AS the sun sets on one of the most eventful years in the history of Zambia, a new dawn and a new year called 2016 is born.
Today is New Year’s day, the first day on the Gregorian and Julian calendars and the most celebrated public holiday in modern times the world over.
Bishop John Vincent, an influential missionary and Christian scholar of the early 20th Century, penned one of the most memorable New Year resolution post cards which summarises the wishes and aspirations of many responsible citizens of any country at the beginning of each year.
He wrote: “I will this day try to live a simple, sincere and serene life, repelling promptly every thought of discontent, anxiety, discouragement…..cultivating cheerfulness, magnanimity, charity and the habit of holy silence.’’
He added: ‘’Excersing economy in expenditure, carefulness in conversation, diligence in appointed service, fidelity to every trust and a child-like trust in God.”
For no-one’s fault Zambia is today in the throes of a very difficult hour economically and politically. For the past seven years the country has been flying high economically, achieving a 7 per cent GDP and attracting some of the world’s most sought after investors.
Today it is crunch time. The decline in copper prices, the fall of the Kwacha and massive power outages have rendered the life of every Zambian very unpredictable indeed. Individuals, the Government and industry have to adjust their priorities.
That is why every Zambian must heed the words of Bishop Vincent more than a century ago that we need to moderate our New Year resolutions in view of the tempestous times we live in.
We must live a simple, sincere life devoid of pride, ruthless ambition and arrogance which only set us against our family, friends, work mates and political opponents . Unnecessary anxiety and discontentment will only serve to raise our blood pressure and make us disgruntled fellows incorrigible to live or interact with.
A happy-go-lucky citizen is ever ready to explore every opportunity his country offers. He is ready and willing to do his bit to advance the cause of his or her own country. A good citizen exercises magnanimity is his or her dealings with others and does not talk about violence or think about retaliation for any injustice suffered.
We now have a new Constitution which calls for courage to achieve that which we have always desired in the national document. We need to put our heads together to usher in a new era for our political and legislative dispensation.
Our New Year resolutions should be how we should use the new national facilities such as good roads, better schools and patient-friendly and well equipped hospitals to make our lives better.
Our political discourse must be civil, loving and issue-based bearing in mind that careless talk and hate speech are not part of the genuine Zambian vocabulary. It is the language of the gutter press and the uncouth politician who has no place in today’s new constitutional dispensation.
Like our President declared yesterday in his New Year message, Zambia is ‘‘bigger than anyone of us and therefore citizens of goodwill must ignore those politicians who seek State power through divisive tendencies such as descending to base instincts of tribe, colour, sex and other such issues’’.
Indeed the problems that confront us cannot be the reason for hating one another; we should be a nation of tolerance, people who engage each other easily and simply; a nation of hope and peaceful co-existence – the virtues of a Christian nation that we are.
Whatever challenges we face as individuals and country, we should remember to exercise economy in expenditure, carefulness in our conversation lest we offend others, diligence in every assignment given us to do, fidelity to those we love most and, most importantly, exercise child-like love for God our maker.
That way we can make Zambia the great country that we all seek it to be.