Five decades ago our fathers finally gained the independence they had bravely and boldly fought for. They had shed blood, sweat and tears in order that we may be free in our own land. Their desire was to free Zambia; free from the oppression of the colonial master, free from the racial oppression of the white man, free from the political, social and economic enslavement from the British rulers, for this they were willing to face imprisonment and even face death! Oh how they sacrificed, we indeed can only imagine what these brave men and women gave so that we can celebrate our golden jubilee. When we think of Lawrence Katilungu, Donald Siwale, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe and Kenneth Kaunda and time and space will fail me if I was mention mama Kankasa and many gallant men and women who gave so much so that we can on 24th October 2014 hold our heads high and confidently sing:
“Stand and sing of Zambia proud and free, land of work and joy in unity, victors in the struggle for the right, we have won freedom’s fight all one strong and free.”
So we are 50 years old today, we praise the work done by our fathers, but we cannot live in the past, we look back in order that we may move forward. Our fathers gave us peace, dignity and freedom. They are the reason we are able to sing:
“One land and one nation is our cry, dignity and peace neath Zambia’s sky, like our noble eagle in its flight, Zambia praise to thee, all one strong and free”
Are we where we ought to be? Is this what our fathers dreamt of? If we got into their minds and tapped into their dream and vision for mother Zambia, would they be proud of us? Would they rejoice with us? Would they be proud to be Zambians? Have we made the necessary progress for a nation 50 years old? If anything, birthdays are times of reflection and if we were to be honest we are a nation with so much potential and at 50 years we should be realizing that potential.
We have enjoyed a peaceful 50 years, that is a great achievement for an African country, we are indeed a beacon of light to other countries. We have also managed to live in harmony despite the over 70 tribes in our country. One Zambia one nation is a motto that perfectly describes our beautiful country.
This country is blessed with abundant natural resources yet it is common knowledge that we are actually quite poor and many people live in poverty. We have the potential of being a bread basket for Sub Saharan Africa yet we have hunger issues, we have the potential to supply power to the region yet millions do not have power supply, we have plenty of rivers yet many in our nation do not have access to clean and safe water, unemployment levels are immense, illiteracy levels are equally shocking, service delivery leaves a lot to be desired, and political parties are still insulting each other, and hacking each other with pangas, campaigns are not issue based and sometimes characterized by violence. Furthermore our politicians still jump from one party to another despite the obvious ideological differences. No wonder corruption is still on the rampage while infrastructure such as roads, street lighting, housing, bridges, hospitals, clinics, schools, town planning, public offices are a light years behind compared to our neighbors.
These are real issues in our country and yes there is light at the end of the tunnel, we can never lose hope. But we have to accept that things are indeed not as they should be. This is not about politics, neither is this about pointing fingers and political affiliations. This is about developing our country. My dream is that politicians from all walks of life and regardless of their affiliations should at least admit we need to improve and develop. That means that every citizen in this beloved country gives their all. I look forward to a time when our leaders will sit at the same table and argue out their differences with respect and dignity; I look forward to a time when this country will be the bread basket of the region, when our dependence on copper will be no more. I look forward to a time when our infrastructure will be state of the art and next to none. I indeed dream of hospitals and clinics that are stocked with proper machinery, enough and qualified personal and well stocked with medicines such that we won’t need to transport people outside the country for medical attention. I dream of schools that will educate pupils and students with academic and character excellence, schools with qualified teachers, universities and colleges that will produce proper citizens for mother Zambia.
I look forward to a Zambia where the civil servants will be qualified, professional and highly motivated to work. Where the judiciary will be just and independent from the executive, a Zambia where the government and political leaders will be men and women of integrity and accountable to the people, a Zambia where every district, town and village will be lite with power, a Zambia where every house and building is supplied with clean and safe water.
A Zambia where every individual will be God fearing not because we superficially call ourselves a “Christian nation” but because everyone has humbled themselves and surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Can you imagine what a sight that would be where every individual strives to honor and obey God almighty, a nation where everyone loves the Lord with all their might, while at the same time loving their neighbor as themselves?
Some may say I am delusional, others may call this wishful thinking but I dare to dream, I dare to be different. I am not naïve and I know this will not and cannot happen overnight but will take long years, a lot of sacrifice and hard work. It may never happen in my lifetime but for the sake of the future generation I dare to dream and dare to be different, i will do my part but making an impact with my abilities and resources. "Blossom where you are planted" someone has said. So fifty years from now when we clock a century I pray and hope and dream that mother Zambia will not be considered a third world country but a candidate for the G8 and yes even for the United Nations Security Council. In the meantime I can only echo the chorus of our great national anthem which says:
“Praise be to God… Praise be praise be, freemen we stand, under the flag of our land, Zambia- praise to thee, all one strong and free.”