Saturday, June 12, 2010

Rupiah feels sorry for Dr Musonda and not for his victim

Rupiah feels sorry for Dr Musonda and not for his victim
By Editor
Sat 12 June 2010, 04:00 CAT

We are told in the Holy Bible that “kings cannot tolerate evil, because justice is what makes a government strong” (Proverbs 16:12).

What the Bible is telling us is that a wise leader should not tolerate injustice because ultimately, injustice can destroy a nation. And the Bible goes on to add: “It is not right to favour the guilty and keep the innocent from receiving justice” (Proverbs 18:5). This is something that Rupiah Banda should reflect on very carefully. The lessons that the Bible gives are very important and he ignores them at his own peril. Great empires have been brought to nothing because of leaders who believed they could run things with injustice. Where there is injustice, people are not happy and “when justice is done, good people are happy, but evil people are brought to despair” (Proverbs 21:15). This brings us to the question: why should Rupiah feel sorry for Dr Solomon Musonda over the Serenje shooting incident?

Solomon shot somebody who is still lying in hospital. Surely, one would expect a president speaking in that capacity, and not as a party cadre, to be concerned about the welfare of the person who was shot. The Bible also tells us when it gives advice to kings that “speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless. Speak for them and be a righteous judge. Protect the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9). This is the advice that Rupiah should be following.

It does not make sense for Rupiah to stand in public and announce his pity for Solomon yet keeping quiet about the person who was injured by Solomon. The act that Solomon did, if the police are to be believed, has led to an investigation of attempted murder. This means that the police in their judgment felt that Solomon may have intended to kill the poor chap who was shot. There is no better explanation of the intention of one who shoots a person in the head. The only intention of a person who shoots somebody in the head is to kill. It is shameful that Rupiah finds the courage to stand in public and say he feels sorry for Solomon.

There is a consistency in the way that Rupiah behaves. He has shown us that he does not stand for justice. All other considerations are more important to him, especially politics, than the rule of law. But Rupiah should not forget the advice that the Bible gives. It is justice that will make him a great leader. But injustice will bring him to ruin. Today he is President and feels safe and well-protected. But our people are recording everything he is doing, the positions he is taking on every issue. What Rupiah was saying about Musonda is his characteristic way of giving instructions to the police in public. He is showing them where his sympathies lie – they lie with Solomon and not with that boy who could have died.

This explains the shameful way in which Francis Kabonde, the Inspector General of Police, has been behaving. The poor fellow does not have the moral courage to tell his boss, Rupiah, that the things that he is requiring him to do are wrong and if we follow what the Bible is saying, evil. Rupiah is putting so much pressure on those that work for him that it seems none of them is able to tell him when he is going wrong.

This is why we have been saying that Rupiah and his minions have turned the justice system of this country into a tool for their political hegemony. Only those who are against them are going to be prosecuted or harassed by the police. The decision-making processes of the police are no longer being driven by law but by political affiliation, actual or perceived. This way of doing things is dangerous to the nation. But it is also dangerous to Rupiah because those who are close to him are going to feel that they are above the law and end up committing all sorts of crimes and doing all sorts of atrocious things. If a minister of government can shoot someone and walk free or as we saw in the case of Gastone Sichilima being photographed in a fist fight and face no discipline, what is being said to the police?

What Rupiah said about Solomon is one of the most despicable things that he has ever engaged in. A little wisdom – if a little is all he has – would have told him to shut up about Solomon and express sympathy towards that boy who was shot at.

But this is not the way that Rupiah operates. Ordinary shame and decency does not seem to stop him from doing wrong things. Once he is set on a course, he goes all the way regardless of the consequences. Rupiah is a reckless leader. We could catalogue so many things that he has been pushing since coming to power which are wrong but he persists in doing.

Everybody knows that the police are not operating independently and professionally. They are being used to fix perceived political opponents. The fact that everybody knows has not stopped Rupiah and his minions from coming up with ever-increasing silly schemes targeted at his opponents.

When it comes to procurement scandals, Rupiah is determined. He does not stop defending wrong things. Zamtel is an example. It was clearly demonstrated in our courts that this transaction was conceived in circumstances that suggest wrongdoing. But from the first day, Rupiah has always defended and championed this.

What about Rupiah’s ill-conceived mobile hospital nonsense? Against all advice, Rupiah is pushing ahead. We are left to wonder why.
Even oil procurement has continued to be used for all sorts of things. Just the other day, Rupiah’s government was announcing that they are looking for a cheaper source. The country needs cheap oil, but not through deals organised without transparency using Rupiah’s friends.

We could go on giving examples of how determined Rupiah is to do things that raise questions. We are therefore not surprised when he expresses sympathy for an aggressor. But although we are not surprised by Rupiah’s attitude, we are saddened and worried. We say this because Rupiah is the Republican President who should be representing all of us regardless of our political affiliations or lack of it. Today Rupiah appears to be only a President for his family, friends and MMD cadres and others who sing praise to him. The interests of those who do not belong to him politically or otherwise are not given protection by Rupiah. Common decency should give Rupiah restraint. But that does not seem to be the case. Rupiah is abusing the office that belongs to all the people of this country to serve personal ends. That boy who was shot at, more than Solomon, deserves Rupiah’s sympathy and protection. But so far, Rupiah has shown no interest for the plight of that boy for what can only be cheap political reasons. There is something fundamentally wrong about Rupiah’s sense of humanity. He seems to have none. If in public Rupiah can spew the kind of nonsense we heard the other day about Solomon, what is he saying in private? We would not be surprised to hear that Rupiah is praising Solomon for sorting out a PF cadre.

Our people should not be surprised about the violence that is increasing in our politics. We say this because if a president can support a person who has shot another person in public, then what hope is left? The use of firearms is the highest and worst form of violence because of the damage they can do to a human being. Firearms do not only injure a person, they kill. And they are meant for killing not for simply wounding or inflicting some pain. This is what Rupiah is tolerating. This is what Rupiah is condoning. Rupiah’s conduct explains the behaviour of people like William Banda who seem to fear no legal consequences for their actions.

It is clear that anyone who is on the side of Rupiah will have his protection when it comes to law enforcement. This is why those on the right side of Rupiah are today committing all sorts of crimes with impunity. To take a supporter of Rupiah to court for a criminal offence is an uphill battle; it is not an easy undertaking. Even private prosecution is seldom given by Rupiah’s Director of Public Prosecutions lest the cases are well-prosecuted to secure convictions. Here we have the example of that notorious MMD cadre who has been organising the harassment and beatings of journalists. Firstly, it was very difficult to simply get the police to arrest and charge him. When this was done and the Director of Public Prosecutions was asked for permission to have a private prosecutor handle the matter, he refused.

This is how our criminal justice system is being abused by Rupiah and his minions. There is need to put an end to this.

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