By the time you are reading this edition, we would have had our National Prayers, before the creator, our omnipotent God.
As indicated very earlier on, the clergy is more equipped on such spiritual matters than lay people like me and in saying that I am painfully aware of one or two lapses, but not fundamental. What I know is that all believers must pray to the God of Abraham, Moses, David etc, ceaselessly and not other gods. Thus far, we must love one another as we love our bodies, beyond last week’s prayers.
It is opportune therefore for me to call and plead for understanding and love towards our possibly lost brethren. As we step up prayers evil forces, who fear losing ground also will equally step up their efforts as seen and evidenced. These, as explained by a prayer mate, recently are held captive by forces that require a divinely inspired collective and consistent approach. Nobody will dispute the fact that you cannot make a fire to cook a meal using one big stick. Many sticks, meant or known for the purpose, will do the job!
This is the essence of my take today. National Unity! Indeed, you have heard me right. I am talking about National Unity as contained in our National Anthem. It is my argument that institutions clearly play a critical role in promoting national unity. I still go back to the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) which has by its volition been in the media for strange reasons. I say strange because, the ACC position has been challenged and that cannot be good for institution striving for integrity and community sanction. Therefore I use the ACC ONLY as an example of how a legitimately and legally established institution, can cause national disunity in the guise of a genuine and legitimate cause, such as the fight against corruption. The existence and flourishing of criminal syndicates is another example outside the purview and jurisdiction of the ACC, which nevertheless, is a source of concern.
I have had the opportunity of discussing my concerns with the leaders of some of the institutions that are supportive of the “witch hunt” style of the ACC (as acknowledged by the ACC). My question, to which I welcome debate; is: Has the meaning and term “corruption” assumed a new meaning, partly defined by how you look, where you come from and who you associate with? Is such form of blatant discrimination, using officialdom in tandem with our constitution and the Supreme Court holding in Mulundika and 7 others Vs Attorney General or the Resident Doctors’ Association Vs Attorney General? I can add on and ask: was the ACC established only to fight historical corruption? Further if we agree that the President in Zambia swears to uphold the constitution, then we have an even bigger problem, because nobody is above the law although the law has in the past been (and can be) used to cause havoc in one’s life! President Dr. FJT Chiluba was dragged to Court to answer to corruption charges, with NO tangible results, but his early and unfortunate demise. The “Anti Corruption crusaders” must take responsibility for manufacturing death causing traps, using deception! President RB, as he is fondly called was dragged to Court and acquitted of corruption charges. For God’s sake these Presidents and others, who have been dragged to Court unreasonably, are human beings, protected by local and international law. How can the state allow for the “harassment” of its own prominent and distinguished citizens?
Still on President RB, Four (4) months later and going against conventional wisdom and Legal practice, the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) is reported to be entertaining ideas of appealing the acquittal. I still do not know though how they intend to deal with the law as it stands! My counsel to the ACC technocrats is that they must seriously consider abandoning this course of action based on the fact that an acquittal is on record and the Nation needs to heal. Second, performance of the State on the Anti Chiluba crusade, was a total disaster. Third, public policy, which is said to be a rude horse, must prevail. That is neither to suggest that anybody is above the law nor that the ACC must stop being professional (It must definitely stop being biased). It is what I said last week: We must act towards each other with reason and that is one of the reasons the offices of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) or Judges and Magistrates, etc must never ever be occupied by any person lacking in integrity. History will show that it is impossible to buy integrity. Similarly, no amount of slander will defeat God’s purpose.
For avoidance of any doubt, I support strong institutions, which should act without fear or favor. I have serious problems supporting illegality or Dutch courage, which clearly is abuse of office. Zambians need to know how much was paid on the crusade that prosecuted and sought to demonize Chiluba and the same negative spirit has re-emerged; this time targeted at Former President Rupiah Banda. How sad! It is senseless and unreasonable to ignore human dignity all because of political expedience. RB was never a President of Zambia in secrecy. The ACC was very much aware of his existence before and after. The hotly debated immunity was lifted to facilitate investigations, which clearly was a hoax and remain problematic when we interrogate the shallow evidence before Court. Do we have professional investigators, who take seriously the rule of law, which goes beyond officialdom and sectarian considerations? By contrast, is it not true that the bank of Zambia, as a matter of fact intervened in Finance Bank because of proven charges of criminality, which include forgery? I am on record as having opposed the prosecution of Dr Chiluba on account of many lapses. Equally, I am opposed to any form of prosecution, which amounts to victimization. Now, my position is not the same thing as being opposed to prosecution of any person(s) who stand(s) in the way of justice, because ultimately, justice is a public commodity to which an individual can only have a bite.
If freedom of expression is only available in the context of negative dissent, then we have a problem because as we push for National Unity, we have to take all voices seriously and be the ones to remain proud of our people and government. I have said before and I will repeat that any democrat must accept the outcome of majority decisions – as the majority has a duty towards minorities.
In this global community, and for the developing countries in particular, Foreign Direct Investment or investment climate, has become a buzz word. I would at any time push for more of a balance between people needs and investor needs. Of, course, the choice is our as a people.
At the recently concluded United Nations General Assembly, President Obama of America underlined the need to work towards cooperation as opposed to conflict. Again, there is a clear choice between cooperation and conflict.
Unity can never be achieved by borrowing the discredited theories of the necessity of conflict to produce forward movement. Whatever theory, we must adapt and make sure it works for Zambia. That then marks the power of context. Why am I calling for unity? It is because we have no choice but to unite. Remember, I have said before, society disintegrates more from within than from outside. Nobody but Zambians will develop our Zambia. Do not mistake investors for instance as being in love with Zambia. No. They are in love with the opportunities that Zambia as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) offers. The WTO though, has a provision for exceptions, which among others are intended to safeguard a particular country. I know countries where you cannot import certain commodities. Therein, comes the powerful consideration of CHOICE. We must agree as a matter of civility: Can we as a society for instance allow insults in our mass media (print and electronic)? I rest my case as for today.
Thank you for your encouraging comments. I do appreciate same and where I can, I will personally get in touch.
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