WE COMMEND thousands of Zambians who braved the scorching heat to participate in commemorating the country’s 53rd Independence Day yesterday.
The huge turnout was a symbol of true patriotism to the country they cherish and a demonstration of the value they place on this important day on our calendar.
In as much as citizens enjoy their freedom daily in the country’s model democracy, Independence Day comes once a year, hence the need for this day to be celebrated with passion.
People from all walks of life put aside their cultural, religious, political and social status to observe the country’s emblem of freedom, consequently putting to shame those that had wished the occasion ill.
The Freedom Statue, which Lusaka residents see almost daily, assumes a different status on October 24 as it reminds us about our freedom as dignitaries, led by the head of State, lay their wreaths at the symbol of the broken chains of colonialism.
Events at the Freedom Statue kick-start our commemorations which climax at State House where citizens who have contributed immensely in their own way are deservingly honoured by the head of State.
Beyond observing independence, the day also serves as one of the country’s flag bearers to the whole world, far and wide.
The international community takes note of our commemoration and sends messages of goodwill to our country through the head of State in which they renew their commitment to the bilateral relations they share with our country.
This is a day when some foreign heads of State come to our country to celebrate this day with us on behalf of their people.
This year, Botswana President Seretse Khama Ian Khama abandoned his busy schedule to come and share this important day on our national calendar.
Lieutenant-General Khama’s visit evokes memories of the long-standing bilateral relations Botswana and Zambia shared over the years.
Botswana and Zambia formed the backbone of the Frontline States; the fore-runner to what is now the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The two neighbouring countries have since enjoyed the well-deserved accolade of being beacons of peace and stability on the African continent. Zambia and Botswana are the envy of the world because of their democracy.
Botswana is now the home of the SADC headquarters from where policies about the integration of the sub-region are planned.
Zambia and Botswana share the Zambezi River and the two countries will be land-linked when the ultra-modern Kazungula Bridge is completed.
The Kazungula Bridge will not only boost trade and the interaction among our two peoples, but will also open an important trans-continental development corridor for the benefit of the SADC and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.
The event at State House, therefore, presented an opportunity for the two presidents to share notes on the bilateral relations as well as the cross-border projects the two countries are undertaking.
Independence Day should continue to be cherished by all well-meaning Zambians because it is their day.
Let us close ranks and continue to celebrate our country, our day.