JACK Kalala says it is ridiculous for Zambians to pray for blessings which God has already bestowed on them.
In his reflection on high poverty levels in the country titled: The paradox of riches and high levels of poverty in Zambia, Kalala said it was unacceptable to beg from other countries amidst such abundance.
The former special assistant to president Levy Mwanawasa for project implementation and monitoring said people should not expect God to be spoon-feeding them.
“God has given us everything we need for our sustenance namely water, fertile land, minerals and many other resources. Isn’t [it] unwise of us and ridiculous that we should be going to Him to pray for blessings and manna instead of thanking Him for all the blessings he has bestowed on us?” Kalala asked. “All we have to do is to work hard and produce what we need using the brain and the resources that He gave us. We should not expect God to spoon-feed us. NO! In spite of having all these resources, the country is one of the poorest and the fourth hungriest nation in the world. In spite of lakes and rivers, we do not produce enough fish to feed ourselves and for export. Instead, we import tilapia from China. This is pathetic, ridiculous and unacceptable.”
Kalala called for a change of attitude among leaders so that the country becomes self-reliant.
Drawing comparisons with countries like Japan, Israel, and Singapore that do not have the resources like Zambia, Kalala said the current poverty is unacceptable.
“If Zambia, with all its abundant resources, were to be given to the Japanese or the Chinese to be theirs, the country would, in no time, be transformed into a vibrant prosperous country, and would be one of the donor countries to needy nations,” he said. “Like Japan it would be a shining star of development and prosperity. Japan, Singapore, Belgium, Britain, France, Israel, among others, do not have the resources that Zambia has but they are more developed and prosperous than Zambia. We look to them for assistance and support. We go to them crawling on our knees for crumbs that fall from their table.”
He said it’s shameful that the country should experience such poverty amidst plenty.
Kalala asked why the country has failed to develop when it had all it needed to do so.
“Why have we failed to utilise the abundant endowments at our disposal to conquer poverty and create prosperity? Why should we continue to look to others for crumbs when we can transform Zambia into a country of milk and honey?” Kalala asked. “God will not judge us on how many churches we have built, how many times we have fasted or how many times we have shouted alleluia, alleluia, but what we have done with the resources bestowed on us.”
And Kalala said it does not make sense for the nation to blame others for its poverty.
He called on leaders to take full responsibility for the poverty the country is wallowing in.
“Having been independent since 1964, it does not make sense that we should continue to blame others for our plight, or to depend on their goodwill for our survival as doing so defeats the whole purpose of having fought for independence to take charge of our destiny,” he said. “We should take responsibility to fend for ourselves other than depend on others to provide for our necessities. We should resolve to do away with foreign aid and entirely depend on ourselves. If we could talk less and work more and harder, we could certainly be at par with our foreign donors and be genuinely independent.”
Kalala called for a complete change of the mindset among citizens.
“Unlike Japan, Israel – the so-called land of honey and milk, and Singapore – a small island with nothing at all, God has blessed Zambia with fertile land, abundant water and excellent weather for growing crops, yet our country is paradoxically one of the hungriest countries in the world with high levels of malnutrition among children,” said Kalala. “Isn’t this shameful? We need to wake up and change our mindset.”