Sata, Ex-Presidents Deserve Recognition [opinion]

THIS is a very momentous year for Zambia because of the commemoration of her 50 years of independence from the pangs of colonialism and all its ills.

Each and every day throughout the year should be used to celebrate the nationhood and sovereignty of this blessed country.

Cardinal to the celebration should be the realisation that prior to independence and in the last 50 years a lot of citizens, young and old, educated and uneducated, alive and dead ones women and men, have all sacrificed to bring the country where it is today.

There is, therefore, need to honour those of the citizens who, exceptionally, fought for the emancipation of the country and, secondly, those who have, in the last 50 years, stood out from the rest.

Citizens, regardless of the status, who have distinguished themselves in their individual contribution towards nation-building in all spheres of life in the last 50 years should be recognised, not necessarily by the Government.

It is, therefore, soothing to note that the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) has resolved to honour President Michael Sata and all former Heads of State by incorporating their portraits on a commemorative banknote to be issued in October this year.

By not just singling out one of the five, the BoZ seems to have realised that life is like a relay race – one leader hands over the button to another and at the end of the day everyone is a heroheroine in hisher own right.

Truly, President Sata, first Republican president Kenneth Kaunda, late second president Frederick Chiluba, late third president Levy Mwanawasa and fourth president Rupiah Banda all deserve special recognitions.

They deserve tribute first and foremost for merely having – out of 14 million Zambians – occupied the highest position in the land.

Then, of course, individually, they each have made unique contributions to national development in their respective unique ways, at different times.

We are, however, aware that apart from those in the political arena, there are many other heroes and heroines in other fields who equally deserve to be honoured by Zambia.

As already alluded to, and as demonstrated by the BoZ, it is not only the Government that can honour these champions of national development and unity.

Key players in each sector can identify such people and come up with ways of recognising them, so that they can, for once, feel appreciated. They should be made to feel that their sacrifices have been worthwhile and not just in vain!

In identifying such people, there is need to avoid being short-sighted by concentrating on only those who may be present or those who can easily be remembered.

Yes, life is like a relay race and every generation has heroes and heroines who should be identified and honoured, if not for anything else, for the encouragement of the potential ones who are currently still running.

From 1964 to date, we believe several champions must have been produced in health, financial, entertainment, manufacturing, education, religious and other sectors, including the labour movement, not forgetting our own, the media.

Some of them might not have occupied revered positions in society but their contributions to the nation, at their own levels, may have stood out from the rest and left indelible marks, thereby earning themselves distinguished spots.

Indeed, the nation should enter the 51 years of its existence with citizens who have appreciative hearts, without bitterness, petty politics and jealousies.

It should be every citizen’s prayer that the next 50 years of Zambia’s existence should be better than the last 50 years.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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