Monday, February 04, 2013

Interesting constitution convention resolutions

Interesting constitution convention resolutions
By The Post
Sun 03 Feb. 2013, 15:40 CAT

IT is interesting to listen to the provincial constitution conventions. There are many interesting and sometimes very radical proposals coming out of these conventions. It is Zambians planning their future! But we wonder how these very divergent proposals are going to be reconciled.

We have avoided joining the constitution debate because we want the views of our people to freely come out and be heard. We don't want to be the determinants of whatever constitutional setup we come up with. Of course, there are issues we strongly feel about and cannot completely keep quiet. We expressed our views on the death sentence.

This is something that has been with us for a long time and has achieved nothing other than retribution, vengeance and permanent bitterness. We have listened to the views of other people on this issue. The spirit of vengeance seems to be very much a part of our culture. It is really a culture of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

It is a culture that we find difficult to reconcile with the declaration of Zambia as a Christian nation. We have failed to find anything that is truly Christian about the death sentence. Of course religious arguments have been used to defend the death sentence.

We are not against punishing criminal acts. Those who commit crimes should be punished. But the death sentence is not a punishment. Who are you punishing? Who is there to be punished? You cannot punish a dead person! What punishment can you give to a dead person?

Actually killing somebody is removing them from punishment. If you want to punish somebody, they must be there to take the punishment, to feel the punishment, to live through the punishment. Death sentence frees one from punishment.

It is also worrying to see positions being taken on very important constitutional issues facing our country on the basis of fear. Fear is a poor chisel for carving out tomorrow. Consequently, if you are viewing your future from a position of fear or worry, your perspective is inaccurate. Instead, look forward in faith, knowing that the plans the Lord has for you are "plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11). Worry is simply the triumph of fear over faith.

There is a story about a woman crying profusely while standing on a street corner. When a man came up to her and asked why she was weeping, she shook her head and replied, "I was just thinking that maybe someday I would get married. We would later have a beautiful baby girl. Then one day this child and I would go for a walk along this street, and my darling daughter would run into the street, get hit by a car, and die."

It sounds like a fairly unreasonable situation - sobbing because of something that will probably never happen. Yet we act this way when we worry. We blow a situation out of proportion that likely won't come to pass.

An old Swedish proverb says: "Worry gives a small thing a big shadow." That's why the Bible challenges us to cast down vain imaginations - because vain imaginations want to grow and grow and grow, eventually affecting every area of our lives. Have you ever noticed that they never stay small?

As mentioned before, worry is simply a misuse of the creative imagination that God has placed within each of us. When fear rises in our mind, we should learn to expect the opposite in our life. This is shown in the Bible; God says, "He hasn't given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind" (2 Tim 1-7).

The word worry is derived from an Anglo-Saxon term meaning "to strangle" or "to choke off." There is no question that worry and fear do choke off the creative flow from God.

Things are seldom as they seem. "Skim milk masquerades as cream," said W.S. Gilbert. As we dwell on and worry about matters beyond our control, a negative effect begins to set in. Too much analysis always leads to paralysis. Worry is a route that leads from somewhere to nowhere. Don't let it direct your life. Psalm 55:22 counsels, "Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved."

Never respond out of fear, and never fear to respond. Action attacks fear; inaction reinforces it. Don't worry; don't fear.

It is said that a genius is someone who shoots at a target no one else sees and hits it. We are told never to cross the bridge till we come to it, but this world is owned by men and women who have 'crossed bridges' in their imagination far ahead of the crowd. We should observe the future and act before it occurs.

Many times we act or fail to act, not because of will, as is commonly believed but because of imagination. Other people may be smarter, better educated, or more experienced, but no single person has a corner on dreams, desire or ambition. The creation of a thousand forests of opportunity can be found in one small acorn of an idea. "No man that does not see visions will ever realise any high hope or undertake any high enterprise," offered Woodrow Wilson.

The Bible says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18). Vision is seeing things that are invisible. Not being a person of imagination causes your life to be less than it was intended to be. A dream is one of the most exciting things there is. Let's continue dreaming about a better Zambia. José Marti once observed, "Today's dreams are tomorrow's reality." We have seen many of our dreams become reality.

Let's continue dreaming about a better Zambia because tomorrow, that will become a reality. Our constitution should reflect our dreams about the Zambia we want to have in the future. And let us not forget that the future is not built in the future, it is built on the threshold of what we do today.

We should therefore think deeply, meditate deeply over what constitution we want to have. Today's fears, today's emotions, today's expediencies should not overwhelm us when it comes to what type of constitution we want to have. We say this because the constitution we are trying to come up with is not for today but for tomorrow.


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