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Jubilee awards

Sunday, 26 October 2014: Our 50th Independence anniversary celebrations are over. What a spectacle that was!

We went beyond our usual programmes, with people from all walks of life telling us about our achievements over the last 50 years.
This year, we had new bank notes coming into existence, international dignitaries coming in from various parts of the world, and stadiums across the country being filled with all kinds of presentations. Everything was quite breath taking!
One event I always look forward to is the presentation of awards by the President. This is because it is a small picture of what will happen when we all die. God will bring all of us to judgment. He will punish some and he will award others.
So, over the years I have watched with bated breath as presidents Kenneth Kaunda, Frederick Chiluba, Levy Mwanawasa, Rupiah Banda, and Michael Sata have awarded Zambians who have achieved feats worth celebrating since independence in 1964.
Of course, it would have been wonderful if President Michael Sata had been around to officiate at this year’s special event, but we all understand the circumstances that made it impossible. I am sure it was a major disappointment to those receiving the awards.
My one quarrel, however, with these awards is that they fall short of awarding those Zambians who are making our nation proud in all the areas of human endeavour. They are limited to the world of politics and sports. Yet, Zambians are achievers in other areas too.
Wherever you go in the world you will find Zambians occupying very high positions. Zambians man a number of United Nations agencies. A number of universities in the world have Zambians in very high professorial positions. These are not small feats.
Yet those are not the only places where Zambians with great achievements need to be recognised. Think of the world of entertainment. What about the entertainers who are showing us that the entertainment industry need not be morally dirty?  We must honour them.
Then there are Zambians in the police service or the medical field who have achieved great feats in saving our lives. Their salaries are paltry but they risk their lives daily in the face of criminals, AIDS and Ebola. Shouldn’t we honour at least some of them?
Think also of the Zambians who are serving our society in thankless jobs.  The individuals who have left their well-paying jobs to run orphanages in the villages and those fighting for the rights of oppressed women and children need to be rewarded.
The list is endless.  I am sure if we had a committee to look through submissions from the public, we would be amazed at how much good is being done by Zambians. It would be quite a task trying to arrive at who is the cream among the cream each year.
In the UK the Queen “knights” those in her kingdom who achieve heroic feats.  The Bible says, “God rewards those who diligently seek him” – in the present tense. Our presidents should do the same – not just in the political sphere.
This is a principle that needs to be inculcated in children. Life is about sowing and reaping. “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” (Psalm 126:5). So, children need to see that many years of sowing will one day bear fruit with a presidential salute.
Many years of perseverance in study will one day yield degrees until people start calling you “Doctor”. Many years of working hard in your career will one day produce a part of industry that makes the whole nation sit up and give you a standing ovation.
The opposite is also true. The Bible says, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption” (Galatians 6:7-8). Laziness, for instance, soon reaps poverty!
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