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We are Zambians before anything else

NIGERIAN politician and lawyer Yemi Osinbajo said, “The most successful of the nations of the world are those who do not fall into the lure of secession but who, through thick and thin, forge unity in diversity.”
America’s 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, also said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Many statesmen across the globe have acknowledged the power of unity in attaining development. Zambia’s own founding President, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, has underscored the absolute need for Zambians to unite in diversity.
Now, more than ever before, this is wise counsel that Zambians must heed for the country to achieve its common goal of improved standards of living for all citizens.
It is practically impossible for a country that is divided to stand, let alone achieve meaningful development.
Zambia’s founding fathers understood the strength of unity in their struggle to liberate this country from the oppressive hands of colonial powers.
Unity is the foundation on which Zambia’s liberation struggle was won.
Due to the solid foundation of unity that was laid by the country’s forefathers, Zambia today boasts of being a beacon of peace and stability on the continent and beyond.
We commend the country’s forefathers for putting their differences aside by uniting to deliver political freedom.
In the same way political freedom was delivered, Zambians need unity of purpose to deliver economic liberty.
This is the message Dr Kaunda is re-emphasising to all Zambians.
He has called on Zambians to support President Edgar Lungu’s efforts in keeping the country united as it pursues socio-economic development.
Dr Kaunda, who was speaking during a fundraising dinner organised by Vision Ambassadors on the theme, ‘We are Zambians before we are anything’, has advised that Zambia should not lose sight of the peace and unity it is renowned for.
Zambia cannot afford to lose peace that is being enjoyed today, and probably being taken for granted by many Zambians. This peace and freedom came at a great cost and in some instances the ultimate price of life was paid.
Dr Kaunda said, and rightly so, that negative behaviours such as discrimination, hatred, greed, betrayal and malice threaten the core values of unity.
“When I look back over the six decades or more, I know that vices threatened our unity and slowed us down. But we still worked hard to heal our relations and get everyone to participate in the struggle as brothers and sisters,” he said.
The current generation should certainly draw lessons from the founding fathers.
As stated by Dr Kaunda, the founding fathers also had their own differences but they chose to put them aside in the interest of the country.
Similarly, while it is inevitable for politicians to differ, we expect them to put their differences aside and unite in the interest of the nation.
It is saddening that we have people who cannot distinguish between national interest and politicking.
This is why we have people turning to social media to spread hate speech and falsehoods thereby denting the image of the country in the name or hope of fixing those in power.
Had Zambia’s forefathers exhibited such selfish and irresponsible behaviour during the struggle for independence, the country could probably still have been in the shackles of colonialism.
It is also true that as long as Zambians do not put aside their selfish ambitions and unite, attaining economic emancipation may remain a far-fetched dream.
It is the obligation of every Zambian to ensure that their conduct both in word and deed contributes to unity and peace – the foundation on which economic emancipation can be achieved.
It is inspiring that we have young people in the name of Vision Ambassadors who have set themselves apart to push the’ One Zambia One Nation’ agenda.
As expressed by Dr Kaunda, it is heartening that young people are exhibiting passion to uphold unity in the country for continued peace and economic prosperity.
Certainly, youths have a big role to play in upholding peace and unity.
We know that youths have been used by politicians as tools for violence.
Youths should, however, understand that sowing seeds of disunity and violence does not benefit anyone; if anything, it robs the country of development.
Youths like Vision Ambassadors will do well to channel their energy to building a strong and united Zambia on which development will thrive.
Well-meaning Zambians should never tire of preaching and inculcating values of unity and peace in younger generations. This is important if we are to ensure sustainability for many years to come.
Zambia must raise a society that will treasure and uphold peace and unity as a key ingredient for economic prosperity.
Above all, we are Zambians before anything else