COMPELLING tasks lie ahead, says President Edgar Lungu.
He says today’s generation is the one to determine the Zambia “we want and the Zambia we deserve.”
President Lungu said the political emancipation attained in 1964 was not an end in itself.
He said a lot still remained to be done.
“Indeed, compelling tasks lie ahead,” he said. “We must continue liberating ourselves from poverty and unemployment. We must reduce the high levels of vulnerability and inequality in our nation. We must continue enhancing our individual and collective capacities to deliver prosperity for all. Let every step and breath that we take in our collective journey as a people; be a tribute to our freedom fighters, and a resolve to accomplish what they would have loved to. As we do so, let us not leave our youth behind. They represent the hope and future of our country.”
Addressing the nation on the eve of the 54th Independence Day commemorations this evening, President Lungu said independence affirmed Zambians’ right to self-determination and restored their dignity as a people and country.
“Fifty-four years ago tonight, our country Zambia was born. It was the third country in the southern African region to gain independence after Madagascar and Malawi,” he said. “Tonight, we remember and honour all those who sacrificed for our freedom. In commemorating our 54th Independence anniversary, let us continue to be united and demonstrate that we are a grateful nation. A nation that remembers and celebrates its heroes and heroines, both sung and unsung.”
President Lungu said many had departed, but that what they stood for still lived on.
“Our generation today is, therefore, not only the torch-bearer of the dream of our forefathers and mothers. It is also the generation to determine the Zambia we want and the Zambia we deserve,” he said.
President Lungu said the theme, “celebrating a shared future of unity, development and prosperity”
calls on all to be selfless, as well as to love and respect one another and their country.
“It reminds us of the need to continue on the path of unity and hard work if we are to achieve sustained development and prosperity for all,” he said. “The political emancipation we attained in 1964 was not an end in itself. Rather, it was the beginning of a journey, a journey towards a shared future of unity, development and prosperity.”
President Lungu said independence was a continuous process of liberating “ourselves from factors which hold us back as a nation.”
He said those factors included poor work culture, low self-esteem and a negative mindset.
President Lungu said prior to colonialism, Zambia’s system of governance was based on traditional values and principles rooted in common humanity.
He said it included respect for each other, honesty, a deep sense of community, discipline and hard work.
“We need to reinforce these positive values and principles as an integral part of our national identity and governance system,” President Lungu said. “We must uphold our dignity and self-worth as a people. We must be proud of who we are and defend and protect our values. We must also preserve our rich cultural heritage. We must endeavour to understand and appreciate it.”
He said in the spirit of unity and progress, every Zambian must play a role to deepen the meaning of independence.
President Lungu said Zambia’s abundant natural resources were gifts that should be exploited for the nation’s development agenda.
“I, therefore, urge all of us to ensure that we use these resources in a responsible and sustainable manner,” he said. “…We can and should do more to uplift our families, communities and the nation. We can and should do more to build a just and prosperous society…. As we envision hope for and celebrate a shared future of unity, development and prosperity, let us avoid the pitfalls of faith without works, freedom without restraint, business without morality, education without character, pleasure without conscience and wealth without honour.”
President Lungu said the nation should celebrate the independence anniversary responsibly and with great caution.
“Let us look to the future of our nation with renewed hope and zeal,” said President Lungu. “May our shared future be brighter and more prosperous.”