Thursday, October 4, 2018

In God's country

From the archives The Monitor Newspaper July 11, 2003

God is omnipotent. God is respect. God is Christopher. This I know and I do not need any self-godly chosen individual to tell me so.

I also know that God is not neurotic or hysterical; God dwells not in the sanctity of a few self-godly chosen individuals; and, God seeks not that I shall be saved by chanting, wailing and raving about how glorious God’s name is. In addition, God chooses not a nation, for God discriminates not.

God seeks not that I am Christian, Moslem or Hindu. God seeks that I walk not with Christopher, but that I walk in Christopher. For God teaches me that, the fish lives not in the waters; the fish lives with the waters.  In teaching me this, God seeks that I am the epitome of humaneness.

This is God, as I know him. It is as God seeks to be known.

I write this because this is God’s country, for God so chose, is the Christian claim. Fact is, Zambia is not a Christian nation. Zambia, like many developmentally lost nations is simply a nation calling out to ecclesiastic intervention into its self-afflicted socio-economic and political abnormalcy. 

There will be no ecclesiastic intervention as far as God’s manifestation in current and past events in this country show a God-loving people exhibiting hypocrisy, naivety, fear and political immorality. After all, the country’s history is replete with so-called people that answered the calling of God being messiahs of governance impunity.

In any case, God did not declare Zambia a Christian nation. Frederick Chiluba did, and it was for political interests that he did so. Sects of the Christian faith jubilated Chiluba’s unconstitutional declaration.

What is clear in my mind is, if this is God’s country, how then can an act of impunity be celebrated? God is respect, and the constitution before it was adulterated manifested this respect. The constitution of Zambia respected my choice to seek God in whatever faith I so wished. 

It is in this viewpoint that for a minister to assert that the Christian faith is superior is a simple manifestation of impunity and lack of respect. The ‘honourable’ Nyirongo is on record as having asserted this, when followers of the Islamic faith held prayers during a football match at independence stadium a couple of weeks ago. 

That this God’s country is everyday waning into an abyss of socio-economic despair is inarguably, in part, because we have as leaders individuals who, not only do not respect the citizenry, but perpetuate the disrespect through infantile attributions of God’s calling.

This impunity and disrespect is today manifest in Nevers Mumba’s assumption that he is the substantive vice-president, just because president Levy Mwanawasa first nominated him as MP, then appointed him as vice-president. Mwanawasa appointed Nevers Mumba as vice-president, and it is his discretion. Nevertheless, a president’s discretion is bounded by the rationality provided by a country’s laws or behavioural limits, and the contentions, thereof.

If it is that this is God’s country, and Nevers Mumba is a man of God, then it should be expected that Mr. Mumba (hon. PhD, Flint College, Michigan) knows too well that his continued pursuance of the duties of a vice-president is morally unsound.

Many have argued (e.g. respected professor of law at Cornell, Muna Ndulo), that the act of nominating an individual an MP demands that such a person takes the prescribed oath of office of Member of Parliament. Being an MP is the condition for being a vice-president, and not the simple nominative act of presidential discretion.

Mr. Mumba is not an MP. Or could be, the Speaker acted ‘in camera’ and swore the man of God into the house. Who knows, miracles happen in Zambia, and the Press were not privy to the communication between the Speaker, president and vice-president.

In any case, if Mr. Mumba has taken the oath of parliament, a historical perusal of his acts preceding his appointment to Veep shows acts that one does not expect a person that knows God to have accepted the appointment.

In September 1997, in defence of his decision to join politics, Mr. Mumba argued that “politics was about people and that it was a Christian's responsibility to steer the nation on a God-fearing path.”  Surely, a God-fearing path demands that one respects and protects other’s and one’s moral soundness. The question is: has Mr. Mumba manifested moral soundness?

In December 2001, during the court contention of Mr. Mwanawasa’s election, Mr. Mumba is reported by Reuters as saying - "We do not want the chief justice to swear in a new president before these allegations of massive vote-rigging are thoroughly investigated."  The allegations are today the grounding of an election petition, thereby indicating that there are now being subjected to judicial interpretation.

A president was sworn-in, and that president appointed him, vice-president!

Mr. Mumba’s argument so far has been that the president’s corruption agenda is also his bidding. The cardinal point that shows a questioned integrity or moral soundness is that Mr. Mumba knows to well that the allegations of electoral corruption still stand, yet he accepted the appointment of Veep. A suspected crime is a suspected crime, until the courts clear it.

In addition, around the same time was it not Mr. Mumba who said: "We want at least the Zambian people to feel that what they voted for is what they have in office… until this is achieved, the opposition front shall not rest until we make sure that the will of the Zambian people is respected and honoured."

Further, in January 2001, Mr. Mumba is reported to have said “only crooks, thieves and those who buy votes from the electorate can win an election under the current electoral process.”  Mr. Mwanawasa was sworn in as the winner. Now Mr. Mumba, is Mr. Mwanawasa a crook, thief and vote-buyer?

Interestingly, Mr. Mumba has always argued that Zambia does not require a man with vast knowledge in managerial and business skills to turn around the economy but a man of morality and integrity.  If he believes he is a man of morality and integrity, unfortunately his historical and present acts do not attest.

In retrospect, when conceived beyond politics, Mr. Mumba’s continued pursuance of Veep duties exemplifies a narcissistic God’s country. 

Indeed, Zambia is God’s country, where men of God walk the earth with impunity. What then stops me, a mere mortal, from watching Big Brother Africa – an anti-Christ, anti-African reality show!

Saving Christopher

From the archives Monitor Newspaper October 10, 2003

This week I am starting the case for saving Christopher. I have no apologies if readers find the language sometimes hard. But, like Stephen Lewis (UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa) noted in January this year after his tour of Southern Africa, “..., the time for polite, even agitated entreaties is over.” Our present times are no longer the age of timeworn politeness or civility, simply because we are living in times of impunity and hypocrisy.

The citizenry and indeed all that dwells on this planet must realise that democracy, the very much touted commodity of governance in the 21st century is slowly becoming the yoke of our enslavement, debasement and impoverishment. This is done with impunity, mostly, because we still have inane and absurd beliefs of respect, when politicians (in government and the opposition) do not show any iota of respect for the citizenry.

The power that as a people we have over politicians does not seem to be realised. It is absurd of people to kow-tow before and after politicians.  A politician does not feed you, nor do you owe him or her your servitude. It is the politician that actually owes you his or her servitude.

Lest you forgot, a politician is just as ordinary as yourself, only difference is, this is an individual that seeks to represent you (and the ideals you subscribe to) in your everyday interaction with the State.  And not a single individual, other than a dictator, can represent you without your sanction. Consequently, it is irresponsible to sanction someone to represent you, and then allow them to behave with impunity and in a manner that kills Christopher.

That in this century, our relationship to our representation is that of servitude, is because as a people we accept and sustain impunity and hypocrisy.

Okay, so there are no WMDs in Iraq. Of course, there were no WMDs, except the ones in Collin Powell’s PowerPoint presentation at the UN. George and Tony being allowed impunity could not differentiate a PowerPoint presentation from reality, so they went looking for things that only existed in a presentation.  Any way, forget global impunity, hypocrisy and idiocy, it rarely saves Christopher, and that is fact.

How about on the home front? Children are being defiled at an alarming rate, so every Tom, Dick and Harry says, and the media is having a field day.  Last week, there was even a protest march. Members of civil society, politicians and yes, children went to air their grievances to Mr or Mrs. Freedom Statue along Independence Avenue in Lusaka. They went to tell him/her, that the law on defilement should be stiffened, defilers should be castrated, and so many other blah blahs.

Without seeming to minimise the problem of child abuse and in particular defilement, from beyond politics, the fact is the Freedom Statue is not the entity to which such grievances or protests should be addressed. As more grey hairs pop up on my head, understanding humans, is becoming an exercise in futility. It is clear the act of doing anything right in this country is shockingly far-fetched. Could be that is why, even our governance is in a serious mess. Or it could be, ‘being seen’ or the ‘wannabe’ syndrome is inadvertently now a state of our existence.

I was asked if I would march, and I said yes. But when I was told we would be protesting at Freedom Statue, the meaningless of the protest was evident and not worth participating in.

The protest march should have been to State House, cabinet or parliament, and not a damn statue. Could be we respect politicians so much that we seek not to disturb their peace in their places of work, so we humbly march to a statue. What impunity!

Impunity is a crime. The perpetuation of impunity by parties affected by impunity is also a crime. It is absurd that this country’s citizenry continually behave in a manner that not only perpetuates impunity, but also sustains and nourishes it.

Our everyday existence as Zambians is riddled with impunity. Walk into any service providers’ place (public or private), in over 99 per cent of the cases, the service provider at the other end of the table or counter will look at you like you are lost, or you are simply wasting their time. Tragically, the majority of Zambians seeking the service that took them there will simply timidly take the nonsense.

How often have you walked into your Bank, and you have been subjected to a wait of over half an hour, just because despite the Bank wasting money on constructing 10 counters or so, most of the time only 50% of the counters provide service.

In our understanding of the effect of impunity and hypocrisy, the answer that always fails us is how we contain impunity and hypocrisy in our poorest of the poor country.

From beyond politics, the answer is simple.

All donors and supposed international development agencies should vacate the nation space defined as the state of Zambia. Donors and supposed international development agencies have been round this country since the time I used to believe James Brown was cool, yet zilch has been done to change Christopher’s plight.

All civil society leaders that claim to fight for what is just, should shut up. Just is not about politicians and the State. Just is about Christopher.

All politicians that exhibit monkey-like tendencies of swinging from branch to branch under the misguided assumption that it is only by being in the ruling party that one can contribute to the development of this poorest of the poor countries should be weeded.

All presidents that parade such individuals as saviours should be impeached.

Lest I forget, in addition, all politicians holding government office should relinquish their office and vamoose. All civil servants who owe allegiance to the president should be arrested. They are a travesty of the expectations of a civil servant.

Take away the franchise from all citizens that continue voting for individuals that exhibit monkey-like behaviours, such citizens are demented and not worthy the right to the franchise.  These individuals simply epitomise the likely dangers of democracy of rule by the majority through mediocrity. The franchise should be the preserve of reasoning individuals.

So Mr. Liato, Tetamashimba retained their seats, and the MMD is asserting its political hegemony. Who cares, after all a one party state is what appeals to the citizenry? Mr. Imenda was allowed to contest his seat despite the courts affirming that his last election was fraudulent.  Can not fault him, after all the continued adherence to illegitimate laws allowed him. So again, who cares?