We're on the way to the sixtieth year of Independence and the best message one can send at this time is to tell hesitant people to get vaccinated as billions have done worldwide, so we can move on from the burden of lockdowns. The pandemic has generated much fear, and havoc on healthcare systems and economies. Still, it has also created many opportunities for innovation and building the country with a healthy natural environment as the foundation for future prosperity.
Yes, there is much suffering. Those whose livelihoods are currently assured and may navigate through the challenging times are fortunate. We cannot know the severity of the distress of others who don't have livelihoods unless we have walked in their shoes. Lives and livelihoods are symbiotic and are mutually inclusive realities of existence. If anything, COVID-19 should have made us aware of our mortality, remind us to engage one another respectfully, and, how in exercising individual rights such as to vaccinate or not, affects others.
Indeed, the inventions of innovative minds who had long gone, the tenacity of brave people who are no longer with us continue to inspire generation after generation. Their science, literature and art live on to influence us—the beneficiaries of their genius.
In that spirit, we could have entered the 59th year of Independence with hope and resolved to do better than we had done over the last decades. Regrettably, it wasn't words of inspiration that dominated the anniversary headlines. It was gun talk, demonstrating the kind of myopia that could threaten stability—a stability that we have so far managed well. Political and economic stability does not happen in a vacuum, so we must have done many things right, more so when considering the political divisiveness that exists.
One could not have imagined a potential menace of private citizens being allowed to amass guns legitimately because it’s legal to do so—not with the high level of crimes committed with guns here, not with the mass killings by deranged minds and extremists particularly in the USA—people who have ‘the right to bear arms.’ Sure, laws must be upheld, but there is a truism. What is legal isn't necessarily ethical or serves the public good, especially if a situation poses a clear danger to lives and the country's stability. There's a simple solution to a law that may permit every Tom, Dick, and Harry who may be thieves, killers, or self-righteous psychopaths to amass guns even with a relevant screening process. Why not recommend the law be changed? After all, there are already enough weapons in the hands of gangs and traffickers to cause bloody mayhem.
As we grapple with COVID-19 and step gingerly into the future, much depends on the quality of governance. By governance, I am not referring to the Government. It is governance that includes the parliamentary Opposition, the judiciary, civil society, business leaders, et al that have input or may influence national policy somehow. But suppose I had to select one thing that could make a meaningful difference to Government in the future, it would be the training and development of the youth inclined toward future community and political leadership. Why? While there are many arms of the governance system, the elected directorate has the most power and direct impact on the country's well-being. It is from within political parties primarily that emerge government ministers and parliamentarians who make up the highest law-making body of the land. It is the young generation who will comprise the future Cabinets. And it is why their training in ethical leadership would be instrumental to the country's future well-being. They are the ones who will influence the selection of the future Commissioner of Police, President of the Republic, Chief Justice, Head of Defence Force, and other leaders of the State.
Hefty party funds and political donations usually go into the elections' political machinery. But it will be beneficial to invest resources in training the young advocates in civics and ethical community and national leadership. Perhaps such education is viewed in the context of university degrees. All too often, one hears if it is legal, it's okay. There is much murkiness between what is legal and unethical because of cultural norms.
Certainly, education is the most productive economic activity toward a mature and enlightened society. At the very least, it is one way of reducing the influence of anti-vaxxers. We must see the future beyond COVID.