FORMER Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Sketchley Sacika says for millions of Zambians, life is a living hell because they are victims of a collapsing economy.

In an interview, Dr Sacika said Zambians were not at peace.

“Peace is not the absence of war or of conflict, Zambia cannot be said to be at peace simply because people are not rioting or throwing stones at each other. Millions of Zambians are not at peace because they are victims of a collapsing economy, they are victims of a repressive political system and of a dysfunctioning government system. For millions of Zambians, life is a living hell, it is an experience of utter despair. You cannot call this peace, they have no jobs, they have no incomes, they have no access to proper nutrition. The thousands of children are growing up stunted and mentally retarded and Zambia risks being a country of too many mentally defective people because of poor nutritional standards due to high poverty levels. We should not accept this, Zambians should not accept this in the name of maintaining peace and it is not right for anyone to do so. Zambians should instead fight for what rightfully belongs to them that is social economic and political justice. Everybody is entitled to decent standard of living, everybody is entitled to economic freedom and this is what Zambians should be fighting for,” Sacika said.

He said Zambia was in the process of dying economically.

“When a disease is known, a cure must be found for it otherwise the disease will kill the body. Zambia is in the process of dying and this is not an exaggeration, Zambia is in the process of dying economically, politically and socially. Our politics are now about tribalism, our politics are not about who is going to stand or not stand in the elections next year. Nobody is talking about things that really matter to the people, nobody, people are just talking about political power, nobody is talking about how they are going to manage the economy in order to create employment for the people. Nobody is talking about how social and economic conditions are going to be improved, everything is about grabbing political power and this is not right. The people need solutions to their problems. I would like to emphasise that talking about peace without justice is like putting the cart before the horse, that is what is happening, so our emphasis, must be on creating a just society, when we do that, we will inevitably be creating a peaceful society,” Dr Sacika said.

And Dr Sacika urged the church to change their strategy towards promoting peace.

“There is so much talk about the need for Zambians to maintain peace. I think there is something we are missing. You know, emphasis on maintaining peace must be looked at in another context. It was a welcome move on the part of Catholics to organise a workshop to raise awareness among the key pastoral agents to be true and effective promoters and mediators of peace. But the church’s strategy towards promoting peace must change, must be reviewed. Telling people to put emphasis on keeping the peace at all costs has made Zambians somewhat passive and this not good. Zambians are accepting intolerable conditions in the name of maintaining peace. My view is that peace must be a product of justice. It must be a product of social harmony. Only where justice prevails can there be genuine and lasting peace. So Zambians must rearrange or refocus their energy and place emphasis on creating a just society. In my view, this is the proper way to go,” said Dr Sacika.

“The church should not be a mere talk show organising workshops and so on, the church must be involved in a practical way, in solving the problems affecting the people. The church is a political institution, it has always been so for centuries and people therefore expect it to perform it’s historical role. Being the biggest political institution in Zambia, the position that the church takes in issues affecting the country can be very decisive in determining the future or our country, so the church must openly without fear speak out against social, political and economic injustice.”