Editor's Comment

Time for economic freedom

Zambia's President Hakainde Hichilema

MANY Zambians have often bemoaned the lack of this and that despite the country having been politically independent for close to 60 years. This feeling of deprivation often makes many people in down-trodden areas of the country find very little to commemorate, let alone celebrate about, Independence Day every year. For such people the sentiments could have been the same yesterday when the country celebrated its 57th Independence Anniversary. They believe that those who fought and died for political independence in the 50s and 60s would be better remembered if the country starts fighting for economic freedom for the people. Admittedly, the country now needs to get past the feel-good factor about political emancipation and start looking at innovative ways of accelerating economic growth. Independence Day should not just be observed but be an occasion on which political freedom is translated into economic liberty through various plans and innovations. The youth of today may not quite understand the nuances of Independence Day in relation to political struggles of the 50s, but efforts must be made to rally them for economic independence. A lot of them are getting wasted to alcohol and drug abuse with no hope for the future. Therefore, it is important that young people support President Hakainde Hichilema’s fight for a better Zambia. President Hichilema’s assurance that his administration will change things for the better should add oil to the aspirations of young people, who are in pole position for economic freedom. Economic emancipation, especially that which guarantees a better future, will not be achieved without the collective efforts of Zambians. This is the time everyone should take advantage of the political independence the country has been enjoying for the past 57 years to create a better future by taking advantage of the abundant opportunities and natural resources. It has always been emphasised that Zambia is endowed with natural resources, but the laxity among citizens in tapping into this wealth may give way to foreign exploitation of these resources. The commemoration of 57 years of independence should remind Zambians that the country’s forefathers fought against colonial rule to pave way for economic freedom. Bemoaning the lack of progress economically with each passing Independence Day would not help if citizens don’t play a part in fostering development in the country. Remaining contented with the achievements of political freedom will blur our vision for a better future as championed by President Hichilema. However, we commend the President for honouring citizens yesterday for their contributions to the nation in various lines of duty. This goes to show that Government recognises the contributions citizens are making to the development of the nation at individual level. We understand that not everyone can be honoured at once, but we believe there are many Zambians who have done the country proud. We urge those who have been honoured to remain patriotic and live up to their principles of service to the nation. Their dedication to duty and service to the nation should not end with the honours. For those who were honoured posthumously, we can only say may their souls rest in eternal peace. However, President Hichilema’s decision to visit burial sites of independence heroes like Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe and Mainza Chona, among others, is a welcome move as it shows the respect he has for freedom fighters.
It is regrettable that some of the fallen heroes have been forgotten with the passage of time. We believe the visits to their graves will give more value to the history of Zambia’s political struggle and make their families feel honoured too.
The value of political independence should continue being taught to youths, not only during the anniversary, but all the time through the school curriculum. The fight for economic freedom will remain mere rhetoric if young people, who are poised to be future leaders, do not understand the history of Zambia. So, the new dawn administration has a duty to keep the flame burning and ride on freedom fighters’ efforts to make Zambia better.




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