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Zambia at 50; a Golden Milestone

Zambia has achieved great success in various sectors which 50 years ago was only a dream. Surely, nothing is impossible to achieve for minds that are determined to make change. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, they say. Our forefathers took that one mighty step to fight for independence many years ago and today, we are privileged to celebrate mother Zambia’s 50th independence anniversary.

The first Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda and his government did an amazing job in putting Zambia where it is today. They had to gather up their strength and transition the remnants left by colonial masters into a beautiful land.

The road has not been easy. In fact, it has been very long and bumpy. But through it all, Zambians have learnt to govern themselves, look out for one another and live in peace and unity.

Zambia has achieved great success in various sectors which 50 years ago was only a dream. Surely, nothing is impossible to achieve for minds that are determined to make change.

When Zambia attained independence, it earned its right to govern itself without    external influence . It became a democratic state and its rule is by the people for the people. Although it was once a one-party state, multiparty politics championed by the late former president Dr. Fredrick Chiluba which began in 1990, allow non-ruling political parties to participate in elections and offer constructive criticism where need be.  Additionally, Zambia has a constitution which determines how the country is governed.

The education sector is one essential area the government has focused on and has immensely contributed to developing the country owing to the fact that education increases ones horizon of thinking. Government has built and established various schools and tertiary learning institutions such as   David Kaunda Technical School, the  University of Zambia, Copperelt University and National Institute of Public Administration.  

Unlike in the colonial days were education was characterised by racial segregation, today, learners are free to enroll at any institution regardless of their race, tribe or social standing. This is a great achievement which blends people from diverse back grounds and make them learn from one another.

The transport and communication sector has also been fundamentally developed in the past 50 years. Back then, the country was characterised by a poor road network which caused difficulties in the movement of people and goods from one place to another. It would take a whole week for example, for one to move from the Copperbelt to Lusaka.

Road construction has eased transportation. Further, the liberalization of the economy has given room to private transportation companies to operate and offer their valuable service to the citizenry.

Communication has equally developed. While it took approximately a month for people to send and receive information via letter writing, today, the dawn of mobile communication has put people only a call away from each other.

Infrastructure development has extended to buildings in the country generally. Shopping malls such as Manda Hill and Levy Junction are an example. Apart from offering people various goods and services, these places add to the beauty of the land.

In the past five decades, policies have been implemented to protect the vulnerable. For instance, the Patriotic Front government has implemented the minimum wage policy which ensures that workers from all walks of life earn a reasonable salary.

The re-entry policy established in the late 90s during the Movement for Multiparty Democracy reign is another milestone. The policy ensures that girls  who drop out of school due to pregnancy are readmitted after giving birth.  This is such a great step in the gender equity fight.

There are countless achievements Zambia has attained since she became independent such that they all cannot be put in writing. However, this is not to say the country is fully successful.

Zambia has challenges especially in sustaining its economy. The country’s over dependence on copper, whose prices it has no control over, for export earnings derails the country's economic growth. If copper prices reduce for instance at the London Metal Exchange, the ramification is a poor economy for Zambia.  Zambia needs to diversify its economy by focusing on other beneficial sectors such as Agriculture, Tourism and Entertainment.

Further, the government seems to have focused more on establising learning institutions in urban areas. The education levels in rural areas are so disheartening that even 18 year old pupils cannot read or write. There is need to give equal learning opportunities and resources to Zambians regardless of their location.

Even after 50 years of independence, Zambia is still not self-reliant. The national budget has continued to be dependant on donor aid. This makes the country lack the much needed financial freedom. The government needs to come up with a mechanism that will enable the country fully finance its projects.

The health sector is another area that is seemingly stagnant. Even the country’s biggest hospital, the University Teaching Hospital, has inadequate medical personel and lacks equipments to cater for the health needs of the citizenry. People have to be flown to international hospitals even for simple operations. The government must develop the health sector.

In spite of the mentioned and unmentioned challenges, the success the country has recorded in the past 50 years deserve an applause. Oh hail mother Zambia! Happy 50th independence anniversary.

May the almighty God bless all the Zambians. Let us continue to live in peace, unity and love.

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