Friday, August 07, 2009

The betrayal of chiefs

The betrayal of chiefs
Written by Editor

Senior chief Bright Nalubamba and his fellow chiefs in Southern Province have no reason to regret having supported Rupiah Banda in last year’s elections. They knew very well what type of a person Rupiah was and that’s why they supported him. All the chiefs in Southern Province were adults when Rupiah was chief executive at Namboard, when he was a Zambian diplomat, a minister in the UNIP government and indeed the governor of Lusaka.

Nobody from that age group can claim to have been misled on who Rupiah is and what he has stood for all his life. Rupiah’s record is well known. Rupiah is not a man capable of hiding his true colours.

The truth is senior chief Nalubamba and his friends supported Rupiah out of opportunism and not out of principle. We say out of opportunism because they thought being what he was, he would also play an opportunist game and give them what they wanted. When one wants serious things to be delivered to the people, to the community or the nation, they look for principled people. Crooks can promise anything; they can even lie, but they seldom deliver on their promises.

What senior chief Nalubamba and his friends were looking for was not something for the people but for themselves. Again, we say this because senior chief Nalubamba and his friends know Rupiah very well and they had no reason to think that all of a sudden, the man has acquired some capacity to deliver anything meaningful to the people.

So there is nothing for them to regret. If there is anything to regret, it’s their own opportunism and lack of principles. There is no way any honest person who has known Rupiah all these years can ever think and believe that Rupiah can honestly champion any fight against corruption.

There is no one who knows Rupiah’s background who can sincerely believe that the man can depart from tribal or regional politics and sincerely become a champion of national unity. Political honesty has never been a hallmark of Rupiah’s political career. So the chiefs should not blame Rupiah for the way things have turned out. They should blame themselves because Rupiah has remained true to his character that these chiefs tried to ignore.

It is also difficult to understand how our chiefs could be so easily duped by Rupiah. Anyway they say that those who stand for nothing fall for anything. And if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

We hope these chiefs of ours will now realise that leadership is not something to play opportunism with because it is very vital to the future of our nation. And good leadership can only be achieved by our chiefs’ willingness to work with their people and be inspired by a larger vision and not what a particular individual will do for them when he becomes president.

And we hope that our chiefs have learnt that of all the properties which belong to honourable men and women, not one is so highly prized as that of character. We say this because you can’t lead anyone else further than you have gone yourself.

We hope these chiefs have learnt something. We hope they will now realise that only people who are known for their honesty, ability, dedication and concern for the welfare of all deserve to be supported for leadership positions. And the support of our chiefs for those seeking political office should be guided by strong principles or values and not by what a candidate has given them or has promised to give them. What our people are seeking is genuine democracy in which the leaders are servants of the electorate and not its masters, or robbers.

And good governance only occurs when we have intelligent, honest and humble leaders who see politics as a vocation to serve the people. No one deserves to be elected unless they are honest, humble and incorruptible. We say this because politics is an area of great importance for promoting justice, peace, development and community among all. And senior chief Nalubamba and his friends should from now onwards avoid what they did last year by going against the wishes of the people to support Rupiah.

They had no support from their people for the stand they took because the people of Southern Province didn’t vote for Rupiah despite their chiefs’ openly declared support for him. How was this possible? How can senior chief Nalubamba and his friends explain this defiance of their own people? What reward was there to induce them to totally disregard the political feelings of their own subjects? This is corruption. This is not good leadership on their part. And for this reason, they should feel ashamed to even criticise Rupiah because they betrayed their own people by ignoring their political wishes.

Anyway, if there is genuine and honest regret and they can fully explain it, then they will win back the respect and trust of the people. If not, no one will ever listen to them again when it comes to whom they should vote for. It is important that senior chief Nalubamba and his friends start to regard politics as a vocation, a way of building up society for the common good.

They should realise that the government is the instrument by which people co-operate together in order to achieve the common good and those who are put in government should match up to that responsibility. It’s time our chiefs became conscious of their specific and proper role in the political community. Politics need people with high credibility. If our country is to move forward, honest and hardworking leaders are needed.

There is need to realise that the mark of great leaders is the ability to understand the context in which they are operating and act accordingly. A leader should have largeness of mind and should be staunch and active, looking upon the interests of the people as his very life and subordinating his personal interests to those of the people; always and everywhere, he should adhere to principle and wage a tireless struggle against all incorrect ideas and actions, so as to consolidate the collective life of the nation.

A leader should be more concerned about the people than about any individual, and more concerned about others than about himself. Only thus can he be considered a good leader. At no time and in no circumstances should a leader place his personal interests first; he should subordinate them to the interests of the nation and of the masses. Hence, selfishness, corruption, dishonesty and so forth and so on are most contemptible, while wholehearted devotion to the people and their interests will always command respect. What we are saying applies to all our leaders, including our chiefs themselves.

There is no doubt senior chief Nalubamba and his friends had behaved in the most treacherous manner in their support for Rupiah. There is nothing but selfishness that drove them to support Rupiah. They abandoned their people; they betrayed their people for Rupiah. They were actually very shortsighted and had lost their bearings. Chiefs, of all people, should be the most farsighted and the most honest in sizing up situations and should rely on the majority of the masses for whatever positions they take.

Chiefs should set an example in whatever they do; at all times, they should be pupils of the masses as well as their teachers.

We can only hope senior chief Nalubamba and his friends have truly learnt their lesson and will never politically betray their people again.

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