Editor's Comment

‘Know your neighbour’ initiative progressive

IN A Christian nation like ours, good neighbourliness is of paramount importance if people’s well-being and co-existence are to be sustained.It is citizens themselves who should play a role to ensure that harmony, good health, order and peace are maintained in communities where they belong.
A couple of months ago, Zambians proved that they were able to co-operate for a common goal as they united to fight against cholera, which claimed over 90 people between October last year and February this year.
We believe that, in the same way Government worked through health and defence personnel, in collaboration with various local and international partners, as well as people within residential areas – and managed to eradicate the waterborne disease – it is possible to harness efforts of members of local communities to make our townships safe for everyone.
And Matero’s Kapwepwe ward 25 councillor Patrick Salubusa has taken a lead through the initiative dubbed ‘Know your neighbour’. He should be commended for spearheading such an important programme aimed at effectively fighting crime and dealing with garbage-related issues in his area.
When this initiative was launched by Lusaka mayor Wilson Kalumba in February this year, people in residential areas expected to see their civic leaders being actively involved in its full promotion, sensitising residents on the need to work together to combat crime and keep the environment clean.
It is such programmes that make the electorate appreciate their representatives in public offices as they see them fully engaged in the work for which they were voted into those positions. People don’t have to complain that the people they elected are nowhere to be seen after elections.
For Gothenburg University to commend the programme in Matero’s Kapwepwe ward 25, it means it has yielded positive results wherever it has been implemented in various countries. Gothenburg, in partnership with the International Centre for Local Democracy, has pledged to undertake a study tour of the project this year.
As the initiative’s principal objectives include improving public safety through proactively detecting criminal activities in townships, other councillors countrywide should take it seriously and engage residents in knowing both their neighbours and their neighbourhoods.
In our Zambian context – the nation being a ‘melting pot’ where people of different nationalities, races, colours, religions, tribes, and political affiliations live together in peace and harmony – a neighbour is someone within one’s daily life, such as actual street neighbours, church-mates, friends, members of a community club or association, school-mates, as well as family and friends of these people.
‘Know your neighbour’, a proactive approach to fighting crime, if well implemented in different parts of the country, will surely help in making citizens alert and deal with any suspicious activities as a united body.
Collaborative efforts are vital to the safety of residents and communities at large. Law enforcement agencies, the police in particular, can even become more motivated just by the active involvement of people in communities as they supplement their efforts in maintaining law and order.
As local authorities work to see to it that this initiative comes to fruition, it is important for everyone in the Zambian society to take deliberate steps to establish connections with one’s neighbours so that more caring, welcoming environments are created in all places where people live.
It is good that, just as it can be effective in preventing and fighting crime, ‘Know your neighbour’ is actually one of the most inclusive responses to the problem of garbage collection. What’s more with social co-operation in times of events such as funerals where people need to show their human face?
Let’s support Mr Salubusa’s great work and help spread the initiative to other parts of the country. It’s time we actively, practically and fully promoted the principle: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ as a people.

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