Monday, June 03, 2013

Being in the right direction
By Editor
Mon 27 May 2013, 14:00 CAT

Japanese Ambassador to Zambia Akio Egawa has expressed confidence that the current Zambian government's policies will bring economic development and create jobs for many unemployed youths.

Ambassador Egawa says the PF and its government are headed in the right direction and hopes that these efforts will bring about the intended results, more benefits and more jobs for the Zambian people. But we should bear in mind that being headed in the right direction does not guarantee us anything. It simply offers us an opportunity to succeed as well as the risk of failure.

It offers us an opportunity that if we work together and manage our affairs well, we can get to where we are destined to be. It offers us a risk of failure because the success of what we are doing depends on us keeping in the right direction. You can start off in the right direction but along the way veer off from the course. To get where we want our country and our people to be will require toil and effort, labour and strife. It will also require a citizenry and a political leadership that does not shrink from danger, from hardship or from bitter toil.

A life of ease, of endless subsidies and all sorts of free things won't take us anywhere. We need to start striving after greater things.
It is very easy to keep things as they are and proceed in the same direction we have been pursuing for years. A life of ignoble ease, a life of that peace which springs merely from lack either of desire or of power to strive after greater things, is as little worth of a nation as of an individual.

It is easy to leave things as they are - leave the subsidies, all those free things that we can no longer meaningfully afford. We can do all this in the hope of having peace and stability in the country, of reducing strife and dissent; in the hope of ensuring no oppositional challenge to those in government. Yes, this may help maintain peace and stability in the country. But for how long? What will happen when the well runs dry?

We should not admire that type of peace and stability in the nation which doesn't take us forward but backwards. It is hard not to fail; but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. In this life, we get nothing save by effort, sacrifice. Freedom from sacrifice in the present, merely means that there has been stored up sacrifice in the past. A mere life of ease is not in the end a satisfactory life, and above all it is a life which ultimately unfits those who follow it.
Far better is to dare mighty things, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who do not suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither sacrifice nor failure.

There are people who don't like sacrifice or strenuous life, who don't like the national life which is really worth leading. What they forget is that it's only sacrifice that goes to make up true national greatness.

The stage of development where our country is today, it calls for sacrifice, for a life of strenuous endeavour.

Let us therefore boldly face the life of sacrifice and be resolute to do our duty well; resolute to uphold righteousness by deed and word; resolute to be both honest and brave, to serve high ideals, yet to use practical and sustainable methods. Above all, let us not shrink from any sacrifice that is needed of us. If it is the removal of subsidies from the things we cherish, let it be; for it is only through sacrifice, through hard endeavour that we shall ultimately move our people out of poverty and into prosperity.

Let no one deceive our people that they can move them out of poverty and into prosperity without them making a sacrifice, without them having to forgo certain things now. There is no nation in this world that has developed that way; that has developed without sacrifice and hard choices.

Those who are telling people to vote for them because they will deliver them from poverty without any sacrifice, without any pain on their part are liars who should not be listened to. The wealth of a nation is not created by politicians, by speeches. It is created by the efforts, the work of the people - the workers, peasants and working intellectuals. Politicians only lead and the people govern. Ultimately, it is the people who develop the country. If the people are not ready to sacrifice, to work, nothing moves.

The development we were hearing from statistics has not changed the people's lives in any meaningful way. Why? If there was development, why are we not seeing it? Where is it hiding? Who is enjoying it? Of course a few people got rich over the last few years but the true test of progress is not the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few, but the elevation of a people as a whole.

Instead of the growth we were hearing about bringing comfort to the masses of our people, it is imposing additional burdens on them. At the bottom of the social scale, there is a mass of poverty and misery that doesn't seem to have been touched by the development we have been hearing about.

There is still a lot of work needed to move our people out of poverty. There is still need for more and more sacrifice to move our people out of misery. And as we have been consistently preaching, whatever little progress has been made, there is still more that needs to be done, and it won't be easy. Again we repeat, nobody should think things are going to be easy. More sacrifices are needed, more hard work is needed. We must be prepared to meet difficulties and to make more sacrifices. We are making sacrifices now, we have lost the subsidies we had on fuel and maize meal, and we will have even greater ones in the future, even if we do things the right way - and we should do them the right way, even if it calls for our greatest sacrifice.

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