Friday, June 29, 2007

Leaders lead, but in the end the people govern

Leaders lead, but in the end the people govern
By Editor
Friday June 29, 2007 [04:00]

We cannot think of a more contemptible man - our power of imagination fails us to bring into our minds’ eyes a more despicable man than the man that steals from the poor. This is a man as low and as mean as we can picture. A man who can take millions of dollars from the public coffers of a poor country where the majority of citizens live on less than a dollar per day, and spends it on designer clothes in European boutiques.

We are talking about Frederick Chiluba, who we sincerely believe abused his office as president of our country; whom we are convinced beyond any reasonable doubt stole public funds. We know there are people like Michael Sata and others in his political party who don’t share our view.

This is not a matter of opinion, it is a matter of one accepting or rejecting facts before him. There are people who will continue to insist something is white even when it is clearly black.
There is enough evidence in the public domain of Chiluba’s thefts, dishonesty and outright abuse of office. It is really a question of one wanting to stand for a friend all the way to Calvary. But no matter how much they will try to deny or ignore Chiluba’s transgressions, their friend’s Calvary has come and he will be nailed to the cross.
For us, it is not a question of friend or foe, of defending a friend and attacking a foe. It is a question of opposing, denouncing and fighting abuse.

And there is no political bias in all this because it is really not a political question but a criminal matter, an injustice, a fraud. We are not politicians, we are journalists who don’t contest elections or field candidates. What we are preaching is the repudiation, rejection, and hatred of theft, corruption and other abuses. We are not preaching political bias because we have no political affiliation in the first place. Probably this is why we have been accused of so many different things by so many different people.

At one time, Levy Mwanawasa used to accuse us of propping up Sata, of politically supporting him. At the same time, UPND also used to accuse us of supporting Sata. And Sata and his followers at the same time used to accuse us of supporting Levy.

The truth is, we have no political affiliation or bias. And probably this is why we are the only news media organisation in this country that is able to criticise any politician or any institution without pulling punches. We are not in the service of any one politician or organisation. We are not under the control or direction of any politician or political party; our conscience is our guide.

The only bias that one can justifiably accuse us of is that between good and evil. We will never be neutral between good and evil. We were taught that there was a constant struggle between good and evil, and evil had to be punished. We were taught that those who commit crimes and are responsible for injustice and evil should be punished not only here on earth but also in hell. Could that be interpreted as an expression of political bias?

Supporting wrongdoers is wrong. There is no greater love for a wrongdoer than to prevent him from doing wrong. We don’t believe in the law of hate. We may not be true to our ideals always, but we believe in the law of love, and we believe that one can do nothing with hatred. We would like to see a time when man loves his fellow man and does not steal from him, especially if he is poor. We will never be civilised until that time comes. We know we have a long road to travel. We believe that our life has been a life of tragedy, of injustice, of deception and abuse by those we have elected or chosen to govern our affairs, who we invariably chose to govern in our stead.

By denouncing Chiluba’s corruption, we are actually calling for all those things which are necessary for men to live together in harmony, respect and dignity. The service of Zambia means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance, disease and inequality.

The ambition of every one of our political leaders should not be to amass wealth at the expense of the people, to steal from the people but to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us, but as long as there are tears and suffering, our work will not be over.
Our duty is to help establish an open society in our country where leaders do not abuse power and public resources. And so we have to labour and work, and work hard, to give reality to our dreams.
Those dreams are for Zambia and for all our people. This is no time for petty and destructive criticism, no time for ill-will. We have to build the noble mansion of corruption-free Zambia where all her children may dwell. And we have to face this responsibility in the spirit of free and disciplined people.

The future beckons us. Whither do we go and what shall be our endeavour? To bring opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers of Zambia; to fight and end poverty, ignorance and disease; to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman.
We have hard work ahead. And there should be no resting for any one of us till we redeem our pledge in full, till we make all the people of Zambia what destiny intended them to be.

We cannot encourage narrow-mindedness, the defending or supporting of criminals, of thieves, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or in action. Unless we face this fact, we shall pay the price that must be paid by those who are narrow-minded.
Sixteen years in Africa, in a country where the life expectancy is below 40, is quite a long time. We are glad to have had the chance to witness, and to take part in many dramatic changes in the life of this country. We are grateful for the support we have received from many people in this country in our modest efforts to contribute to good governance in our country. And all those whose prayers – fervent, we hope, but not too frequent – have sustained us through all these years, are friends indeed. We give you all, wherever you may be, our humble thanks.
The issues we have been raising concerning Chiluba’s corruption can act, and should do so, as an effective engine for change of behaviour among all our leaders – past, present and future. We are not denouncing Chiluba’s corruption for the sake of it.
We are doing it to ensure that our people have the right to work and not to have whole communities abandoned because the money intended for their upliftment has been stolen or abused by their leaders. We will fight to make sure that the resources of this country do not only benefit just a few.

Our daily deeds must produce an actual Zambian reality that will reinforce our people’s belief in justice, in honest public service and strengthen their confidence in the nobility of the human soul and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all.
We should not forget that an individual does best in a strong and decent community of people with principles and standards, common aims and values. Leaders lead, but in the end the people govern.
There is no choice or bias between being principled and unprincipled. And we should not torture ourselves with this foolishness for too long. The founding fathers of our nation did what they did on very strong principles. We haven’t changed to forget those principles, but to fulfill them.

Today is our chance to say no to corruption and not to defend or support it. It is difficult to understand why Sata and his followers should defend Chiluba’s thefts that are so clear for all to see.
Our own and only explanation is that genuine goodness is threatening to those at the opposite end of the moral spectrum.

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At 8:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people are too weird. How could you plunder the public money and spend it on craze coloured shirts and shoes? If I were ka Chiluba, I would have invested the money in commercial farms or something tangible not buying stupid chameleonic garments, yaba?! Tubantu twina chabe?! Chambaaa!!

What’s up my man…Mr. K? Thanks for the good work.



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