30 December 2011
TOMORROW is new year’s eve and as expected, thousands of people will throw caution to the wind as they engage in all kinds of celebrations to mark their anticipated entry into the new year.
Sadly, some may not make it into 2012 because of their own recklessness.
For many parents with teenagers in their homes, this is a time they dread most. Most youths come under intense peer pressure and they in turn exert so much pressure on their parents to grant them ‘freedom’ to join their acquaintances and friends in all sorts of celebrations.
We would like to warn the youth and their parents that the consequences of such activity could be dire for some of them. In an environment such as the one which obtains in our country today, some liberties extended to teenagers at this time of the year may have serious consequences. Extravagant celebrations are fraught with danger.
Drug abuse has become too rampant, especially among the young, and it is a source of great worry to parents who are concerned about the upbringing of their children. Many would do well to take heed of
the wise old saying that “birds of the same feathers flock together.”
We are not suggesting that parents should cage their children.
This is practically impossible to do, but parents should dissuade their children from maintaining liaisons with dubious characters and strive to be role models so that their siblings could emulate them.
The family spirit should be galvanised with more people encouraging family outings and gatherings at this time of the year in order to discourage their children from ending up in bad company, or people with whom they have no common interests.
Sadly, some parents do not share any time with their families during the festive period because they are busy engaged in acts of debauchery and other orgies at this time of the year.
Despite repeated warnings by police about the dangers of excessive drinking, over-indulgence is the predominant feature of every festive period, and the statistics on the road carnage are a grim reminder of the fact that warnings go largely unheeded.
Road accidents have exacted a high toll on human life and this is mainly attributable to drunken drivers who still insist on getting behind the wheel even when they are totally inebriated. Often, such drivers do not only take their lives but those of many innocent victims.
Although we welcome Police Inspector General Dr Martin Malama’s decision to curtail unnecessary roadblocks, there is need to take appropriate measures to deal with the high incidence of road traffic accidents directly linked to excessive intake of alcohol.
Police require breathlysers to conduct on-the-spot-checks on drivers to ensure that they comply with the set alcohol limits.
Unless the law regulating the amount of alcohol which a driver should take is strictly enforced, we shall continue mourning the loss of many productive citizens in the frenzied celebrations and excitement that characterises the festive period in Zambia.
Ten people are reported to have died during the Christmas festivities, and more will still perish needlessly before the year ends.
When one considers the level of debauchery and other vices taking place in so many public places – and they are captured by photographers who patronise various entertainment houses every weekend – it is hard to comprehend the fact that Zambia is a indeed a Christian nation!
There is little to show that the values which the majority of the people have embraced are in conformity with the values which our nation is aspiring to inculcate in its nationals.
There is veritable danger all around us. The HIV/AIDS pandemic is still stalking many hapless souls, and unless deliberate steps are taken at a personal and national level, the number of infections will multiply because all this is directly linked to the lifestyles of a lot of people.
The danger of contracting HIV/AIDS is discernible only to those who are in a position to comprehend the danger lurking in their midst, and not someone who is so intoxicated with alcohol to think about the ramifications of their actions.
One billboard at the University of Zambia (UNZA) Great East Road campus aptly conveys this message: “Graduate with As, not AIDS.” We hope the young students at UNZA and indeed elsewhere will bear this message in mind as they go about their celebrations tomorrow night.
Zambia needs an educated and productive age-group to develop the country, but it is this same age-group that is now in the endangered category. There is need for moderation in the way people celebrate during the festive period, and that change should start with each individual.
AllAfrica – All the Time