Dawn leads to sunrise, to a morning, an afternoon, to sunset, to an evening, and eventually to the night, to midnight and onwards to another new dawn. No dawn lasts for ever! Midnight separates yesterday from today; but come it always does, and with it; a new day arrives.
What has the sunrise, the sunlight of the new morning, of our “New Dawn” shown us?
We are suffering from beyond industrial levels of corruption, excruciating painful mass poverty for the majority of the 19 million plus Zambians, millions unemployed, especially young people, extreme inequalities, a tiny largely thieving minority swimming in extreme luxury while the majority struggle every day to find work and food, six out of every ten children are malnourished and deprived of many of the necessities of life, and many more horrible human conditions are the daily lived experience of the majority of Zambians.
Inability to fully resolve the land question, 57 years after independence for development, an agricultural sector incapable of securing the country its needs for food security, a crippling housing crisis, inferior water development, poor or absent sanitation, a crumbling public health system, and worst of all an education system not fit for the world we live in today all combine to weigh heavily on all Zambians, as sunrise chases the New Dawn away.
The Zambian mining, construction, manufacturing, retail, finance and public sectors are all in shambles: unless attended to, and urgently, Zambia must kiss goodbye for a long time the prospects of resolving the acute crisis of unemployment especially among the youth. The inevitable social explosion awaits us, soon too.
The energy crisis, most acutely felt as high petrol and diesel prices and inconsistent electricity supply threaten to worsen the deterioration in our national economy and its society.
It is the atrociously impoverished conditions of Zambia’s children, who are more than fifty percent of the population, that the New Dawn’s sunrise must shine the brightest light. Hunger, inferior housing or none at all, school structures not fit for housing poor stray dogs, absence of any mass preschool quality social life for toddlers, acute shortage of appropriate education materials and toys all combine within the context of the poverty of their parents to offer the bleakest of futures for Zambia’s children, and therefore, for Zambia itself. Many children are resigned to a permanent life on the streets, and as orphans.
During the night, we Zambians thought about all these things and more. At midnight, we removed from government those we thought and knew were taking us even further backwards and deeper into the nightmare. We have ushered in a New Dawn. Morning is upon us now. We can see clearly, in the bright and blinding sun of the morning, the full extent of our impoverishment, our suffering, and yes, our backwardness.
Can we go to work, now, to usher in the full day of liberation?
No morning lasts a long time, or for ever. It quickly gives way to the afternoon. We must rejoice we survived the sunset and one of the darkest longest nights of our lives, as a country. Midnight came and saved us from the real nightmare of the hell the immediate past administration thrust upon us all. We, the people of Zambia, ushered in The New Dawn. It is now midmorning and time to work, to abolish our nightmare.
We are just under 20 million Zambians altogether, occupying a country 752,618 square kilometres big. Taken out of 257 countries of the world, we are the 40th largest country. Out of this area, 9,220 square kilometres are covered by water.
Among the many natural resources, we Zambians collectively own copper, cobalt, zinc, lead, coal, emeralds, gold, silver, uranium, massive potential for hydropower, abundant vegetation and wild life and climate zones capable of sustaining human and other life, and sustainable agriculture. We have arable lands capable of being expanded with the correct application of indigenous knowledge, science and technology.
We are a rich country with one powerful advantage over many other countries: a youthful population – more than 60 percent of our people are actually under 24 years and less than eight percent are older than fifty five years!
Our extreme backwardness, poverty, unemployment and inequalities in a country rich with natural resources, combined with a young population, offers the best opportunity to turn our nightmare into a truly bright New Day after the New Dawn.
We are rich, we Zambians, and every Zambian has a duty to educate themselves about just how rich we Zambians together, are.
We have a young population distribution which, if properly education, schooled and cultured in the spirit of freedom, hard work, sacrifice, and open aggressive hatred and intolerance for poverty, backwardness, dictatorship and all forms of states of “unfreedom”, and, if vaccinated with love for life, freedom, justice and earned peace, can easily turn our dark horror of the nightmare of lives we live today, into a blissful sunshine of development, abundance and full life for every Zambian, and thus create a truly free and united country.
Our nightmare can and must be turned into its opposite: a bright real new day of development, love, happiness, justice and peace, for all of us.
We have the people, the resources and the poverty and backwardness to exploit to create our heaven on Earth. But first we must contest the morning the New Dawn is ushering in. Merely crossing midnight (voting) was not enough. We gave birth to the New Dawn, we the people of Zambia, all of us, no matter whom you voted for, or did not vote at all!
This column will exploit the inexhaustible creative capacity of Zambians from all walks of life, of all ages and genders to think freely and creatively, to imagine a new country called “Zambia”, in which we shall all truly be fully alive again, and be first free, and then, proud!
It is indeed a New Dawn that is upon us. It is time to wake up!
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