Fellow Zambians, it is a great privilege to share my thoughts with you on the occasion of our beloved country’s 49th Independence anniversary.
I speak to you not only as a political leader but also as a proud citizen of what is one of the most gifted countries in the world.
Independence Day is a time that we as country must celebrate who we are and what we have achieved. However it is also a day when we must take time for deep reflection. It is a time to take stock of where we find ourselves on this anniversary of the day when Zambia earned the right to determine her own fate.
Zambia has many blessings to count. We have great mineral wealth, expanses of land, rivers crisscrossing that land with fresh water and above all a hardworking, peaceful and peace loving people. For 49 years Zambia has stood united. Today I call on our people to never take these blessings for granted. Let us always celebrate our natural wealth and our great people.
As we enter our 50th year we as a country, we should also ask ourselves a few tough questions. The most important of those questions is whether the citizens of Zambia are enjoying a standard of living that reflects the potential of the country and the gifts God gave it.
Do our mothers in far flung parts of the country access health services for themselves when pregnant and for the children they raise? When a child is born today in Chadiza, Mwense or Kalabo can they hope to access a minimum standard of education that reflects the fact that the country they were born into produces 10% of the world’s copper? Will their nutrition levels show that Zambia has 40% of the water available to SADC region and vast virgin arable land?
Do ordinary citizens in townships and villages all over the country enjoy a standard of living that reflects the fact that Zambia has never been to war but is rather populated by the most peaceable people on the continent? Do our children in every province have a chance to reach their full potential in well-resourced schools that broaden their minds? Do our schools have a minimum standard of education that ensures that Zambia’s brightest children will take their place in the global world?
Fellow Zambians it is my firm belief that as we reflect on 49 years of independence, these are the questions that must be somberly answered.
I call on every citizen to ask themselves if the Zambia they live in is the Zambia they want. If the Zambia we now live in, politically, economically and socially well reflects the blessings God bestowed on this beautiful land and the potential of its great people.
This week, in what has become a wonderful culture; many of our pre-school children will wear outfits made out of the colours of our proud flag. Their teachers will help them paint little flags to take home to their parents. As we look into their trusting eyes and listen to them proudly sing the national anthem thy have learnt, let us all ask ourselves -what Zambia are we bequeathing these little ones? 49 years after Independence what lives are promised the children of Zambia no matter the circumstances of their birth, or which corner of Zambia they happen to live in?
I will end by promising every citizen of this country from Livingstone to Nakonde, Chipata to Mongu that we in the UPND believe that Zambia can be a paradise of peace progress and fulfilled potential. We have the gifts and we have the people.
I would also like to remember all the citizens who sacrificed their lives to attain our freedom and to honor the freedom fighters that are still with us. It is my duty too, to salute the men and women who have contributed to leading and developing Zambia since 1964. Above all I once again congratulate all Zambians on the 49th anniversary of our independence.
God bless this great land.
UNITED PARTY FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT