CHAPTER One Foundation says the emergence of heightened modern‐day economic, political, religious and tribal divisions have resulted in increased threats to national unity.
In a statement to celebrate their one year anniversary and Unity Day, Wednesday, Chapter One Foundation executive director Linda Kasonde called on the government to develop and implement national policies that address the increasing economic, political, religious and tribal divisions.
“Since President Kenneth Kaunda’s famous proclamation ‘One Zambia, One Nation,’ created to signify the importance of Heroes Day and Unity Day, Zambian leaders have continued to stress that the unity and collaboration of the diverse Zambian people led to Zambia’s independence thus the spirit of unity must be maintained to not only honour those that fought for a free Zambia but also ensure that the vision for a free and peaceful Zambia is maintained. Though Zambia continues to maintain relatively high levels of peace since its independence, the emergence of heightened modern‐day economic, political, religious and tribal divisions has resulted in increased threats to national unity, giving the commemorations of Heroes Day and Unity Day more importance than ever before,” Kasonde stated.
“Given the polarisation seen in recent years, Chapter One Foundation recognises that the definition of ‘heroes’ has expanded beyond those who fought for Zambia’s Independence and now includes people from all walks of life who contribute to the nation’s advancement and the protection of our unity. Chapter One Foundation calls on the government to develop and implement national policies that address the increasing economic, political, religious and tribal divisions. We encourage all stakeholders to reflect on the roles they can play towards enhancing the peace and unity enjoyed thus far in order to promote inclusive multi‐sectoral strategies that will address the economic, social, political and environmental triggers of Zambia’s civil disunity.”
Kasonde commended the government for its contribution towards the growth and protection of the country.
“In addition to these measures, Chapter One Foundation would like to call on the government to further promote unity through collaborating with people across the political divide, as the State plays an important role in continuously showcasing the unity agenda to the public. Chapter one remains committed to working with the government and other stakeholders in efforts to address the concerns highlighted. Chapter One Foundation commends the Zambian people, the government and other stakeholders that have contributed towards the growth and protection of our beloved Zambia and the preservation of unity thus far. We urge all stakeholders to continue to promote our nation’s motto of One Zambia, One Nation,” she stated.
Kasonde said since inception, the Foundation had raised awareness on the impact of Bill 10 on the nation’s governance among other things.
“Chapter One Foundation officially opened its doors on 8th July 2019 with the mandate to promote and protect human rights, human rights defenders, constitutionalism and the rule of law in Zambia primarily through strategic litigation, advocacy and civic education in a sustainable manner. With the overarching objective to uphold and defend the Constitution and the rights included in it and by so doing, free the space for Zambians to fully participate in the democratic governance of the country, Chapter One Foundation was named after Chapter One of the Laws of Zambia which contains the Constitution. In our first year, Chapter One Foundation has facilitated and provided human rights training for human rights defenders and civil society and raised awareness on the impact of Bill 10 on the nation’s governance and democracy alongside making submissions to the National Assembly on the impact of African Peer‐Review Mechanism in Zambia,” stated Kasonde.
“Additionally, Chapter One Foundation built partnerships with human rights organizations and national institutions in order to advance its objectives. In celebration of our first anniversary, which falls shortly after Heroes and Unity Day, Chapter One Foundation recognizes the efforts of various individuals in Zambian society who have contributed to the promotion and protection of human rights, constitutionalism, the rule of law and social justice in Zambia. Celebrated annually on the first Monday and Tuesday of July, Heroes and Unity Day are holidays that were created by the nation’s forebearers to honour those who fought in the struggle for freedom and encourage unity following Independence amongst the 70‐plus ethnic groups that represent the Zambian people, as a means of fostering long‐term solidarity.”