and marginalized, the dispossessed, orphans and widows, as well the physically challenged. We strongly believe that, it is possible to create a more just and caring society, a society in which every honest individual willing to work hard can hope for and attain a better life. We are, however, also alive to the fact that, wealth is created by individuals through hard work in a free and open society, in which the laws of supply and demand influence production and productivity levels. The patriotic front does not, therefore, begrudge those who earn their wealth through hard work, honest and fair means. It is in fact, our hope that, the industry and discipline of the honest entrepreneurs can rub on the bulk of our citizens and help us speed up the creation of a more just and prosperous society.
Your excellencines, ladies and gentlemen, our values in the patriotic front, have been passed unto us by the great leader we are putting to rest today. It is therefore our duty to ensure that, president michael chilufya sata’s aspirations for zambia are realized. This is essential to truly honour president sata.
Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, while president sata lived, he was the glue that held our party, the patriotic front together. It is in fact true that, “michael chilufya sata was the patriotic front and without him there was no pf”. Is the pf going to survive without president sata? Certainly, the patriotic front shall live on, because president sata was a great teacher. He passed on his political values to a cross section of our leaders and members. In his physical absence, his ideals and values shall guide and bind us together. The future of the patriotic front is therefore assured.
President sata’s party is, however, not for sale to the highest bidder. Its core constituency, the poor and marginalized shall not allow special interests and cartels devoted only to their individual self interests and greed to take away the only instrument for their liberation.. To honour president sata, we shall remain true to the universal human principles and values, he so ably taught us. The pf cannot, therefore, be diverted from its mission of transforming zambia into a more just and prosperous country. It shall continue to pursue its mission until zambia is transformed into a modern, prosperous, and decent society, in which every human being, regardless of social status, gender or ethnicity has a chance to succeed. Thus, the mission of the patriotic front remains the same. It is the liberation of zambia and its people from all forms poverty, ignorance and backwardness.
The patriotic front, your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen is indeed at its weakest as i stand before you. However, we owe it to our gallant freedom fighter and fighter for justice, president michael sata to pick ourselves up, regroup, unite and carry on where he signed off. The struggle for a better zambia, therefore, continues. With god’s grace, the support, and understanding of the zambian people, the patriotic front shall carry on until president sata’s dream and mission of transforming zambia into a more just and prosperous society is attained.
To our mother, the first lady and the family of president sata at large, the demise of our president is an even more devastating blow to you, but the president’s commitment to humanity meant that, the pf was his larger family. We are therefore your family, and we are one large family. In the difficult days ahead of us, you can count on each and every one of us. We too shall count on you for the advice and support that helped our president lead us so successfully. The key to surviving this devastating blow lies in our president’s persistent and consistent mantra “tutemwane bonse”, let us unite and love one another even more, especially that our president is no longer with us. We owe it to him.
To our neighbors, president sata used to admonish us each time we strayed on to matters that were none of our business. He often said, “…the problem with zambians is that everything is our business, but our business”. The patriotic front shall continue to uphold brotherhood and mutual respect for all our neighbors. We shall not interfere in internal affairs of our neighbors and indeed countries beyond our region. We are grateful for the expressions of solidarity and for honoring our president with your presence as we put him to rest.
Finally, as secretary general of the patriotic front, it is now my solemn duty on behalf of the members and indeed on my own behalf to bid farewell to our president.
President sata, thank you for the love you showered on us. Thank you for teaching us the ancient, but timeless universal human principles of upholding human dignity; thank you for teaching us that, our greatness lies in looking out for the weak, the poor and vulnerable. Thank you for teaching us to be worthy human beings.
Thank you your excellency for demonstrating that, with discipline and god’s grace, we can build a better zambia with opportunities for everyone.
Go well great leader. Never ever stop interceding for us. We shall honour your name. We shall stick to the universal human values and principles you ably taught us. We shall carry on. Your courage, boldness and wisdom shall continue to guide and sustain us. With god’s grace your aspirations for the country you loved shall be realized.
Go well “chipola mulamba wesu”. Your prayer for a united, just and prosperous zambia shall be realized, because you have left us on a firm foundation.
Thank you god for president sata’s life, a life well lived, and an excellent example for us, our children and generations to come.
May god bless zambia, africa and the world.
Hon edgar lungu
pf secretary general