Zambia must be one of the very few countries without any Post independence heroes.
Most of the heroes recognized before and after independence are those that have shown exceptional courage in the face of real danger. These are either the men and women that threw stones in the liberation and indeed those who showed tremendous courage in confronting the so called colonial oppressors.
After independence the awards have gone to men and women that have shown personal courage in confronting the adversity of nature including sterling courage in the face of real danger such as rescuing individuals attacked by animals or indeed swimming in fast flowing rivers to rescue individuals at the point of certain death.
However few people have received awards or have been recognized for their ingenuity, academic excellence or outstanding performance in industry.
If anything certain sections of society would want us believe that our country is made up of scoundrels and miscreants devoid of any abilities to contribute towards the well being and status of the country.
Therefore men and women who took the courageous and bold steps of shepherding Zambia towards mining Greenfields have all but receded into the mists of early antiquity. The likes of Francis Kaunda who chaired the Privatization Negotiating Team that brought to the country new multi billion investments are best remembered for selling a primary school in a manner that offended the cartel.
Few remember the grip that Anglo held over this country’s resources, which grip estranged the country from other investors, but which vicious grip was prised open by the courageous and strategic policy initiative to open Zambia to other investors.
The very fact that Zambia is enjoying a robust and bludgeoning mining industry is lost to most men and women who did not experience firsthand the dying throes of the nationalized mining industry.
Acknowledging President Chiluba for his effort in this direction, let alone acknowledging his contribution towards a change in national psyche towards housing, business and cultivating a sense of self reliance would seem politically incorrect.
Giants in the academic world, medical field, business and arts are swept by the tide of political change and discourse.
With each successive regime fortunes will change. Those with acumen will change and swim with the new tide but many are those who will remain behind in the unsung glow of their efforts and achievements.
That is why the heroes and unity celebration sounds disjointed in the prevailing political climate that is devoid of substance and real issues. It is a culture that delights and thrives in inanity, calumny, divisiveness and confrontation.
Time has come for mature politics when diversity will not be equated to enmity.