- Documents on Democracy
After losing the presidential election to opposition leader Michael Sata, incumbent Rupiah Banda (of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy) conceded defeat. Below are excerpts from his September 23 concession speech:
The election campaign of 2011 is over. The people of Zambia have spoken and we must all listen. Some will be happy with what they have heard, others will not. The time now is for maturity, for composure and for compassion. To the victors, I say this: you have the right to celebrate but do so with a magnanimous heart. Enjoy the hour but remember that a term of government is for years. Remember that the next election will judge you also. Treat those who you have vanquished with the respect and humility that you would expect in your own hour of defeat.
I know that all Zambians will expect such behavior and I hope it will be delivered. Speaking for myself and my party, we will accept the results. We are a democratic party and we know no other way. It is not for us to deny the Zambian people. We never rigged, we never cheated, we never knowingly abused state funds. We simply did what we thought was best for Zambia. I hope the next government will act likewise in years to come.
Zambia deserves a decent democratic process. Indeed, Zambia must build on her past victories. Our independence was hard won, our democracy secured with blood. Zambia must not go backwards, we must all face the future and go forward as one nation. Not to do so would dishonor our history. To my party, to the MMD candidates who did not win, the lesson is simple. Next time we must try harder. . . . Do not be disheartened. The MMD will be back. We must all face the reality that sometimes it is time for change. Since 1991, the MMD has been in power. I believe we have done a good job on behalf of all Zambians.
Frederick Chiluba led us to a genuine multi-party state and introduced the private sector to our key industries. Zambia was liberated by an MMD ideal but maybe we became complacent with our ideals. [End Page 182] Maybe we did not listen, maybe we did not hear. Did we become grey and lacking in ideas? Did we lose momentum? Our duty now is to go away and reflect on any mistakes we may have made and learn from them. If we do not, we do not deserve to contest power again. The Zambia we know today was built by an MMD government. We know our place in history and we know that we can come back to lead again in the future. A new leadership will be chosen, and that leadership will be from the younger generation. My generation—the generation of the independence struggle—must now give way to new ideas, ideas for the 21st century. From this defeat, a new, younger MMD will be re-born. If I can serve that re-building, then I will. . . .
I urge you all now to rally behind your new president. Yes, we may have different ideas but we both want the same thing—a better Zambia. Now is not the time for violence and retribution. Now is the time to unite and build tomorrow’s Zambia together. Only by working together can we achieve a more prosperous Zambia. In my years of retirement, I hope to watch Zambia grow. I genuinely want Zambia to flourish. We should all want Zambia to flourish. So, I congratulate Michael Sata on his victory. I have no ill feeling in my heart, there is no malice in my words. I wish him well in his years as president. I pray his policies will bear fruit. But now it is time for me to step aside. Now is the time for a new leader. My time is done. It is time for me to say ‘good bye.’ May God watch over the Zambian people and may he bless our beautiful nation.
Michael Sata was sworn in as president on September 23. Below are excerpts from his inaugural address:
As we move into this...