By Pezzy Kudakwashe
We are going through tough times. My heart bleeds for the many innocent Zambians who will go without food during this time of financial crisis. It aches
for those who will die from the combination of disease and the lack of food.
I have a feeling that the majority of Zambians are not aware of the crisis because they live in the remotest areas of the country. However, despite their not knowing of the financial crunch, I suspect that through instinct some of these people can now tell that things are not normal. I am positive that some can adequately sense the food crisis in their general surroundings.
With the odds seemingly working against us, my faith assures me that Zambia could come out of this situation safely, but only if we pull together in one direction as Zambians. Everyone should be involved.
Right now, we could suspend most of the programs targeted by the constituency development fund and redirect the funds towards food security for the constituencies by purchasing and stocking maize for a rainy day. The churches can come out in full support of this program by offering their facilities for food storage. We see in the Bible how God used Joseph to create food reserves crucial in a time of crisis. The schools can also chip in by stocking food provided through the diversion of constitutional funds. At this point, we need food security more that buildings.
It is time we Zambians began to deliberately take steps aimed at serving our fellow citizens. We have the ability to plan for a better future. It is time the political parties, the churches, schools, civic organizations, and every honest Zambian came together to build one healthy Zambia, as was tried in the past by our first president, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, as evidenced by his slogan, “One Zambia, One Nation.”
Such an ambitious program can be done.
For the first time, we could see every Zambian church and denomination plough back the funds contributed by their members to provide Sunday meals for its needy people. What would it profit the church to keep a fat bank account while people were dying of hunger? What if, as Zambians, we turned Saturday or Sunday into a day when those who can afford an extra meal (not only the rich) could feed one extra, hungry person? Why can’t we reach a day when those with two coats can resolve to give one coat to another? Wasn’t this the message that Jesus preached? If only Zambians could come together and help each other for the sake of Mother Zambia, this depression would have a lesser effect on our nation.
We cannot wait for the government to provide. It has failed us in the past and is still failing us by allowing drug stores to distribute expired drugs to our sick and by allowing smugglers to sell our much-needed maize at the expense of the voiceless Zambians. The government has failed us by awarding itself huge salaries at the expense of good health care for its own citizenry. It has failed us by spending millions of dollars importing luxury vehicles at the expense of allowing dubious transporters to run defected passenger fleets that are killing our people daily on Zambia’s roads.
It’s time for every ordinary citizen to raise up and help a fellow Zambian. Let’s get back to the real Zambian culture, where young people can help the elderly without expecting anything in return. It’s time we began to value Zambian life more today than ever before.