By Misheck Kakonde
In the intricate narrative of Zambia’s history, the architects of its foundation, led by figures like Kenneth Kaunda, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula, Mainza Chona, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, and other eminent freedom fighters, purposefully crafted a vision of a united nation. “Let the Sleeping Dogs Lie” serves as a poignant cautionary note, urging us to approach matters of potential division with utmost care, particularly in a nation anchored on the principles of unity.
There is only one Zambia; we acknowledge that Zambia has various ethnic groups that live together peacefully. The concept of Zambia as a unitary state did not emerge from naivety or ignorance; rather, it was a thoughtful choice by leaders who recognized the vital role of national unity in fostering stability, progress, and a shared national identity. The struggles faced during Zambia’s formative years were not mere trials; they were battles fought to establish a cohesive nation. Therefore, a socialist demagogue should not hold the whole state at ransom for their selfish motives.
As we navigate the ever-evolving political landscape, it becomes imperative to reflect on the wisdom of the past. Attempts to reopen discussions on dividing the state and the deployment of divisive language carry inherent risks. The metaphorical “sleeping dogs” symbolize dormant issues that, if awakened, might unleash unforeseen consequences, jeopardizing the very essence of national unity.
It is essential to acknowledge that the idea of a unitary Zambia goes beyond political rhetoric; it is a celebration of the diverse tapestry within its borders. The notion of carving out a separate entity, such as “Barotseland,” challenges the bedrock upon which Zambia was built. It not only threatens to erode painstakingly established unity but also risks fostering discord and a sense of disintegration.
Maintaining Zambia’s unity is collective, and the use of divisive language poses a significant threat to the progress achieved over the years. A provocateur advocating for the division of the state for political gain disregards the interconnectedness nurtured by years of intermarriages and shared experiences.
This Divider-in-Chief, a newspaper capitalist masquerading as a socialist, perhaps motivated by a short-term political agenda of soliciting funds from socialist states, is risking the harmony of a young nation, Zambia. The awareness of his aging status may lead him to believe he has nothing to lose. Politicians should engage in constructive politics.
As Zambia navigates challenges and successes, preserving unity pays homage to past sacrifices. It is a commitment to safeguarding a future where “One Zambia, One Nation” is not merely a slogan but a living reality. Let the sleeping dogs lie, for in their undisturbed rest lies the continued harmony of a united Zambia.
Misheck Kakonde is a legal scholar and comparative politics specialist.