The reality of the world today is very different from what we know to be the normal. Not so long ago, it would have been unthinkable that the world would almost come to a standstill due to a disease which has touched and claimed the lives of so many people all over the world. To say that these are difficult times or rather that the world is in peril would be an understatement. The series of unfolding events on a global scale due to the infectious Coronavirus or the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and sad to watch. Times like these remind us of the sanctity of life and the need for us to take care of ourselves first and then others as well.
If we look at the number of people who have died from some calamities or diseases in the past, then compare and contrast with the death toll of what we are witnessing today due to this global pandemic, we can draw the conclusion that COVID-19 seems to be on a whole different level. It is hard to imagine that a virus that started off from one province in China would spread around the world so quickly from that province to South East Asia, sweeping through North America, Europe and then to the four corners of the earth. Evidently, this shows that this disease knows no boundaries, religion, race, colour or creed. It has spread rapidly among the poor and equally among the rich. I think that what is more shocking about COVID-19 is that, to some extent, it has shifted attention and formulated a whole different narrative from what most people are usually used to in terms of previous pandemics. It is very rare that whenever there is an outbreak of a world pandemic, western countries such as the United States and European countries do not get affected as much, for example, Ebola or even the HIV pandemic. But this time around the picture painted by COVID-19 seems to be very different. In the past, we would have expected the Western countries coming to the aid of poor and developing countries around the globe to combat this crisis. However, the reality today is such that the Western countries are themselves currently overwhelmed and terribly hit by this deadly pandemic. Just image, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, the wife of the Canadian Prime Minister, the Prince of Wales etc. are among a few prominent figures who have tested positive or fallen victim to the coronavirus.
This disease has been a game changer on many levels, from the economic tall it has taken on most, if not all world economies with the United States being the most hit with stock markets still struggling to hang on. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has officially declared that the world economy has been brought to a standstill by this virus. This is very scary and a very sad state of affairs, because never before has the world been faced with so uncertainty with regards to the future. Whatever the lessons we will learn from these desperate times, there is one thing for sure which we should never forget. We should never forget that in this world today, we as a people are and should be one. What affects us at home affects others abroad, be it people in the Middle East, or Asia, the USA, Europe etc. We should never forget is that we are human beings first and foremost. We bleed the same colour of blood, we are all born into this world and we will all die and leave this earth some day. Also, we should remember that as humans, we are inter-dependent species. We all need each other, especially in times of need such as now.
To the beautiful people of Zambia, my friends, comrades, brothers and sisters, I would like to appeal to you that please do everything possible to take care of yourselves. Listen to the advice of health professionals and the government. It is only when you are well and in good health that you can take care of your family and neighbours.
This disease will need all of us to come together and fight it until victory is won. Please wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitisers and follow through with everything that the health professionals ask of you to do. To our leaders in government, it is necessary for us to remind you that you have a duty to our people. The Zambian people look up to you for direction, guidance and protection, please seize this moment to make a huge difference in the lives of the people. The government should communicate accurate information to the public, give simple and direct instructions to the citizens. The President of the Republic, Edgar C. Lungu, should emulate other world leaders in taking a forefront row in updating the nation on any measures and responses government is undertaking as the events unfold.
To the politicians in the opposition, let us help this government save lives during this difficult time. We can and should put politics aside when a nation is faced with a crisis of this magnitude. The offer by Hakahinde Hichilema, president of the UPND, to assist government in helping those in prison during the coronavirus is a noble move and should be commended. Not far from Zambia, our friends in South Africa have come together to fight COVID-19, including the radical left-wing Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF), other opposition political parties and the government of the day the ANC. This coming together of political enemies to save lives is the right thing to do as patriots and leaders. After all, when everything is said and done the most important thing in life is to preserve life itself. May God help us in these difficult times and may we in return help others who need our help in any way possible.