Congratulations Zambia, but more still needs to be done

This week marked Zambia’s 53rd Independence anniversary and the southern African country has much to celebrate. The country is one of the oldest democracies in Africa and the region.

Zambia should be a shining example in Africa and the world on how governments should respect the people who vote them into power.

A look at the achievements in terms of democracy, Zambia has never had civil war or strife since 1964 when it gained independence form British colonial rule.

Hailed as the most peaceful societies in Africa and the world, civil unrest and violent protests are something foreign to Zambia.

But we did notice that the enemies of African peace and tranquillity have been hard at work trying to instigate Zambians to hate each other and stir civil unrest in the name of politics.

We implore President Edgar Lungu to work tirelessly to ensure that the country is not made ungovernable by the enemies of democracy. After all it is only the Zambian people who will suffer as a result. We call on him to keep the legacy and spirit of that country’s Founding Father Kenneth Kaunda alive.

It is our belief that Zambians are peaceful people because of Kaunda’s humanism and Ubuntu approach to governing. Even when he made policy mistakes, it was because his government was people-centred.

Kaunda demonstrated this humanism during the 1970s when he helped almost all liberation movements in southern Africa. ZANU, ZAPU, ANC and SWAPO were all housed in Zambia at some point of their liberation struggle.

Those who were housed by Zambia during those times of need will always talk about the Zambian hospitality and that they never felt away from home.

All of this was done because Kaunda felt there was no point in Zambians being free of colonial oppression but their brothers and sisters in neighbouring countries still oppressed.

Zambians are also renowned for holding those in power accountable and ensuring that those who use public office to enrich themselves or their families are taken to task, so much so that there are former presidents who have been charged with corruption in Zambia. This is an occurrence many in the world can only dream about.

But President Lungu still has a long way to go in delivering the prosperity promised to the Zambian people in 1964.

A few things that need attention are issues of health and the quality of life.

Zambia’s life expectancy was estimated to be at 48 years a few years ago, while many countries in the region have a life expectancy of over 60 years.

The majority of the country’s population, at 64 percent, still live in rural areas with little or limited services and economic opportunities.

Also about 61 percent of the population lives below the poverty line and the country’s public debt to GDP is at about 59 percent, making it difficult for government to fund developmental projects. This also means the government will find it hard to afford its social responsibilities of ensuring adequate healthcare for its people, education, water and sanitation.

The majority of Zambians continue to use charcoal and wood as an energy source, especially for cooking.

The figures above just show that President Lungu has his hands full and has the responsibility to change such figures to read more positively for the Zambian people.

The Zambian government has done well in ensuring lasting peace and stability for the past 53 years, but that could be meaningless if the majority do not enjoy the benefits of such peace and stability.   

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