TODAY men of goodwill throughout the Christian world celebrate what has come to be known as the birth of God’s ‘‘only begotten son’’, Jesus Christ. Sadly the occasion has come to mean different things to different people.
Consumerism has cashed in on this season of goodwill and good cheer by enticing families to over-spend by buying all the goodies they can afford – or not afford – often ending up in debt which will drag into the New Year.
It is therefore wise to listen to the advice of our leaders who, in their Christmas messages yesterday, wish Zambians a merry Christmas of peace and love but warn that in happiness, excitement and over-indulgence lurks the danger of road accidents which have continued to rob the nation of many valuable lives and loss of property.
Travelling motorists must be extra careful to avoid accidents and loss of life. Instead we must spend this Christmas with our families and to help the needy in society.
In his Christmas message, first republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda urges Zambians to put aside what matters to us as individuals and try to be concerned with what betters the lives of others. We must build Zambia into the beautiful country God intended it to be, he said.
The spirit of this season should be charged throughout the year. Zambia is at the crossroads as the 2016 elections approach. Tension and anxiety are etched on the face of every adult Zambian, worried about what the future holds. The political atmosphere is thick with threats of inter-party violence.
The new police chief was warning his command on Wednesday to be alert and crack down on any signs of violence during the period leading up to the elections.
He directed his senior commanders to be tough but fair in the application of the controversial Public Order Act following the directive from the Commander in Chief that the police must be ready and willing to apply the law impartially in order to police the forthcoming elections without rancour.
It is unfortunate that only yesterday the opposition FDD was warning that it would from now on ‘‘hit back violently’’ if provoked by cadres of other political parties following the incident where its leader Edith Nawakwi was reportedly harassed by hooligans in Mtendere.
Such statements do not tally with the mood and spirit of Christmas. This is a period and season of love, forgiveness and charity – not one of eye-for-an-eye and tooth for a tooth. The FDD must retract its statement and think again: what will their threats of revenge and belligerence achieve for their party and the country they want to rule?
Perhaps they need to take a page from the Christmas message of another opposition leader who yesterday asked Zambians to discard ‘‘unproductive and hateful sentiments’’ meant to divide the country that has known peace since Independence 51 years ago.
‘‘Regardless of age, gender, tribe or political affiliation, let us respect the peace and calmness that the season brings and commit ourselves to carrying the spirit of brotherly love into the New Year,’’ says the UPND leader in his Christmas message.
If we cannot learn something from each other may the spirit and season of Christmas teach us to live in peace and love with one another.