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October 24: Opportunity for reflection

ZAMBIANS celebrate after Independence declaration in 1964.

OCTOBER 24 is an opportune time, for us as a people, to reflect on where we have been, and where we are heading to. As there is no artwork without the artist, protocol and common sense demands that first and foremost we pay homage, in form and in kind, to our gallant freedom fighters.

We, who lost our loved ones in the struggle, know and understand that freedom is not cheap. Great courage and heavy sacrifices were square on the shoulders of each and every good freedom fighter. Therefore, to our dear freedom fighters, gone or alive, may the good Lord bless you always. We salute you.

The baton having been passed on; the legacy is now in our hands. We would do greatly well. I reckon, as a house divided against itself cannot stand, by first building great mental walls of peace, unity, and identity in our citizenry.
Concerning identity, our national symbols and morals must be printed in our hearts 1887and heavily painted in the environment around us. Will we brand our products and services or will we decorate or paint our buses or some public property? Let us bless them all with our noble national symbols and colours.
Still on national identity, a simple observation, for reference, would reveal to you as it revealed to this writer that some of our young citizens of today can hardly recite our national anthem from A to Z. Often you hear them murmuring.
You hear them singing, “stun and single”, “visitors in the struggle” and what not. This, to any critical and highly patriotic mind, indirectly or otherwise, entails a serious national problem somewhere, somehow.
Have we dulled down the importance of celebrating certain national days, or singing our national anthem in schools or before the start of given special events?
At the level we have now reached, it is vital that we start addressing our problems with regards to their ‘cause’, not only running up and down against the ‘effects’. It is pointless to save the leaves if the roots are dead and decaying.
Concerning peace and unity, if we really love our country, I challenge us all: the church, our traditional and political leaders, and us common citizens, to lawfully outlaw all religious, traditional, and or, especially political activities that have a negative tendency of threatening our national peace and unity. For instance, hate-politics: political character-assassinations, hate-inducing political songs and insults need and must be plainly punishable by law to protect our national peace and unity.
Under no circumstance, unlike recent occurrences, must we permit either the ruling party or opposition cadres to be armed, not even with a razor blade. We note the current uncalled for mass killings around the world, and we note, too, that they are fast reaching the doors to our homes. Unless we act now positively, things may get worse.
It is very vital, especially in young democracies like ours, to remind each other often that no one is above the law! Neither political leaders nor cadres ought to be immune to the law.
If we permit our political leaders to insult and fight each other in public; and even make controversial tribal remarks without them attracting any form of punishment, then what kind of seeds are we planting in the minds of our young people? I say we need a serious law to curb such ill and reckless behaviours in some of our political leaders!
On another vital facet of our lot, we must consider attaining national economic freedom as well. Let as learn to produce and export more than we consume and import.
I highly feel that sometimes borrowing increases our debility. Let us fight our own battles, and use what we have to obtain what we want. Never should we forget: political freedom will never make much sense unless married with economic freedom.
As this writer’s Independence Day reflection draws to a close, here is a question for you. Inaction sometimes is more dangerous than wrong actions. Today, will you act upon the words just thrown in your mind, or not? Whatever your choice, the death or development of Zambia lies in your hands. Happy Independence Day.
The author is a social commentator.


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