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THE booing of former President Edgar Lungu at the National Heroes Stadium during Tuesday’s  inauguration of Mr Hakainde Hichilema as President is a national shame.

It brought to the fore what is unZambian –  uncouth and disrespectful behaviour for elders.

That it happened in front of foreign Heads of State and Governments as well as other foreign dignitaries makes it even more unacceptable.

President Lungu did not deserve that kind of insult that echoed from the sea of red, representing UPND supporters.

If anything, we expect the new President and his administration not to gloss over this episode but address it immediately.

They must tell their youths that such behaviour is unZambian.

Yes, we know they were excited that their candidate was being sworn-in as the country’s seventh President having won the August 12 election by defeating Mr Lungu.

The outgoing President did not deserve that having ensured that there was a smooth transition from the Patriotic Front to the UPND.

President Lungu refused to petition the results despite the electoral malpractices that happened in some areas, particularly in the Southern Province where PF agents were chased from polling stations.

He realised there was already tension in the nation and what was needed most was healing.

President Hichilema must therefore take it upon himself to make a public statement to condemn that uncivilised behaviour.

We agree with Reverend Moses Lungu, the Evangelical Youth Alliance Executive Director that the booing has not only embarrassed the country but also set a bad precedence for future elections.

He said the behaviour by the UPND at the inauguration ceremony had the potential to threaten the peace of the country and therefore those who sponsored youths to boo the former president should be ashamed of their unreasonable actions.  

The inauguration was a national event hence the presence of so many foreign dignitaries and not a UPND affair.

Perhaps such behaviour is what has been learnt from some senior clergymen in the country whose language knows no limits.

Despite their calling, they are not able to differentiate between civil and uncouth behaviour.

It is for this reason that we take great exception to a statement attributed to former Lusaka Catholic Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu that even those who used to insult President Hichilema are now congratulating him.

We are surprised he does not realise that is what is meant by civility.

Mr Hichilema was elected as President by the majority of the population and civility demands that even his political rivals congratulate him for emerging victorious.

In any case, those who criticised him did not do so because he is Tonga.  They had specific issues for which they demanded answers, and some of those are still pending.

But they had the decency to appreciate that Zambia is a democracy and whoever is elected as President deserves to be respected.

It is such civility since the country’s independence and past elections that has made Zambia an oasis of peace in a turbulent world.

It is now up to the UPND administration to spearhead national healing.

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