The Oasis Forum has noted with concern the degeneration of national identity in the face of tribal and regional politics in the country.
In a statement released to the media today , Oasis Forum Chairperson Fr Cleophas Lungu said that the country is seeing public officers such as the police, whose role is to protect every citizen from danger, refuse to discharge their functions impartially and professionally.
Fr. Lungu said that parliament is equally divided on party lines that there is no strong and effective participation in parliament by those elected to represent the Zambian people.
Below is the full statement
OASIS FORUM PRESS STATEMENT DATED 18TH APRIL 2017 ON THE NEED FOR LEADERSHIP, PATRIOTISM AND NATIONAL UNITY
The Oasis Forum has noted with concern the degeneration of our national identity in the face of tribal and regional politics. Today we see public officers such as the police, whose role it is to protect every citizen of this country from danger, refuse to discharge their functions impartially and professionally. We see a parliament so divided on party lines that we do not have strong and effective participation in parliament by those elected to represent us. We see that the fate of our country could rest on a fight over whose motorcade should go ahead first. We see our leaders who profess to be Christians following a path that only leads to darkness, destruction and despair. It is the Zambian people who are suffering. In a country where poverty, illiteracy and poor health are rife, we the Zambian people deserve much better than this.
We ask when did tribe or the political party you belong to become more important than being a citizen of this country? Almost fifty- four years ago our forebearers brought the people of Northern Rhodesia together to form a single identity under the slogan, ‘One Zambia, One Nation’. The seed of division that is being sown for political gain will not profit this country. We need unity in our country more than ever and that can only come from a sense of common identity, a sense that we share a common future and a
love for our country. The Preamble of our Constitution sets out what we as a Zambian people stand for:
WE THE PEOPLE OF ZAMBIA:
ACKNOWLEDGE the supremacy of God Almighty;
DECLARE the Republic of Zambia a Christian Nation while upholding a person’s right to freedom of conscience, belief or religion;
UPHOLD the human rights and fundamental freedoms of every person;
COMMIT ourselves to upholding the principles of democracy and good governance;
RESOLVE to ensure that our values relating to family, morality, patriotism and justice are maintained and all functions of the State are performed in our common interest;
CONFIRM the equal worth of women and men and their right to freely participate in, determine and build a sustainable political, legal economic and social order;
RECOGNISE AND UPHOLD the multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-religious and multi-cultural character of our Nation and our right to manage our affairs and resources sustainably in a devolved system of governance;
RESOLVE that Zambia shall remain unitary, multi-party and democratic sovereign state;
RECOGNISE AND HONOUR the freedom fighters who fought for the independence of our Nation in order to achieve liberty, justice and unity for the people of Zambia;
AND DIRECT that all State organs and State institutions abide by and respect our sovereign will”.
As His Excellency President Edgar Lungu observed in his recent address to Parliament, patriotism and national unity are key to the development of this country:
“As Zambians, we must, therefore, take deliberate steps to work together to amicably solve pressing issues for the sake of national unity, stability and prosperity. We should always be ready to put aside our ethnic and political differences for the good of our nation in line with our motto of “One Zambia, One Nation.” As patriots, Zambia must always come first in our decisions and actions”.
We need our leaders to recognise that Zambia is much bigger than anyone of us, it belongs to everyone and the future generations to come. In the words of our national anthem, “One land and one Nation is our cry”. As we reflect on the message of Easter, we call on all Zambians, particularly our leaders, to make forgiveness and love principles to live by and to make sacrifices for the greater good of our country and our people. As we have stated before, a country is not Christian merely through declaration or through national days of prayer and fasting. We must endeavour to put into practice Christian virtues by fasting from a spirit of vengeance, hatred, division, violence and lack of respect for human dignity. Moreover, the key message of the Risen Christ to his disciples is, “Do not be afraid” (Mathew 28:10) and “Peace be with you” (John 20:20). Therefore, as a people renewed by the Easter message, we need to start afresh and commit ourselves to build a country where all people from every tribe, language and political affiliation can indeed live in peace and harmony – “proud and free.” As our founding father Dr. Kenneth Kaunda once said:
“We tread on a very tough road, for we are not only trying to change the course of history but we are also laying down a foundation…We must think and think and think again about how best we shall serve and not about how important we are
as leaders of our people, or how we can safeguard our own positions as leaders”.
The Oasis Forum is therefore calling on all leaders in the country, political, religious and civic to come together and transcend whatever differences we may have to once again bring all citizens of this country together, to reaffirm that, above all else, we are a united people. Let us as a people say no to partisan politics, no to the destruction of the rule of law, no to hatred and violence. Let us uphold unity, peace, love, understanding and our basic humanity. No tribe and no political agenda should be more important than that.
Fr. Cleophas Lungu
CHAIRPERSON – OASIS FORUM
Issued On 18th April, 2017 in Lusaka on behalf of Convenors:
1. Rev. Suzanne Matale – General Secretary (CCZ)
2. Ms. Linda Kasonde – President (LAZ)
3. Ms. Sarah Longwe – Board Chairperson (NGOCC)
4. Fr. Cleophas Lungu – Secretary-General (ZCCB)