Editor's Comment

Zambians should never trade peace for anything

LAST Friday the world at large, including Zambia, joined Rwanda in commemorating the 23rd anniversary of the 1994 genocide.
Yes, 23 years have passed since the Rwandan horror in which more than 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis, were murdered in cold blood, in an act of ethnic cleansing.
The scars and traumatic memories still linger on.
To date the world cannot fathom how an atrocity of that magnitude could have been committed right under its nose.
While what happened cannot be changed, the world at large, including Zambia, can use the experience to draw lessons in a bid to avoid falling in the same pit.
The genocide which claimed so many lives in Rwanda is indeed a reminder that peace is fragile and should never be taken for granted.
The commemoration of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda should therefore serve as a stark reminder of the dangers of tribalism and disunity.
We are alive to the fact that the devastating effects of the Rwanda genocide were born out of selfish motives of individuals who were narrowly centred on their own interests notwithstanding the repercussions.
It is indisputable that the people who orchestrated these atrocities did not have the national interest at heart.
While justice has been served to some of those who played a role in fuelling the conflict and Rwanda has set on a successful recovery path, the many lives that were lost during the massacre cannot be compensated for.
It is for this reason that we join the Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs, Godfridah Sumaili, in calling on Zambians to keep together and frown upon a culture of division because it has catastrophic consequences on national development.
Reverend Sumaili rightly emphasised that differences in ideas, ethnicity and or religion should never be allowed to divide citizens as the repercussions can be costly.
Having seen the devastating effects of tribalism and disunity from the Rwandan experience, Zambians cannot therefore afford to make the same mistakes.
The responsibility lies firstly on all political leaders to ensure they do not only speak about peace but demonstrate it in their conduct.
The kind of violence and tribal voting we experienced during the August 11, 2016 general elections should never be entertained again.
It is also the responsibility of every patriotic Zambian to say no to tribalism and disunity.
As Zambians we have done well so far in maintaining a record of peaceful government transitions.
Fifty-three years after independence, the country still stands as a beacon of peace on the continent and the world as a whole.
This is the heritage our founding fathers left for us and it is the responsibility of this generation and those to come to guard it jealously.
We implore all Zambians to reflect on their conduct and ensure that every word spoken and every action taken is a step in cementing the peace that our forefathers so dearly sacrificed for.
The Church should also play a proactive role in fostering peace and dialogue among political players, who are a potential source of conflicts.

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