This day is always special to me, firstly it is Zambia’s Independence Day and secondly, it is my birthday. On this day, we reminisce the heroic acts of our fathers and mothers who were responsible and brave enough to secure a ‘white man free’ future for us all. On this day, I am always fretting ever since I crossed 20. I am ashamed I feel so dependent, but who are you all kidding, you know that my birth mate does share the same woes because even after 51 years, she can’t do without a ‘master’.
Sometimes I question the real meaning of independence. Could it be the release from chains of pain, injustice, torture, and discrimination only to be bound by debts, incompetence, deficits, poor currency, or perfectly fit the dependency theory analysis?
Does being independent mean we remain unable to process our own copper, or run our own mines? Does it mean we depend only on rain for our electricity and irrigation? Does it mean our eyes and ears are set to western culture at the expense of our own draining? Does independence mean we have no national airline? Does being independent mean that the number of neurosurgeons when subtracted from 5 will always be a positive amount?
I believe globalization does stress that interdependence of countries does make those countries better off, but I feel Zambia has become way too dependent while the dependence on Zambia by the western countries is merely decorated exploitation.
As we remember the bravery of the freedom fighters, do we also realise that we have a need for financial freedom fighters, cultural preserving colonels, a real government?
The war is no longer fought with sticks and stones. The enemy won’t use gun powder, but he will definitely smile at you in the name of foreign aid and investment while he pins you like in a wrestling match. When are we going to wake up?
When will we realise that our attitudes have to change? I am so tired of people being optimistic, but showing no real action to the cause. We are happy to be independent, but the truth is we are not. Our fathers did one part, but there exists another, for you and I to complete. It is high time Zambia dared to be self-sufficient.
How many times are we going to talk about diversification? How many times are we going to talk about intensifying agriculture so we can relieve copper of its duty of being heavily depended on? If China won’t buy our copper, we suffer. Do you call that independence? You import fruits from South Africa when you can easily have a comparative advantage in that trade. Do you call that independence? Debts keep piling up, will we call that independence?
I am tired of people blaming governments, trust me the government will never be able to help every one of you and as I see it, there is no government even in the near future, that won’t go heavily condemned. I wish we could not have to wait on government policies , but rather depend on our initiative so that government action was only a bonus. Eventually, we as a nation will be able to produce most of the things we import and borrow outside, internally.
I do appreciate what our forefathers did for us, but like I said before, there is another role we have left to play. If after another Jubilee Zambia remains heavily dependent on foreign aid, I think the only part of independence we should have left to honor and celebrate is the bloodshed and selflessness of our fathers, because even if it was kicked out, ‘white rule’ still prevails in a very sophisticated manner. So let us not be hypocrites when we know exactly what is going on.
So to sum this up, I will define independence as the cultural, economic and political reliance of a country on itself to make decisions freely in such a way that it faces no external punishment as a result of forced owed favours.
Happy birthday to me and happy independence to mother Zambia and I pray we both become fully independent.☺