Zambia must use jubilee anniversary to re-think
And God told Moses: “Consecrate the 50th year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.
“The fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; do not sow and do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the untended vines.
“For it is a jubilee and is to be holy for you; eat only what is taken directly from the field.”
Zambia celebrated its golden jubilee on October 24, 2014. The country lined up a number of activities to celebrate the independence which was attended by regional leaders from SADC.
On October 24, 1964, Zambia gained independence from Britain. The independence came four years after the famous speech ‘The winds of change’ by British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.
Zambia was formerly the British colony of Northern Rhodesia and in 1953 was brought into the Central African Federation, incorporating Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Nyasaland (Malawi) as well.
Zambia is the only southern African country that can boast as the “mother of nations” in the region.
The support it gave to the liberation movements of southern Africa is a strong theme in its history and national identity; the lengths to which it aided the various movements came at a great cost in terms of human life, infrastructure and lost opportunity for economic growth.
After independence, the country was one of the most vocal opponents to white minority rule and colonialism.
President Kenneth Kaunda, who held office 1964-1991, was a very visible advocate of change in southern Africa.
He actively supported MPLA during the Angolan liberation and civil war, SWAPO during its fight for Namibian independence from apartheid South Africa, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and the African National Congress (ANC) in their fight against the oppressive apartheid system.
Many of these organisations were based in Zambia during the 1970s and 1980s. For this reason South Africa as well as Rhodesia carried out military raids on targets inside Zambia.
Zambia’s support for the various liberation movements also caused problems for its economy, since it was heavily dependent on electricity supply and transportation through South Africa and Rhodesia.
Zambia’s support for liberations struggles has helped the country to enjoy wide popularity among the countries it supported as well as Africa.
When President Kenneth Kaunda made Zambia’s first speech to the United Nations General Assembly on December 4, 1964, he made it clear he was speaking with the voice of four million people – the voice of the people of Zambia – but he spoke also for those millions who were still not free to speak for themselves.
Dr Kaunda said, “Today, even in our jubilation, I weep still. I say to our brothers of South Africa, of Southern Rhodesia, and of the Portuguese territories: Today we weep for you. We do not forget you in the day of our triumph. We say to you in the words of the 126th Psalm: ‘Turn again our captivity, O Lord…they that sow now in tears shall reap in joy!’”
Addressing the Assembly, Kaunda said he was standing in the General Assembly on that day, the representative of yet another African country which had won the struggle for liberty and now took its place among the free nations of the world in its own right.
Kaunda said Zambia stood, then, like other non-aligned nations, for the abolition of colonialism and neo-colonialism in all forms and for the right to accept help from East and West without committing its people to accepting political beliefs. “We know that independence is only the first step on the road to freedom, and that in taking Zambia into the complex modern world, the country needed modern institutions and modern skills. We are aware of neo-colonialism in many garbs from many lands. Too often, sometimes unknowingly, technical assistance and aid have contained tendencies towards a new type of dependence, just as difficult to throw off as the old,” he said. Zambia was determined not to become the political satellites or the economic colonies of anyone, either East or West.
Zambia is one of the African countries that have never experienced civil war. The peace it enjoys today is attributed to the efforts that the first republican President initiated. Kaunda usually boasts of the unity he created in Zambia. He has described this effort as his greatest achievement during his time as head of State. He peacefully built a united Zambia and hopes Zambians will continue on the same path.
Although Zambia has enjoyed his political stability for 50 years, the country continues to struggle in a number of economic areas.
he country continues also to suffer from the adverse effects of corruptions and poverty-related ills such as lack of employment. It’s against this background that as Zambia marches into the next 50 years it should shift its economic policy and start prioritising agriculture and manufacturing.
The economic woes of Zambia could only go away if the country invested its resources in agriculture and the manufacturing sector.
Zambia can also end its economic challenges if it invests more in education.
This would help the country to develop its human resource capital.
It can learn from countries such as Japan, which has developed its human capital into a national resource.
Lastly, I would like to wish the Zambian people peaceful jubilee celebrations. – Daily Mail
* Esiasa is the president of the Zambian Society for Public Administration and Society for Family Business, while Walubita is a Media Specialist and former Diplomat to the United Nations in New York