A guy like me has gone through too much, HH tells Imboela

By Kombe Chimpinde Mataka

I HAVE now opened defamation of the President, anyone can insult, says President Hakainde Hichilema.

In a brief interaction with NDC faction leader Saboi Imboela, who was recently warned and cautioned for insulting, during a State House luncheon to mark the abolishment of the death penalty in Zambia President Hichilema said he felt nothing when people insult him.

He said it was good to see Imboela, a former long serving member of UPND, now his strong critic.

“We should be greeting. Politicians never insist on greetings,” said Saboi as other State House officials led by Secretary to the Cabinet Patrick Kangwa looked on.

President Hichilema responded with gestures, “I have now opened defamation of the President. Anyone can insult anyone.”

But Imboela quickly chipped in saying, “It shouldn’t take the law to insult. We respect you. Just that. You are a father, you are a brother, you are my husband.”

In response, President Hichilema said, “Let’s be honest. I feel zero whenever people say those things. I feel completely zero. A guy like me has gone through too much…”

“I just look at it and laugh. Good to see you. Wonderful! Greetings to the family,” said President Hichilema.

And Imboela lobbied the President to ensure the proportional representation system of electing members of parliament is introduced.

“One of the reasons I am here, beginning of the year you talked about proportional representation. I talked to the justice minister [Mulambo Haimbe]…he said you said ‘you want it’ ‘and we really want it’,” Imboela said.

In response, President Hichilema assured that “you will get it. We are moving.”

Imboela then stated that Zambians were appreciative of the intention by the Head of State for proportional representation (PR).

“So we shall wait for the PR as well,” submitted Imboela.

But President Hichilema urged Imboela to lobby PF to agree working on non-contentious related laws.

“But we have to do that ( PR) in parliament. That is a parliamentary issue. We are trying to persuade…maybe you can talk to your colleagues. Since PF has a connection, they are colleagues. If they can come board, we can amend non-contentious issues,” said President Hichilema. “What are the non-contentious issues? We have got to agree all of us…issue around the Attorney General, Solicitor General and many more. MPs may go back to council because we have taken development… Now if the one who represents the constituency does not sit in the council chamber what sense is that? So we are happy to do that. Start lobbying.”

And in her Facebook Post after meeting the President Imboela said she found the event very important.

“Today I went to State House and also had the opportunity to talk to President Hakainde Hichilema. I never honour invitations for state functions, but I found today’s event to be very important considering it was about the abolishment of 2 laws that I never supported,” wrote Imboela. “The first one being the death penalty and the second the defamation of the President – also known as Sedition. This is very progressive and certainly a good move in the right direction. Next, we wait for them to be removed from the Constitution also.”


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