ZAMBIA has been spared from the curse of being torn apart on tribal or ethnic lines, racial, regional, religious and ideological lines largely because of the One Zambia, One Nation motto the country has espoused from independence, President Edgar Lungu has said.
And President Lungu has said Zambia is on a journey of redefining its destiny by continuing with her economic and infrastructure development agenda which had been pursued by successive governments since the country gained its sovereignty.
The President said countries across Africa had been torn apart along tribal, ethnic, racial, religion and ideological beliefs and that Zambia should never experience the same turmoil and that was why he had personally embarked on reviving the One Zambia One Nation motto to reconcile and unite the country.
Addressing the nation on the eve of Africa Freedom Day under the theme: “Celebrating 50 years of our national existence and celebrating socio-economic transformation,” President Lungu said in a vibrant democracy and free society like Zambia, there was always a danger of losing sight of the importance of putting the country above tribe, religion and party affiliation.
The Head of State said Zambia was a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society and that her diversity called for co-existence among different groups.
The President stated that he was happy that successive governments had continued to nurture unity which had contributed to the peace and stability the country had been enjoying in the last 50 years.
He explained that Zambia had over the years fostered and sustained a democratic culture which had been demonstrated by successive peaceful and democratic elections.
President Lungu said the peaceful and democratic elections in Zambia had been characterized by smooth transitions of government and transfer of power from one president to another.
“Zambia is bigger than all of us and our national unity more important than anything else that divides us. That is why I have taken the deliberate step to revive and restore the citation of motto One Zambia One Nation on the national broadcaster. Countries across Africa have been torn apart along tribal, ethnic, racial, religious and ideological beliefs but Zambia has been spared from the curse largely by the promotion of the One Zambia One Nation. There is always a danger of losing sight of the importance of putting the country above tribe, religion and party affiliation,” President Lungu said.
President Lungu said visionary men and women from all parts of Africa congregated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1963 to forge a united front against colonialism because they had realised that by acting individually, no country was strong enough to defeat the imperial forces.
He said the creation of the African Union encouraged freedom fighters both at home and abroad to accelerate the struggle for the attainment of independence.
President Lungu stated that Zambia was a sovereign State because of the courage, vision and sacrifice of the men and women that fought imperialism.
He said at independence, Zambia inherited colonial infrastructure that was designed to facilitate the export of the country’s copper but the founding fathers embarked on rapid economic infrastructure development to reverse the trend.
President Lungu however said the economic infrastructure development was hampered by the global economic crisis in the 1970s following the collapse of the copper prices on the world market as well as the sharp rise in oil prices.
He stated that the PF Government has since 2011 embarked on an infrastructure development programme in the areas of roads, health, schools, sanitation, energy, communication and railways to ameliorate the economic challenges the country was faced with.
“Our political independence is meaningless if we cannot feed ourselves and that is why agriculture has been a priority area of the PF Government as it contributed to food security, poverty reduction, employment creation and economic diversification,” President Lungu said.
The Head of State stated that Zambia’s political independence would not be complete without telling the story of the country’s copper and the role the mines play to the economy.
He said copper had continued to be a major pillar of the country’s economy particularly in the generation of foreign exchange but cautioned that the dependence on the mineral had exposed the country to instability each time the prices collapsed.