FRIENDLY FACE

Zambia 2014 | DIPLOMACY | FOCUS: 50 YEARS OF PEACE

Zambia has achieved 50 years of unbroken peace since its independence in 1964, something that is almost unheard of in Africa.

On October 24, 2014, Zambia celebrates 50 years of independence from the UK, as well as 50 years of peace. A rare example in Africa, Zambia has been able to establish a safe and stable environment and not entered into a conflict with any other nation. What is more impressive is the fact that the country has also not experienced the ravages of a civil war, something that has blighted some of its neighbors and taken them many years to recover from. This doesn't mean that the country hasn't had its fair share of problems; it has survived political strife and regional instability, and has also found a peaceful solution to its problems. One of the main reasons behind this, according to Felix Mutati, Member of the Executive Committee of the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), in a recent interview with Anadolu Agency, has been the country's constitution, and the way it safeguards the values of the country by allowing the removal of a member of the executive with the approval of the majority if they fail to live up to expectations. This, in addition to the willingness for politicians to cede power democratically and the transferal of power, has ensured the country and its citizens have been able to live peacefully for 50 years.

Another reason for the country's peaceful record has been its economical success. After it gained independence in 1964, Zambia was more economical advanced than some of its neighbors, partly due to its copper mining industry. In the post-independence era, the country has been developing its economy; however, the gap between the rich and poor has grown, leading to socioeconomic unrest. The government has been running a number of social programs and has recently been investing millions in developing the country's infrastructure, allowing more people to access new jobs and better services. If the government continues on this path of socio-economic development and its aim to bridge the wealth gap, then the country's peaceful record is likely to extend well into the future.

GOLDEN JUBILEE

Zambians have more than one reason to celebrate in 2014, because on October 24, 2014 it will celebrate 50 years of self-rule. The government has been calling on all members of society to join in the celebrations, from the private to public sector workers, from the rich to the poor. The Golden Jubilee celebrations are being held under the theme of “Commemorating God's Favor of Zambia's 50 Years of Independence for Continued Peace, Unity, Democracy, and Prosperity." The country's first and founding political party, the United National Independence Party (UNIP), is particularly vocal in whipping up celebrations calling on all citizens to take part. Zambia's trading partners are also making an appearance for the celebrations. A nine-person Chinese delegation arrived in Zambia on May 22, 2014 and is staying until the end of October 2014. The delegation will help with the official celebrations by providing expertise in regard to choreography, lighting, sound, costumes, and prop design.