By Francis Chipili
…..how does one assume the status of “FATHER OF THE NATION”?
Who are the founding fathers of Zambia?
In the quest for political independence a number of oppressed Northern Rhodesia citizens – now Zambia, played various critical roles in the struggle for political social and economic independence.
These men and and women launched a highly spirited war for colonial independence from Great Britain, each one of them brought to the table unique strengths in strategy, physical as well as mental stamina, war tactics etc.
It was was the combined determination and resolve of these gallant men and women that yielded the the freedom and independence we enjoy and sometimes abuse today.
Among the notable of the many men and women who played various roles in Zambia’s independence but not limited to; are Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, Harry Mwanga Nkumbula, Sikota wina, Kenneth David Kaunda, Grey Zulu among many freedom fighters.
Notable names of Zambian women who played various critical roles in the struggle for political and social independence but not limited to are mama Julia Mulenga Chikamoneka- paraded herself half naked during a visit by Britain’s Secretary of State, mama Betty Kaunda, mama Chibesa Kankasa, princess Nakatindi Yeta Nganga, Mary Fulano, among many others unsung heroes.
It’s very clear that no single individual can be said to have played the only important role as all of our freedom fighters gave in their best for our freedom.
So how do we name one individual as father or mother of nation? How can Zambia’s historians help the nation in identifying the Father of the nation?
We must be able to distinguish between father, founding fathers and women of the nation from other statesmen and women who the people of Zambia have given mandate to Superintendent over the affairs of Zambia.
Should we assume that, Father of the nation is the title we shall confer on the longest surviving former Republican President?
In countries such as the United States of America, they have a list of notable founding fathers as well as a well defined father of the nation – George Washington.
Their list of founding fathers has remain flexible over the years depending on political pressures and ideological prejudices, while maintaining George Washington as their founding father.
I want to believe that having served as Republican President automatically qualifies the former President to join the list of Statesmen and not an automatic qualification for Father of the nation which must be firmly permanent.
Perhaps it’s time Zambia reviewed her history to determine who truly the Father of nation of Zambia is.
Business and Political Analyst