Zambians and their egos


By MwanaJiti

There are about 15 million citizens inhabiting the landmass of 752,000 square kilometers of Zambia spread out in 10 provinces. What this means among many others, is that we have an estimated 15 million egos in Zambia and that makes co-existence a pre-requisite for harmony. President Edgar Lungu is a President of all the 15 million and each and every part of the 10 provinces. Protection of inhabitants, by the Government is not an option but a must.

To that extent, violence, threats or intimidation of any kind, can and will not do.

Therefore, there can be no question that peace is extremely essential for the 15 million or so individual egos to leave in harmony. Here, we should borrow from the wisdom of the morally powerful Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose origins are a serious concern around issues of global peace.

We saw how the French government responded to terror in Paris a few months ago and we have read and watched how the United States of America hunted down and finally dealt a decisive blow on one Osama Bin Laden (MHSRIP).

There are many instances and cases dealing with terrorism where the world has in a commendable manner cooperated in order to ensure a safer world.

Of course and indeed, there is no running away from the fact that there have been problems – many of which can be reduced to value systems and the challenges of double standards. One of the problems revolves around concerns of understanding regarding what is right, what is good and what is permissible by a particular society, etc.

In most if not all western societies, the perception and understanding of human rights claims is that they are claims that an individual is entitled. In most African societies, there is an additional obligation as evidenced by the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.

Groups or societies, have well defined and accepted rights. The fact that internationalism is eroding or has the potential to erode societal values and standards is not part of equation because in this context, it would be taking into account irrelevant considerations.

I have only talked about human rights to lay a foundation for the discussion that follows.

I have indicated before that one of the primary objectives of the United Nations Organization is to maintain world peace.

One of the platforms used, is the Security Council and from an objective assessment based on the last 60 years or so, one can argue that the UN Security Council, has been reasonably effective but like any other process, challenges are inevitable.

So now, let’s come back to Zambia where there is serious debate on the Public Order Act. Here in Zambia, we are also facing challenges of violence, most of which is not really politically motivated but by other considerations which on the surface look very noble.

Criminals or criminally minded individuals hiding in political parties represent a real danger and must be visited by the law irrespective of ill founded justifications.

Comparative jurisprudence on the subject matter (public order) shows that there is no country which does not preserve its peace for the common good.

Similar laws are in place and in some jurisdictions; culture, tradition and values play a critical role in managing personal egos.

To throw better light, some people will laugh and interrogate why Zambians are making an issue of the grade “12 thing”, because some of these societies understand the universal value of high literacy levels.

Some of our fellow citizens have gone on to argue that the introduction of the grade 12 requirement for elective national office is discriminatory. All I can say is that friends, there is what you call positive and negative discrimination. Discrimination that builds is actually a reflection of the seriousness of a society.

Discrimination is negative if the promoters(s) fail to meet the bar of holistic justice.

Just last week on Saturday, a Woman Police Officer was hit and seriously injured whilst carrying out a national duty. I see no difference between the “misfit” who sought to break the law and another who seeks to break the law by way of ignoring lawful and legitimate instructions or manifestly promotes hatred.

Now, I will put one concern in black and white (writing) so that if there is any contrary view, we can and should debate in order to reach consensual agreement.

A civilized society has laws. The said laws must be enforced without fear or favor. Where there is a concern or understanding that a particular law offends natural justice, it is incumbent upon all, using subsisting methods to engage in a process of law reform to produce a mirror of the specific need.

Until quite recently, homosexuality was an offence in England and many other jurisdictions. The Law in England at some point, allowed for illegally obtained evidence to be presented into court. Now, in both cases and instances cited, that is no longer the case!

What this simply means is that as part of growing our democracy, agitation for change must not take the form of inciting violence.

No. It must follow the standard course of law development because this is not only good for Zambian jurisprudence but a a measure of civility in managing and reducing tension in the country.

It is just unreasonable to look at police officers as “enemies”, when they are your neighbors, friends, relatives, church mates etc.

The short end of what I am saying is that as at now – February 2016, I would be unwilling to accept the view that “Zambia does not need a public order act”. In other words, Zambia needs a public order act that will help eliminate criminality and stabilize society for peace. The peace that we all boast about is not an accident. What all Zambians must be asking themselves is whether it is prudent to allow for any event or process for that matter to cause so much tension that violates our peace. Is it? I do not think so. Why?

For instance, each and every person seeking to govern Zambia will need to govern a stable country and not a country whose middle name is conflict.

Rebels are normally promised mega support for reconstruction and in a functional democracy; such promises are but a negative in action. Just look around and do not prey on desperation!

What then does this mean for President Edgar Lungu and his administration? Simple. He has to carry on the tradition of a peaceful Zambia and ensure that the law is firmly applied without fear or favor. He must be mindful of the fact that he is the President for all Zambians who include even those individuals who have reason or have no reason for disliking him.

One of the less costly measures that can be taken as a response to the militarization of politics is to ban all offensive weapons and regalia which are pregnant (sic) with provocation. Of course direct beneficiaries, such as traders and merchants will oppose any such restrictive measure but I am aware that no right anywhere in any democracy in the world is absolute.  What is at stake is not profit or business but the image and character of Zambia. I appreciate that traders have a democratic right to both association and expression but they should take note that, their business (s) can only be attractive, if Zambia remains a peaceful country and not a nation at war with itself.  The mercenary or predatory mentality cannot help at all.  I apologize in advance that traders stand to lose on a business opportunity but I also realize and accept the critical function of defending Zambia at all times and at all costs.

As for those, whose Agenda is to create trouble for whatever reason, I have a piece of advice and as we all know, advice remains advice with no obligation for the recipient!

My advice is: Be tolerant and accept that your right ends where other people’s rights begin. People only engage in violence because of a deficiency in thinking.  Do not be deceived by stage antics and cheer leaders. People or masses, will cheer for different reasons. For some, that is how they make a living and for some, cheering is a passport to unmerited favors.

I would be doing an injustice if I do not address myself to the Police. Colleagues in the police, you have a very difficult task at hand. While the Swiss police are renowned to be efficient, they are backed by functioning systems such as a very advanced insurance industry that take care of certain risks.

The Law is what it is and not what I want it to be. If I feel very strongly about a particular piece of legislation, the same has nothing to do with the police. The Police are there to enforce laws that parliament has passed.

Let’s not confuse issues. I am convinced that Zambia has a legal and legitimate parliament. In terms of operations, representative democracy as practiced in many democracies including Zambia is about numbers. Do not be cheated, if you are a party and have no member of parliament or you have few members of parliament, your voice or voices will be heard and that is it. Work at getting numbers and that is the function of every political party – to win as much support as possible.

In this matrix, the Police occupy the middle line and their Job is to ensure security of person as well as security of property. Fighting or stoning police vehicles, is therefore not a solution.

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