Colleagues, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all Zambians for the peace and unity we have exhibited for the past 49 years. This peace has come at a huge cost to us all and responsibility within ourselves, Africa and beyond. It therefore should not be a surprise to us when Zambia is ranked among the most peaceful countries in the world.
As we reflect on this peace and unity we should also take note of the triggers that have the potential to stifle us and go down the unenviable path of destruction and hostility.
Firstly, let me recognise the role of our forefathers and mothers in creating the nation we call Zambia now. But specifically on this day I would like to acknowledge the role played by mothers in building this country.
Our women’s role in building the Zambia we have come to know can never be under estimated.
The first person a child comes into contact with, when they are born is the mother. Therefore, it should not even be a point of discussion that all our development must me aimed at empowering our women so that they are able to provide for the family. Even in the key of agriculture sector, eighty percent of the produce on the market, is from our woman.
Those in position of authority must take deliberate efforts in increasing food security packs for our women as opposed to the current scenario where these are aimed at men.
Let me briefly address the issue of unity. Colleagues, one man once said “if there is not enemy within, the enemy outside will so us no harm.” Of late I have observed a growing trend of divisions among our people based on petty and none productive political, racial, tribal and at times, religious lines.
I will not call on any example that precedes this dangerous trend. I have seen on various debates and interactive platforms, especially social media, where failure to constructively engage ourselves always ends up with reference to political, tribal and or some other form of affiliation. This colleagues is simply divisive and unproductive.
We the young generation should particularly guard against engaging in unproductive debates that end up defining us along political and other affiliations.
The cost of living for all Zambians is getting to levels unmanageable by the majority, there are no medicines in hospitals, people that are on ARVs have had to discontinue treatment because of ARV shortages. Yet we want to pre-occupy ourselves in petty fights over who comes from where and not necessarily what that person can contribute to the development of this country. Let us be responsible enough to restrict our debates to issues.
Imagine for once there were no political parties, no tribes, no whites or blacks, and the world was homogenous; this is what will happen when you focus your mind on issues and not on persons or personalities. This is my clarion call.
Zambians let’s take Tuesday 8th July 2014 as a landmark day to reflect on where we want to take this country as a united force. “We are only as strong as we are united and as weak as we are divided.” – JK Rowling. We also should know that “wise men learn from other people’s mistakes, not their own.”
I wish you all happy Heroes and Unity days colleagues.