A MATURE GOVERNMENT AND MATURE OPPOSITION LEAD TO A MATURE COUNTRY
Zambia turns 60 at its next independence day. In many countries, including Zambia itself, that is the most common retirement age. At this stage of their lives, they have seen and done it all – and are now fully matured from their many life experiences. They are then able to use this life long earned wisdom to guide those who are younger. Indeed this is the stage in life that those who were born in 1964 have reached. If Zambia were a person, this is where it would be – mature, wise, level headed, unifying and stable in its conduct.
But is this where we are as a nation? We need to seriously reflect on this question – and give ourselves a fair but honest response. Have our politics become more mature, both from the government and opposition side? Do we conduct ourselves and affairs in a manner that can be described as being mature? Have we gained wisdom from our now almost six decades of independence? Does our attitude as politicians exhibit this wisdom that we are expected to have? Do we practice our politics in a manner that can be described as being level headed? Is that how the region and the rest of the world views us? Given that we have had 60 years to go through our phases of tribal, regional and political division and have had an opportunity to learn from them – can we sincerely state that we have reached the level of unity that is expected of us? Can we genuinely claim to have put regionalism, tribalism and confrontation between political parties behind us? Are we stable in our general conduct?
Are our institutions of state genuinely impartial, truly independent and openly professional? Do they follow their respective mandates with absolute fairness in their intentions? We have had experiences and time to learn from past corruption. Have these important lessons assisted us in our fight against corrution? Do we fight corruption holistically or selectively? Do we fully appreciate the fact that public service is not about advancing the interests of self, family and close associates but about truly dedicating ourselves to the broader good of all? This is especially and particularly even more relevant for those who lack any form of access to anyone in any position of authority.
INVITATION TO LEADERS AND CITIZENS
I invite our leaders – both in government and the opposition, all parties and every Zambian citizen for us to seriously and sincerely introspect on each one of these important questions. I have had the privilege of working with many freedom fighters. But my closest contemporaries in the freedom struggle, all of whom are unfortunately late, were Moto Nkama, Rupiah Banda, Jethro Mutti, Ali Simbule and Alexander Chikwanda. When my time comes to join them and many others in the next world, my departure will be a lot more bearable if we can address these issues with continued vigour. We have had 60 years to learn from all of our mistakes. We need to accept that a mature country is attained through a mature government and mature opposition.
As we go into the new year, my humble wish is for all of us to use this period to reflect on our state of affairs in a constructive, sincere and unified manner. We were able to attain our independence because we were united in what we wanted. Let us employ that sense of unity to forge ahead and ensure that peace and prosperity shall be the preserve of all in our beloved mother Zambia. I wish every Zambian a rewarding 2024.
VERNON J. MWAANGA 30 DECEMBER 2023