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Lungu was more devastated about Kungo’s assassination than losing to HH- Dr Zimba

Filed under: Latest News,Politics |
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Lusaka, Sunday (April 23, 2023)

Former Presidential Political Advisor Chris Zumani Zimba says former President Edgar Lungu was more devastated by the brutal assassination of PF Provincial Chairperson Jackson Kungo than his electoral defeat to President Hakainde Hichilema.

Speaking to Afro Democracy Journal (ADJ), Dr. Zimba urged President Hichilema and Dr. Lungu to hold talks for genuine political reconciliation.

He said the assassination of Kungo by known UPND cadres on August 12, 2021 had been ignored while that of UPND cadre Lawrence Banda was more amplified.

“I would like to share some moment of reflection with regards to the 2021 August Presidential and General Elections in Zambia. It is important to note that the 2021 Presidential and General Elections were historical in nature in many ways. There are certain perspectives and experiences at Presidential level from the point of State House that sometimes are only privy to some of us in terms of knowing what happened and how the President reacted and managed different situations which many people are not aware of. Suffice to mention today, I wanted to pick a perspective which I think is very important, already in public domain and known by many Zambians on some events leading to the 2021 August Elections and how President Lungu, then, interpreted and felt about it,” he said.

Dr. Zimba said the same zeal to fight for Banda’s justice should be extended to Kungo even in his death, because it was too heavy and heartbreaking to President Lungu then.

“The fact is that the death of PF North Western Provincial Chairperson Jackson Kungo was very devastating news to President Lungu, a lot of people do not know that he was more depressed and more devastated by the death of Kungo than his own political defeat to HH. What happened was that on that material day on 12th August, 2021, it was a very busy and fast day because everyone was voting country wide. President Lungu, myself and the First Lady, woke up very early and went to vote in Chawama where I escorted him because I was registered at the same polling station. When we came back to State House, he was at Nkwazi House, he needed now to reflect and just receive reports on voter turn out and later on, the results.

Dr. Zimba said he had a deeper conversation with Late Kungo, two hours before he was murdered in Solwezi District, North Western Province.

“We needed to be on top of the game as State House and on my side as Presidential Political Advisor, I was busy calling different Parliamentary Candidates in various Constituencies. I was calling Provincial Chairpersons to know what was happening in their Provinces, Districts and Constituencies. Kungo was one of the people I called that morning, two hours before his death.

Dr. Zimba was disappointed that PF Polling Agents were being chased, intimidated and beaten at Polling Stations in UPND strongholds in full view of state police.

“We spoke at length, he explained the challenges for North Western Province because many Election Agents for PF were either being intimidated, harassed or beaten at Polling Stations. I did report and confirm the situation to the President regarding the situation in North Western, Southern and Western Provinces that PF Polling Agents were fighting running battles in polling stations from the three strongholds of the UPND,” he said.

Dr. Zimba said the reports he got of beating PF members in UPND strongholds was authenticated by videos that emerged showing the brutal murder of Kungo in full view of Law Enforcement Agencies.

“Around lunch time, videos started circulating showing how Jackson Kungo was strangled, moved up, stoned and brutally murdered at a polling station by UPND cadres. It was unbelievable and looked like it was not happening. Later on, official information reached the President, he watched the videos on how Kungo was murdered by a mob of the UPND cadres in full view of the police and army officers watching. I can assure you that that news was very devastating to President Lungu,” he said.

Dr. Zimba said the strangling to death of Kungo created pressure from PF members that wanted the election to be petitioned but that President Lungu did not want to see more Zambians murdered like Kungo.

“I could see the pain which he expressed and showed openly. When election results started emerging at a later point, it became very tricky because Kungo’s death was the main issue at the bottom of the heart of President Lungu. He is a very responsible leader to me because he repeatedly said we needed to respect Kungo in death. So, he traveled to Solwezi with myself, State House Staff and party officials. He mourned Kungo and physically buried him in Solwezi, we escorted the President. Even at the point when the President was conceding defeat, there were a lot of questions with the late Kabwe Central Member of Parliament, Hon. Tutwa Ngulube asking the question repeatedly to say how should we not petition these Presidential results when President Hakainde Hichilema has won the Presidency on the alter of blood and death of Kungo? Apart from other electoral malpractices in the three Provinces, Honourable Tutwa Ngulube was at pains to realize that the PF and the President were not instructing lawyers to petition results when in the actual sense, Kungo was lying dead at the Presidential victory of HH. However, later on, we as State House guided PF members who wanted a petition that the President had made up his mind not to petition, not to make any move but to concede defeat and hand over because he said that he never wanted to see another Zambian to die like Kungo,” he said.

Dr. Zimba said the stoning of Kungo like a stray dog should never happen to any other Zambian in future.

“President Lungu was very clear from the word go that the death of Kungo was regrettable, unacceptable and that the way he was murdered and mobbed on that election day was not supposed to happen to any other person. We had to convince a lot of other people that the President had already made up his mind, he wants to mourn the death of Kungo and respect him and his family for the loss of their father, son and uncle because Kungo meant a lot of things to different people where he came from. The former President was very categorical that Kungo was supposed to be honored. I want to emphasize that very few people know that the death of Kungo was more painful to President Lungu than the electoral defeat to HH. He could joke about election outcomes, but the death of Kungo was totally different because it was incomparable to the way he felt and handled it. It is important that we need to ensure that President Lungu and President Hichilema at some point should sit down, talk and reconcile as brothers. As you maybe aware, there has been a case of Mumbi Phiri and Shebby Chilekwa over the murder of Gaddafi Lawrence Banda, a UPND cadre. It has been everywhere in the media, so much politicized and a lot of hype about it but some of us that were in State House in August 2021 on that election day when Kungo was murdered, we know that President Lungu feels the same or even worse about Kungo because he was murdered physically by known people. Kungo was stoned like a stray street dog on that day,” he said.

Dr. Zimba said genuine reconciliation between President Hichilema and his predecessor would create a better political environment in future.

“If these leaders, HH and ECL, could sit down and begin to reflect on these issues, a better political environment can be configured where we are going in future. Kungo has been forgotten by many people. What is happening is that if we do not talk about it or share from the perspective that some of us who sat there, I think a lot of people may undermine the death of Kungo because he is just like any other citizen who needs Justice even in his death,” he said.

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