Nalubamba, senior chief of the Ila people of Namwala, has expressed sadness with the steady decline in peace and unity in Zambia.
“I have noted with great concern the gradual deterioration of peace and unity in our great country…,” says Nalubamba.
It is true, our country is increasingly becoming less united and peaceful. We are all, in one way or the other, being pushed to support one leader, one political party, one agenda or programme. To disagree with what our rulers want is being seen as a ‘crime’.
Let’s not cheat ourselves that we can all see things the same way, support the political party, leader and policies. Unity in this country is achievable only by learning to unite in spite of our differences, rather than insisting on unity without differences. For the total eradication of our differences is an impossibility. The secret of attaining unity and peace in this world of increasing diversity is tolerance of disturbance of the peace.
Difference is the essence of humanity and it should therefore never be the source of hatred or conflict. The answer to difference is to respect it. Therein lies a most fundamental principle of unity and peace: respect for diversity.
We cannot wait to achieve unity and peace until we are all the same. How can we expect this to be the basis of peace when we fail to achieve peace – inner peace – even within ourselves as individuals? Clearly, peace is not unity in similarity but unity in diversity, in the comparison and conciliation of differences.
Ours being a country of ceaseless unceasing diversity, it is now unavailable for people of dissimilar political views and affiliations and other differences to live side by side. It is a matter of great urgency, therefore, that we find ways to cooperate with one another in a spirit of mutual acceptance and respect.
Ours today is a nation beset by differences on all sides. Unreconciable differences within a nation are critical and often damaging. Contention puts heavy strain on stability, strength, peace and unity in the country. There is certainly no time for unnecessary and unjustified contention in building a strong nation.
We therefore beseech you, one and all, to add your voices to Nalubamba’s call for an end to the source of dissension and strife, and that love, peace and unity reign in our homeland.
Let’s learn to observe good faith and justice toward all and cultivate peace and harmony with all.
Kemi Sogunle observed:
“Take a look at the plants. They come together and thrive peacefully in the garden or park. They lean on each other without trying to outdo one another. They serve as a sign that we can see beyond our differences and embrace each other in love while allowing our uniqueness to add color to our world. If plants can live in harmony and show their beauty to the world, we as humans can do much more.”
Albert Einstein said, “Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”
Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are, toward creating a nation that supports citizens. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have and all that they are. Unity and peace does not mean an absence of disagreements or even conflicts; disagreements, differences will always be there. Peace means resolving these disagreements, differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.
The moment our rulers and their supporters begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth, and from motives of policy are silent when they should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into their souls.
Those who incite violence have no business lecturing others about unity. Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.
Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.
Martin Luther king, Jr said, “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence, you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence, you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate, In fact violence merely increases hate.
So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”