Editor's Comment

No more business as usual

THE Zambia Congress of Trade Unions has warned Zambians against undermining President Edgar Lungu’s pronouncements in his address to Parliament on Friday citing their importance to achieving an effective governance system.
ZCTU secretary general Cosmas Mukuka said concerns raised by President Lungu regarding alcohol abuse, teen pregnancies, poor work culture and moral decay, among others, call for personal introspection among citizens.
As Mr Mukuka put it, issues raised by President Lungu in his address to Parliament require urgent and concerted efforts by all stakeholders in addressing them.
President Lungu in his address on the application of national values and principles raised alarm at the deterioration of morals in our country as reflected by the levels of alcohol abuse, teen pregnancies and poor work culture, among others.
President Lungu’s address was just a confirmation of the levels of moral decay in our society.
Today, more than before, we have so many young people without shame patronising bars and abusing alcohol at the expense of their education and destinies.
This is a time bomb waiting to explode. If young people are spending time in bars instead of building their lives through education, then we are raising liabilities who will have nothing to contribute to the country’s development.
It also means we will have more people needing social cash transfer because they cannot fend for themselves, thereby putting a strain on limited national resources.
Similarly, if we have young people becoming parents before they can even establish their own lives, the burden is even bigger.
It means more liabilities, because these young people do not have the capacity to look after themselves and later on their offspring.
Families are also breaking down. Last year alone, over 28,000 families disintegrated through divorce.
The number of spousal killings is also on the rise.
Turning to the public service, the work culture is depressing.
We have public service workers who lack the slightest sense of patriotism and responsibility.
This is reflected in corrupt tendencies, inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the public service.
These tendencies frustrate the good intentions of the party in power to deliver on its mandate.
Today, we have so many people who cannot distinguish between right and wrong.
These are individuals incapable of making sound decisions as members of society, parents and even leaders at various levels.
As a country, we cannot bury our heads in the sand and pretend everything is okay.
We cannot afford to lose our values and principles as a Christian nation. These values are our foundation on which our identity is anchored.
These values and principles also act as our compass pointing us to the right direction.
These values are also a pillar on which we lean.
If these values are lost, we also lose direction and cannot stand as a country.
This is why we agree with Mr Mukuka that it cannot be business as usual given the gloomy picture of our status on application of national values and principles.
As rightly pointed out by the ZCTU leader, the responsible line ministries should urgently convene a conference with other stakeholders in search of solutions to these vexing challenges.
We need to dissect each and every problem one by one to determine the underlying factors.
For instance, to find a solution to alcohol abuse, we need to understand what is pushing these young people to drinking. Is it easy access, boredom, lack of models or peer pressure?
It is only when we understand the causes that we will find lasting solutions.
This should also apply to the poor work culture as well as other vices.
While the line ministries will take the driving seat, it is expected that all citizens and other stakeholders will get on board in search of solutions.
We need to sincerely and thoroughly interrogate ourselves at individual, family, community and national levels.
Where have we gone wrong? We may also need to interrogate any new values adopted from outside if they have in any way contributed to moral decadence.
Are families, churches and schools doing enough to impart good morals to children?
These are some of the questions we need to ask ourselves as we search for lasting solutions to moral decay.
All patriotic and progressive Zambians, regardless of political, social or religious affiliation, should therefore act it decisively.

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