2014-10-24 15:33:00

Jubilee celebrations: Zambia at fifty

Zambians today 24 October are celebrating the Golden Jubilee of independence from the British. The celebrations are taking place in the absence of Republican President, Michael Sata said to be hospitalised in England.

On the eve of the celebrations, Zambia’s Lusaka Times says Acting Republican President, Edgar Lungu led hundreds of Zambians at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka in hoisting the flag to mark Zambia’s Jubilee independence anniversary commemoration.

Mr. Lungu was joined by Zambia’s founding father,  first Republican President Kenneth Kaunda, Vice President Guy Scott and former Mozambican President Joackim Chisano as well as other invited guests for the function. Dr. Kaunda’s arrival at the stadium cheered the crowds.

Earlier during the national Inter-denominational religious service, held at Anglican Cathedral of the Holy Cross attended by Vice President Guy Scott, Fr. Brian Chibuluma, a Dean of Studies at St. Dominic’s Catholic Major Seminary preached about the meaning of jubilee.

Here below is his Homily.

What a gift, what a grace, and what a blessing to have and to experience a Jubilee, and to savor its goodness and endowments. And what a joy it is today for us here and the entire nation to commemorate God’s favor of our beautiful country’s 50 years of independence- of unity, of peace, of democracy, of patriotism and of prosperity!

To appreciate what we have on our hands, we need to recall how scripture interprets this God given event. The book of Leviticus in the 10th verse of chap 25 which we have heard says “the 50th year you shall make sacred by proclaiming liberty for all inhabitants in the land”. And Jesus Christ from the 4th chapter of luke says “he has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, to announce a year of favor and to set captives free”.

So the jubilee is largely about liberty, and liberty denotes other undertones namely; renewal, reconstruction and reconciliation, reorientation, and celebration, which we wish to reflect on this afternoon.

Leviticus 25 v 12 says “it is a Jubilee for you, eat what is produced from your fields.” This means God enables us to feed off the abundance of the land in an equal and non-discriminatory way. It is where the wealth of the nation becomes the wealth of all. In the year of jubilee, a country must enrich itself from what it has been endowed with.  The mainstay of a country’s economy must benefit not only a few individuals but every citizen of the land.

Secondly we hear in the Bible that land must revert to its original owners. Ownership of property is nothing if citizens are unable to own land. The greatest security that a people can have is that of their land. Realistically speaking, there will come a time in our country when land will run out due to increase in population. The safeguard of the Jubilee year is to see land as ultimately belonging to God, but a heritage, that God gives to us his children for our sustenance. Therefore, while the chance still exists, access to land must be treated as a human right. In the year of Jubilee, the country must enable the poorest of the poor to secure ownership of a piece of land. We therefore call on local authorities to handle land issues very carefully and work at distributing land as equitably as possible so that all citizens, especially the poor can benefit. We call for an end to what is becoming a tradition, that people are allowed to build houses to completion only to have them demolished years later, alleging that they had built on illegal properties. This is not only cruel but blatantly unjust, going against the spirit of Jubilee. We also call upon the judiciary to handle land disputes which are now on the increase with utmost care and caution and without fear or favor.

The jubilee year is also a time of reconstruction. Rebuilding this country is a matter of priority. It comes as a great surprise to hear people despising the infrastructure developments currently underway. New wine must fit into new wineskins. There is no sense in attempting to rebuild a country while relying on obsolete infrastructure. The jubilee year is about reconstruction of both the physical and the social fabric of society. We wish therefore, to praise government for the unprecedented massive infrastructure development going on throughout the country. This is a great symbol and indeed a great jubilee gift to the nation.

The jubilee year is a time to reorient our direction. We all need to be set on the right path. This requires a paradigm shift and a way of looking at things differently. We all need to see our country as bigger than all of us, and all of us as equal to the sum of each one of us. A religious reorientation is required in order for us to become a Jubilee people, a people that is set at right with God and with one another.

The Jubilee year is a year of reconciliation. It is a time to acknowledge our individual and collective sinfulness. At many times in the past in different ways we have sinned and contributed to the setting up of the structures of sin in our society. True reconciliation begins with self but does not end with self. It is ultimately reconciliation with God, who has reconciled us in Christ. Just as the great Nelson Mandela set up the truth and reconciliation commission to enable his nation to start afresh, so too must we set up a path of reconciliation to heal the wounds of division, mistrust, suspicion and intolerance that seem to have taken a hold of our country. We must begin once again to see each other as brothers and sisters. The slogan ‘One Zambia, One Nation’ must again take root in our hearts. Ironically, what was once a mere slogan is now a reality, thanks to the efforts made by our founding fathers who worked at sowing a seed of unity in us. Because of them, today we can truly celebrate God’s favor of Zambia’s independence for continued peace, unity democracy, patriotism and prosperity. Indeed, what unites us is stronger and bigger than what divides us. We have constructed a multi-ethnic society, and now we must make it function.

Finally the jubilee year is a year of celebration. We recall those moments when the country celebrated together after victories in football. At that point, we were only conscious of one thing: that we are a proud and happy people. We are capable of so much joy and happiness. It mattered less what tribe, or race or political background we hailed from. We were able to hug and embrace and dance like children of one family. This is the gift God bequeaths us in the year of Jubilee. It is this spirit that we must promote and foster. Enough with the acrimony and confrontation! We are capable of so much more. This is the be all and the end all of a real jubilee. May God bless all of us with the gift of joy and happiness, with the gift of real celebration, and with the gift of unity. May God bless Zambia and may he bless you all

Happy 50th birthday mother land, happy 50th birthday Zambia,

(e-mail: engafrica@vatiradio.va)


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