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Thinking Out Loud: 50 years later, our cause must triumph

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YonaBy Yona Musukwa 

This year marks 50 Years of independence from the colonial rule of Britain.

50 years later, we, the people, remember the hope, we remember the promise of democracy, we remember the reconstruction and development plan promises that were not met, we acknowledge the contradictions, we acknowledge the disappointments, we acknowledge the anger, we acknowledge the sadness, we acknowledge the pain, we acknowledge the unfairness of it all. And we still remember why we wanted freedom so much.

But today, we ask ourselves; where are we now and why are we here? Just a few images to describe where we are now; we buy more from abroad than we sale; more than 50% of our taxes go to pay salaries for government employees; majority cannot access quality health care, majority live below poverty datum line;still depend on Aid/loans despite abundant natural resources;we still waiting for a people driven Constitution; majority cannot access clean water; majority have no access to quality education; access to justice still a preserve of the few rich;we still have practices that undermine the dignity of women etc.

From the above, there is no doubt that Zambia is still diseased and in pain.We are still a long way to the promised land, the land of plenty, the land of a better life for all.The majority of our people live painful lives of poverty. There is nothing that can be said in favour of poverty. Jose` Marti, 19th Century Cuban revolutionary, said in January 1871, in Spain, “These pages should be known by no other name but infinite pain” Indeed it is painful to observe that fifty years down the line, we still have majority Zambians who say government has failed them.

Zambia is endowed with plenty of natural resources; vast arable land, lakes, rivers and vast mineral resources.Is it not ironic and shameful that we still have the majority of our citizens living in poverty? What excuse do we have for the status quo? It is very important to celebrate the wonderful things we have achieved in fifty years of self-rule.But is this the best we can do for ourselves?

As we observe the painful realities of today, we turn to what Frantz Fanon wrote 50 years ago, “the curse of post-colonial Africa were the leaders who took over from the colonialists only to become black colonialists themselves”. The diagnosis was clearly correct. The root cause of our disease and pain is political. The treatment can only be political.

Since independence our political leadership have refused to partner with the people and build a prosperous Zambia. As soon as they get into positions of power, they become petty black colonialists. They indulge in colonialist tendencies and pleasures as much as possible for as long as possible.

Zambia has enough natural resources to provide a better life for all. But for that to be a reality, Zambians must assume full responsibility for our country, and therefore for governing. We cannot allow politicians to continue holding us down. Why should we allow ourselves to be defined by the worst amongst us? Should we continue to stand in apathy? Why should we continue to listen to sweetened political lies, corruption and incompetence packaged to seem less unpleasant?

Thomas Sankara, the Burkinabè revolutionary, in his address to the UN said, “We chose to risk new paths to achieve greater well-being. We chose to apply new techniques. We chose to look for forms of organization better suited to our civilization, flatly and definitively rejecting all forms of outside diktats, in order to lay the foundations for achieving a level of dignity equal to our ambitions.

We chose refusing to accept a state of survival, easing the pressures, liberating our countryside from medieval stagnation or even regression, democratizing our society, opening minds to a world of collective responsibility in order to dare to invent the future. Our economic aspiration is to create a situation where every Burkinabè [Zambian] can at least use his brain and hands to invent and create enough to ensure him two meals a day and drinking water.”This must be our revolutionary choice and cause today. And it must triumph!

Political independence is not the end of the liberation struggle but only a phase within it. It remains a popular view and a correct one that access to political power without transforming the nature and exercise of that power will make a difference only for our own elite, leaving the masses in the periphery, in the cold.

Indeed fifty years later, the majority Zambians have been left in the coldness of poverty. The sad reality is that Zambians seems to not learn and it seems that we don’t care either.Fifty years later, the strugglemust move forward.It moves forward because; NGOCC speaks of women empowerment; FODEP speaks of democracy; Oasis Forum speaks of a New Constitution; TIZ speaks of Corruption. MISA Zambia speaks of media freedom. Catholic Bishops speaks of pastoralletters. And Yona Musukwa speaks of revolutionary citizens. LET’S ENGAGE!!

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