The 50 Year Old Tree

In a few months’ time, the republic of Zambia will be commemorating fifty-one years of freedom from colonial statute, making it one of Africa’s oldest sovereign states. Smash! Now that’s a milestone? This coming October will mark more than half a century of harmony and congruence for us the people of Zambia – all this under three different political regimes. How’s that for flexible governance and democracy.

Undoubtedly, half a century of autonomous governance and free will should have given us ample time to get back on our feet, right?  After fifty years, one would imagine us a thriving nation, both socially dynamic and economically, when you consider the abundance of resources and diverse culture we encompass. Being one of the oldest states on the continent, I feel we should be setting a benchmark for others in the region to commend and pursue. Lamentably though, such is not the case.

Fifty years on, the current state of affairs and associations are parallel to the vision and imagery in the above clause; a large percentage of the Zambian population is still living in abject poverty, barely having enough to sustain an average livelihood. This is despite boasting of a rich deposit of natural resources and a diverse culture only few could bout.

Seems to me the only people relishing in the yield are those in higher offices and consolidated positions. However though, I do not wish to make this political in any way – the root of the problem burrows deeper than that. Yes, while we always look forward to elections and national polls for hope of a change of wind, I’m afraid such is not the elucidation.

So, what am I trying to lay-out?  What I’m saying is we Zambians are the root of our own problems. Yes, object all you want but surely, we are. Allow me to abridge it more; we are like roots that burrow deep into the soil in search of that precious water essential to our survival. It has come to my understanding that once these roots hit an obstacle of rock; they hurriedly look up to the leaves above the soil for direction. These roots completely forget their role in the upbringing of the plant and hence aspect up to those above to solve their own glitches. The roots do not realise that failure to acquire adequate water and nutrients in their own capacity evolves in the slow decay of the plant as a whole.

We encompass this diverse culture and abundance of resources but always we are blaming the administration for our inequalities and inefficiencies. We are always taking government to task on our ineptitudes and hope that that single cast of a vote will bring change and maybe budge the rock. I deliberate, that we seem to forget that those in our administration are also Zambians. And whether these leaves above us are able to enjoy the morning sunlight and cool evening breeze, the fact is that they too are part of the plant.

To cut the long story short, what I’m trying to lament is that we as a nation are reluctant to identify and solve our own problems. Sometimes, I doubt if we even realise the magnitude of the problems we have. Truth is there is a minority of these roots that have found a way around the rock but choose to keep these paths to themselves. How then does this plat grow healthy if only a small part of its roots has aces to water?

Consequently, in my brief but sufficient study of the social dynamics and administrative decree, I have come to understand that freedom does not entirely represent, nor is a fit synonym for liberalisation. We can boast of our independence all we want but, I doubt if we are at all entirely liberal.

Well, I have spoken but only a minor fraction of my mind out; these are just some of the thoughts that linger in my awareness. Allow me go back to the theme that induced me to this writing and conclude. If designs of equality and liberalism are still vague, fifty-one years on, then to what accord are celebrating this Independence Day?

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