Today it doesn’t hurt our political leaders if a Zambian is hungry, if a Zambian child has no doctor, if a Zambian child suffers or is uneducated, or if a family has no housing. It should hurt us even though it’s not our brother, our son or our father. Being Christians demands that of us; human solidarity and decency demands that of us; beings socialists entails commitment to solidarity.
Good political leaders, Christians, socialists should know that the life of a single Zambian is worth millions of times more than all the property of the richest or the power of most politically powerful man in this country.
Today Zambia is fourth hungriest country in Africa after the Central African Republic, Chad and Madagascar. It is the fifth in the world after the Central African Republic, Chad, Madagascar and Yemen. The Central African Republic and Chad are deserts or semi deserts – they don’t have the rains, water and good agricultural soils we are blessed with. Madagascar has had devastating natural calamities. Yemen has been destroyed by an unending civil war.
Hundreds of thousands of children in Zambia are today impacted by hunger. This is what it means for our children to be the fifth hungriest country in the world.
Hunger affects children’s physical and cognitive development prenatally, perinatally, during early years, and some of the effects continue through adolescents and adulthood. Some of the physical effects of hunger are malnutrition, stunted growth, wasting, babies born prematurely, low birth weights, and in extreme cases infant and child mortalities.
Other effects are poor health, physical symptoms such as stomachaches and headaches, signs of worry, anxiety, and behavior problems. Cognitive effects of hunger include babies who are born with smaller brain size, poor performance on measures of infant cognitive development, lower scores on both IQ and achievement tests, likelihood of impaired mental and intellectual delays, and inability to engage fully in school.
How can valuable life be wasted in this way and our political leaders go to sleep peacefully and waste money in the way they are doing?
Garden Compound, Lusaka