Every year on May 29 member states of the United Nations gather to pay tribute to heroes and heroines who have served and continue to serve in the United Nations Peacekeeping Operations for their level of professionalism, dedication and courage as they put the lives of others before theirs. It is also a time to remember and reflect on those who have lost their in the course of peace.
The UN International Day of Peace Keepers was celebrated in Lusaka at The Cathedral of the Holy Cross where the United Nations in Zambia, Defense Forces namely The Zambia Army, Zambia Air force, Zambia Police Service and The Zambia National Service personnel held a joint church service under the theme “Together for Peace”
The Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Mr. Davis Mwango who was also the Guest of Honour in his speech urged all the defense personnel to remain focused and committed in maintaining the country’s peace. He emphasized that peace is valuable and can only be achieved at a cost which unfortunately includes human life. He reiterated that Zambia is a member of the international community and will remain committed to peacekeeping operations.
Representing the UN was Ms. Raki Sahi, the UN Zambia Security Advisor read the UN Secretary Generals Speech on his behalf and was quoted as follows “This year’s International Day of UN Peacekeepers falls during the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, offering a chance to honor the invaluable contribution of the Blue Helmets to the proud history of the Organization. United Nations peacekeeping has given life to the UN Charter’s aim “to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security”. Through years of struggle and sacrifice, the iconic Blue Helmet has earned its place as a symbol of hope to millions of people living in war-ravaged lands”.
Furthermore she stated that Zambia has played an exemplary role in promoting and protecting peace. Zambia has accepted many thousands of men, women and children fleeing their own countries in fear of their lives. Thus, giving them a safe haven and protection within the country. Zambians have also generously gone far beyond its own borders in the service of peace Zambian military, police and civilian experts have served, and are serving this very day, in many peacekeeping missions around the world.
She also reminded the gathering that The United Nations in June 2014 honoured two fallen Zambian peacekeepers with the Dag Hammarskjöld medal for their gallantly. Major Alfred Richard Banda and Chief Inspector Ebert Sianyona died last year while serving with the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). Furthermore, in July 2014 another Zambian working under the International Organization for Migration Mr. Felix Ngoma, was abducted by suspected Janjaweed militia in Sudan and was later released after 21 days in detention describing it as the most horrible time of his life.
In the sermon given by the Army Chaplain, Lt. Col. Reverend H.B. Moma on the theme for 2015, said peacemakers must rekindle their zeal for peaceful societies through creativity, ingenuity and entrepreneurship. Praying for the country’s leadership because their decisions have great impact on citizens as well as setting an example as a community for peace.
After the service the invited guests were taken on a tour showcasing the different places were Zambia has served and is still serving in Peacekeeping Operations.