Thursday, May 10, 2012

Let's take responsibility for our wrongs

COMMENT - This article is so general it is hard to understand who or what 'wrongdoing' they are talking about.

Let's take responsibility for our wrongs
By The Post
Wed 09 May 2012, 12:50 CAT

Most Zambians don't believe in the law of hate. They may not always be true to their ideals, but they generally seem to believe in the law of love, and with love one can do nothing with hatred. We would like to see a time when everyone loves their neighbour, as comrade KK always reminds us.

When one loves their neighbours as they love themselves, there will be very few cases of corruption, abuse of power or office in our country. When you love your neighbour as you love thyself, it is not easy for you to do anything that disadvantages them.

We would therefore advise patience; we would advise tolerance; we would advise understanding, we would advise all those things which are necessary for people to live together.
We would never advise revenge. You can't build a united nation on the basis of revenge. If you want to mobilise every section of the population, you can't do it with feelings of hatred and revenge.

But this is not to say wrongdoing should be tolerated and wrongdoers allowed to go scot-free. No. There has to be accountability and people have to be responsible for their actions or their deeds. We must be firm but just in our demands for accountability; we must avoid witch-hunts, which are foreign to our methods, our principles, and to the Christian character of our people.

It is not good for people to deny responsibility for what they have done and accuse those who are trying to make them accountable of witch-hunts. The word witch-hunt wouldn't be part of our people's vocabulary if people who have committed wrongs quickly own up when they are called to account.

We have people who have stolen or abused public funds, yet claim to be innocent and pretend to have done nothing wrong. And they even go as far as mobilising their clans, tribesmen to defend their crimes knowingly or in ignorance. They try to make innocent people who are simply doing their duty to hold those who hold public office accountable look bad or evil, vengeful in the eyes of our people.

This is not good. But this is part of the dishonesty we were talking about yesterday based on the observations made by Fr Thomas Matteiu. If you are not honest with yourself and with others, you can steal. And if you can steal, you can kill. This is the behaviour of corrupt elements in this country.

They don't want to be responsible for the wrongs they have done, show contrition and apologise to their fellow citizens, even if it means them serving jail. Some of them appeal all the way to the Supreme Court and at the end of the day when their convictions are held by all the levels of our courts, they still never care to apologise and show contrition for what they had done.

Sometimes even honest people lose it and commit crimes.

But the difference between an honest person who commits a crime and an outright crook, a person who is a crook through and through, is that whereas the former shows contrition and apologises, the latter never shows any remorse and simply goes on to continue denying their wrongdoing even when it's clear to all.

There is no witch-hunt going on right now in our country. Those who are being pursued on suspicions of wrongdoing are being pursued legitimately and on good grounds. Where there are suspicions of wrong doing, law enforcement officers need to investigate and satisfy themselves that no crime was committed. But in the process of doing so, the suspects will be questioned. And this is not witch-hunting.

This is a normal process of law enforcement. If the law enforcement officers find that one has committed no crime, that person is left alone. But if they are found wanting, further investigations are carried out which may end in an arrest and prosecution. Again, this is not a witch-hunt but a legitimate law enforcement process. Crime has to be fought.

And in every crime, there are suspects. And a suspect is not a convict. And because a suspect is not a convict, sometimes further investigations may free them from any suspicion of wrongdoing. At times this process goes on until the end of the prosecution for suspects to be cleared of any wrongdoing.

This is not witch-hunt. It is a normal law enforcement process and part of our judicial process.
Law enforcement in this country would be much easier if people were honest and in one way or another, tried to adhere to the Christian principles they espouse.

If people were quick to admit their wrongs and took responsibility for what they have done, it would be very difficult for anyone to accuse our law enforcement officers of witch-hunts.

It is not easy to investigate cases of wrongdoing, especially of corruption, in an environment that is characterised by a deep-rooted culture of dishonesty where people can easily collude and to crack the matter, it has to take a lot of time and effort.

Let's always bear in mind that the life of every citizen of this country is inevitably mixed with that of every other citizen and, no matter what laws we pass, no matter what precautions we take, unless the people we meet, we share this country with are kindly and decent and human, then there can be no honest society in our homeland.

Honesty, integrity and decency come from human beings, rather than from laws and institutions. We all know there has been corruption in this country, there has been misuse of public resources and power.

This cannot be denied. And if it is true that public resources have been misused, misapplied, misappropriated, then who did it? There has to be a human being behind all this. And when the human being behind all this is being sought, we say it is witch-hunt, we cry foul! How? Why?

And as Bishop John Mambo says, "we know that misuse of power, resources was there and is still rampant", why should we cry witch-hunt when people are being asked to account, to take responsibility for what they did?
Making people responsible or accountable for what they did is not witch-hunt. This is something that every decent human being should do on their own or should easily co-operate with when they are asked to.



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