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ZAMBIA AT 56:

THE other day, I listened to one of Zambia’s surviving iconic founding fathers, Mr Sikota Wina, giving an interview on radio. The central thrust of his independence message, as Zambia celebrates 56 years of statehood, was on peace, unity and patriotism.
These are the fundamental ethos with which Zambia can have hope and confidence to achieve national prosperity and ultimate human development.
He reminded us of the ultimate sacrifice that Zambia’s founding mothers and fathers made at the altar of national liberation. We have become so accustomed to peace that we even take it for granted.
Many do not realise that losing peace and unity is as easy as one shout by one careless, misguided individual, and all hell can break loose!
This reminds me of Zambia’s founding President, Dr Kenneth David Buchizya Kaunda’s common cliches back in the days, about “One Zambia, One Nation… man west, man east, man south, man north,” all being equal and created in God’s own image.
President Kaunda always reminded us, and so did his compatriots, about the essence of peace, unity and patriotism as cardinal credentials for national development.
He always quoted the holy Bible about “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This is the basis of peace, unity, patriotism and overall human development.
Where humans are united, they practice team work; where humans have a common sense of patriotism, they are bound to achieve peace and prosperity. Where these attributes are lacking, humans are bound to reap bitterness, divisiveness, impunity, petty jealousies, conflict, violence chaos, and untold misery is bound to consume such a society.
Those who rise against others are bound to face the same in due course. The old English adage says “those who kill by the sword, by the sword they shall also die!”
Presently, Zambia is witnessing unprecedented levels of hate speech, insults, political outmanoeuvring, smear campaigns, mudslinging and even violence.
As we approach the August 2021 national elections, a crescendo of these vices may heighten, and all of us are witnesses; some video-filming, and others cheering and ululating, as political cadres outdo one another!
The level of intolerance and hate seems to be increasing by the day. Some of our political leaders are treating the 2021 elections like they will be the only and last, final ever elections; and whoever wins will rule forever, and those who lose will never rise and contest, and even win future elections!
This way of doing our politics is not right, it is wrong, it is inhuman. On October 18, 2020, the National Day of Prayer, while some were praying, others were busy fretting, cursing and even plotting. This is not good for our nation, nor for our posterity.
When nations embark on such trajectories, they are on a sure highway to self-immolation. Realisation of the folly of such actions only dawns when too much damage has been occasioned and too much blood spilled.
The protagonists only come to their senses when too many innocent souls have been lost or maimed and property gone up in flames. They come to their senses when international human rights bodies fish them out of their hiding places to face justice for human rights abuses.
To date NAZI, Srebrenica and Rwanda genocide culprits are still being smoked out of hiding and being paraded at the International Criminal Court to answer for their abuses. The ICC targets all abusers, whether in government or in opposition!
In a resource-endowed nation like Zambia, it is not uncommon for foreign elements to incite pandemonium, because it is an excellent recipe for whetting the appetite of international looters, marauders, mercenaries and pillagers of natural resources.
They entice citizens, through various covert and overt chicanery methods, to turn on and hack one another while they loot the resources at will as the owners are busy butchering one another over political power!
The way things are unfolding in Zambia, we seem to be putting ourselves on that path. We must desist from taking Zambia down that route; Zambians do not deserve that. Our politicians must renounce violence, they must condemn hate speech, they must act against trepidation, and threats of vengeance and retribution.
As Zambia celebrates 56 years of freedom and uninterrupted peace and tranquility, we must all bear in mind that we inherited a peaceful, unitary nation. Citizens have entrusted some with political leadership roles (both ruling and opposition) because they genuinely believe that their leaders mean well for them and for their posterity.
As we gear up for the August 2021 general elections, let us remember that we are in government or opposition leadership positions on a covenant of trust with the Zambian people.
Remember, patriots never fight one another, they band together and attack a common enemy, in our case being mistrust, hatred and the weakening economy and its sibling the Covid-19.

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