History of a Great Nation

The history of any great nation lives in the words of its leaders; words that heal, inspire and build a nation and the world. Zambia is slightly over 50 years old. We have not done well in preserving speeches and quotes from our past presidents and other key leaders. Currently as a nation, we are confronted with many challenges. These include the HH treason case, the debate whether President ECL can stand for the 2021 presidential elections, land corruption cases at local councils, youth unemployment and challenges of eradicating HIV and AIDS, and the provision of education to orphans and vulnerable children.

Here are few quotes of former presidents on these issues to motivate us to play a role in bringing hope. “The greatest lesson we can learn from the past. . . is that freedom is at the core of every successful nation in the world.” Frederick Chiluba; We cannot have a council which is full of corrupt councilors. This council is a total failure. My councilors are not working, all they do is chew council money and fatten their stomachs. Most of them were very slim when they were elected and today they can’t sleep well because of fats…Look at the garbage in compounds, there are heaps of uncollected garbage as if we don’t have the council. I request Honorable Masebo to dissolve this council immediately,” Michael Sata; “The power which establishes a state is violence; the power which maintains it is violence; the power which eventually overthrows it is violence.” Kenneth Kaunda.

Here are few more quotes from other presidents and other leaders which may prove educative to us as a people. “We live in a country where our young ladies who have recently attained the age of puberty cannot afford sanitary pads, but our men and women in public offices have iPads which they do not even know how to use,” Patrick L.O. Lumumba Kenyan Activist; “I love my work. But under our constitution, I cannot run again… I actually think I’m a pretty good president – I think if I ran I could win. But I can’t. When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife – as we’ve seen in Burundi. Nobody should be president for life,” Barack Obama; “A court is the guardian of justice, the cornerstone of a democratic system based on the rule of law. If the state does not abide by court orders, the democratic edifice will crumble stone-by-stone until it collapses and chaos ensues,” Judge Dunstan Mlambo; “Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of the mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another,” Nelson Mandela.

For us Christians we know that the history of a great nation ultimately lives in the words of the Bible. It is when men, women and children are taught the truth of the word of God that they can rise and participate in bringing healing, reconciliation and prosperity in a nation. The church played a key role in Western civilization. Early Church Fathers advocated against polygamy, abortion, infanticide and child abuse. Francisco de Vitoria, a disciple of Thomas Aquinas and a Catholic thinker is best remembered for his defense of the rights of the Indians of the New World against Spanish colonist. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., a man of great courage and faith was at the centre of the civil rights movement in USA. In the UK, it was William Wilberforce and the church that fought for the abolition of slave trade.  While the promised Jerusalem that will “be a delight and its people a joy” is not yet (Isaiah 65:17-25), all preachers of the gospel and indeed all Christians must courageously speak confidently the words of the bible and be ready to live them out. Only then can we live the stories behind the words that make history and that our children can build on.

Lawrence Temfwe