…as Greens take back seats
By SIMON MUNTEMBA
TRADITIONAL and cultural performances by various cultural groups decked in bright red and white attires, as well as songs and dances by UPND members which started as early as 08:30 hours yesterday marked the start to the ceremonial opening of Parliament.
There was no mistaking which political party had taken power, as the red dance troupes dominated the entertainment on the lush Parliamentary grounds.
In red and white t-shirts and traditional red and yellow chitenges, the UPND women’s choir were at hand to sing songs of praise for their party.
And President Hakainde Hichilema’s motorcade wound its way from his home in New Kasama through State House before passing by Cabinet office along Independence Avenue and connecting to the Great East Road via Addis Abba drive.
The well-choreographed ceremony was carried out with military precision, as the guard of honour, mounted by the Second Battalion of the Zambia Regiment and the Salute Troop of the Zambia Artillery, took up their positions facing the main entrance to Parliament building at 09:25 hours.
President Hichilema who was clad in an immaculate navy blue suit, light blue shirt, and red neck tie accompanied by his elegantly dressed wife, Mutinta, arrived at Parliament building at 10:00 hours amid tight security and was received by Service Chiefs.
The President was this time around driven in a black Mercedes Benz, while his personal white Nissan Infinix was among the presidential motorcade which drove into Parliament building through the northern gate.
After the Presidential and mounted escorts moved off, the Head of State proceeded to the saluting dais where he took the Presidential Salute.
Mr Hichilema was accorded a 21-gun salute by the Salute Troop of the Zambia Army Artillery, at the same time, there was a fly-past by the Zambia Air Force jets, leaving a streak of green, orange and red vapour.
The President, accompanied by his new Aide-de-Camp, inspected the guard of honour before he was ceremoniously ushered into the chamber by Speaker of the National Assembly, Nelly Mutti to the accompaniment of traditional music called Maoma.
Mr Hichilema however paused briefly as he ascended the stairs to the Parliament building to listen to the sound drumming of the “ngoma yabukali” traditional music.
His party supporters could be heard shouting on top of their voices ‘Bally…Bally’ as he waved at them with his white ‘fixing’ gloves.
In his speech, President Hichilema pledged that he would use the mandate given to him and the UPND to foster democracy and allow the rights of the opposition to thrive.
He said elections time was over and this was time to work together to develop the country.
The President also said that he did not believe in petitions but was a believer in the rule of law.
His remarks did however invite murmuring from the opposition Patriotic Front members whose seats are challenged in the Courts of law by the losing UPND candidates.
Mr Hichilema said his administration would make electoral reforms.
After officially opening Parliament, the President left the chambers, descended the steps to the accompaniment of traditional music (Cultural display with a unity theme) and was accorded the third presidential salute before departure at about 12:45 hours.
The Members of Parliament would from next Tuesday be accorded an opportunity to debate the policy pronouncements in the President’s speech.