CHRISTMANS AND NEW YEAR’S MESSAGE TO THE NATION
HON. FELIX C. MUTATI, LEADER OF OPPOSITION IN PARLIAMENT
As we celebrate Christmas, let us remind ourselves of its true meaning focusing onGod’s love for all humanity. As we close this year and open our arms to embracethe year 2012, may we enter into it with resolve for better families, communities and a far much better Zambia. I ask that we stay true to the things that matter and the values which have made us to be a unique but yet a united people- to understand the true meaning of the Ubuntu concept that“I am because you are… and since you are, therefore I am”. I pray that this Christmas will allow Zambians from all corners and tribes to search within their souls and commit to live above tribe under the creed- One Zambia, One Nation! This is an opportunity for all of us, irrespective of our political affiliation, to do our part to serve one another, to seek new ideas and new innovation, and to start a new chapter for our great nation.
According to the Development Indicators Unit, Statistics Division of the United Nations,“Population below national poverty line, total, percentage“, about 68% of Zambians live below the recognized national poverty line, with rural poverty rates standing at about 78% and urban rates of 53%.Zambia ranked 117th out of 128 countries on the 2007 Global Competitiveness Index, which looks at factors that affect economic growth. Per capita annual incomes are currently at about one-half their levels at independence and, at $395, place the country among the world’s poorest nations.Social indicators continue to decline; particularly in measurements of life expectancy at birth (about 40.9 years) and maternal mortality (830 per 100,000 pregnancies).
The future of Zambia seems uncertain for many of our people, both young and old. We have a duty to join hands across political parties, businesses, religious and faith organizations to declare that we can open a new chapter in Zambia’s history for the majority of our poor people. I am mindful of families struggling to make ends meet and conscious of the frustration by millions of our youths without jobs. Majority of our people are struggling to pay their bills or stay in their homes. As leaders and stakeholders, we carry an enormous responsibility to work for the nation and push back the frontiers of poverty. During these difficulty times and the years that lie ahead of us, I call on the nation to work together and focus on a common purpose of creating a better Zambia, founded on strong institutions and a constitution that can stand the test of times. I know that we can make a change and give Zambians hope and faith in a better tomorrow for their families.
Christmas is a season of giving our best in the same manner that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. It is my prayer that this season will also be a time to renew a sense of common purpose and shared citizenship which goes beyond tribe and race. We are presented with a challenge as Zambians to re-dedicate ourselves to the notion that we share a common destiny as Zambians- One Zambia, One Nation…All One, Strong and Free! In our families and communities, it is a time for every Zambian to say to the other that “I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper”.
I am mindful of the devoted fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers across the country that wake up each morning hoping for a better day. Millions of people across the nation celebrate this Christmas in the shadows of great need,in need of basic things that should make this day special for them.Remembering the victims of floods in our compounds, who for them this Christmas means wading off water from their flooded homes; it is for such that begs us to employ our utmost dedication to rebuilding this nation with speed. Most of our people’s hopes and dreams have been shattered or deferred because maybe, as a collective, we have not acted responsibly. We have an opportunity to act and act responsibly. We have a duty to foster a national spirit united in purpose.
We must ensure to capture the spirit of community as the basis of national moral rebuilding, a place of shared ideals, a place of shared resources. Sometimes in our political discourse, we have vehemently debated while alienating the communities we were called to serve by building artificial walls of indifference and intolerance. Let this Christmas be about reaching out to someone.
Finally, I ask that we observe the traffic rules as we drive, mindful of our duty of care for the next person. I also encourage the nation to continue praying for those who govern on our behalf for wisdom. To the youth of Zambia, I say you are the possibility generation and with your participation another Zambia is possible.
I wish you all a Happy Christmas and a fulfilled New Year.
May God bless Zambia!