An Open Letter To President Hakainde Hichilema

Dear Mr. President
I hope this finds you well. You are very well-loved & respected by many of us. Among other things, You were voted in because of the lawlessness & human rights violations that were happening during the previous regime. You instantly became my second favorite president. Because of your humility, transparency, putting the people of Zambia first, your pledge to not violate people’s rights, your heart to serve, your ability to listen to the people of Zambia, and your restoration of free speech. Thank you so much for that and for your leadership, which was impeccable until November 28.

Mandating vaccines & saying that people need to show their vaccine certificate in order to get into a government building sound like coercion, tyranny & overstepping. Whatever happened to being a public servant, a listening president & a democratic president? The last time I checked democracy was a government of the people for the people & by the people. This mandate is quite the turnaround from everything the people of Zambia expected from you. Furthermore, this mandate is in violation of the Bill of Rights #4a & #4b. You promised to be a president for all Zambians, but such actions suggest your regime has suddenly decided to be a government for only the vaccinated.

The people of Zambia are suffering, crime rates are high and joblessness still looms. Kindly explain how you will police your vaccine mandates. Are you telling me that you will keep out 100’s of elderly people, who travel from the villages to come & get their pension, out of government buildings? will these elderly people be kept out of the government buildings that are there to serve and facilitate their retirement money? Or you just plan on having someone outside the building, giving them a no choice, the choice to either get vaccinated or be sent away. I’m certain the main will get the vaccine because they are desperate to get their money. Not that long ago you said that a “society can be judged by how they treat their elderly”, or something to that effect. As a transparent president, I believe you have to explain to the Zambian people how you will handle their elderly people who travel from all over the country to Lusaka, for the sole purpose of pushing for their pension.

I would like to suggest that educating people and helping them make informed choices is better than coercion. Are you being coerced into such drastic decisions yourself? Many Zambians are afraid of taking vaccines. Please educate them and show them how great the vaccine is, instead of using threats & coercion. If you’re truly a listening president now would be the time for you to listen to your people.
If your interest in coercing the Zambian people to get vaccinated is to save lives, please start by going to UTH. Instruct the doctors to force all the patients that are refusing to get procedures that could save their lives, to mandate those procedures. Additionally please have the doctors tell the patients that if they refuse to do the procedures, because they are afraid, Misinformed, or have traditional, cultural, or religious convictions that keep them from getting the “life saving” procedures (patients) they will never be allowed access to UTH or any other medical building in the country. I am very sure that many patients will end up doing it, due to the fear of not being able to access health care. I am also aware that many more will still not do the procedures because of personal beliefs and convictions. 23 years ago I knew someone who died of cervical cancer, she was 32 years old. The doctors told her that removing her cervix would remove the cancer & consequently save her life! She refused & ended up dying 12 months later. Why I do not know but my first guess is it was a cultural reason. Your excellency that person was My excellent mother. She was married to an abusive man & into a family that was unkind. My guess is she probably felt that having no cervix would have made her less of a woman & that she would have endured abuse & a constant reminder she had no cervix. Yes, the procedure would have saved her but the emotional & verbal abuse would have killed her. Do I think she made a wrong choice, YES! And yet that’s still me, & not her. In her world having her cervix was much more important than having a “life-serving” procedure & living in torment without one. All this to say that people have their own reasons, convictions & beliefs. Would I have loved to have her accept the life-serving procedure, even against her will? YES! But at the same time seeing her verbally and physically abused, while I was growing up was so hard, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to face. I was always afraid that she would be killed, I'm certain that seeing her abused after surviving cancer would have been so much harder. There is no need to infringe on anyone’s rights just because you’re now in power. And I say this with all due respect, and love for you.
There has been so much talk about these vaccines, some young unmarried people, especially young ladies are afraid it would cause infertility. There is nothing anyone can do to make them take it, when they live in a country where a barren woman is verbally abused, cheated on & muzzled simply because she cannot bear children. I can imagine that there are many young ladies who are afraid & scared. To them, bearing children is much more important than taking something that could ruin their future marital happiness. Listen & Talk to your people, many of them love & trust you. You have the chance to do the right thing. Don’t let this thing make the people regret voting you in. I’m not saying that any of these stories about vaccine injury are true, but the truth is there are people who hold these beliefs to be true. Part of what makes us human is the ability to agree to disagree, live in harmony, and love with those who have different beliefs. The very democracy you profess allows for freedom of choice. Even God himself has given all human beings free will, why would you take that away from your people.

All policies have to be people-centered. As a political science & International Relations grad, who happens to come from a developing country I have always been frustrated with international laws that are curated by developed countries & pushed on countries like Zambia. Because they just don’t work! In order for any law, or policy to work, it must be region & people-centered. I’m saying this because I feel like this drastic action your regime is taking is unnecessary, & unfit for our young country at this time. It may work in the west because everything is accessible online. Countries that are having these mandates have a very high covid infection and death rate. Zambia’s numbers are par in comparison to some western countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom. Keeping people out of government offices may have ugly unintended consequences, including death. Show the people that you’re a president for all people, not just the vaccinated, & that you’re truly a “listening president.’
Covid has brought so much death, do not allow it to bring death to your regime & the trust people have in you.
Political power is fleeting, you will be remembered by the decisions you make during this time. I know it’s hard, there are powers that be but at the end of the day, you decide what kind of president you want to be, and how you want your presidency to be defined. So help you, God!