Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Politicians without integrity

Politicians without integrity
By The Post
Wed 20 Feb. 2013, 14:00 CAT

Reverend Anderson Banda of the Reformed Church in Zambia says the Church will only keep quiet when people start practising politics with integrity.

Reverend Banda says they want to see politics being practiced with integrity in this country, especially that this nation has been declared a Christian one.

We all know that every day newspapers are full of stories about leaders who lack integrity - men and women who, while leading, had some breach of trust that usually led to personal gain. But the church has been quiet.

We have repeatedly stated that leaders aren't perfect people; neither are their followers. We will never have perfect leaders. Integrity doesn't require perfection, however. Rather, integrity demands that leaders and followers take responsibilities for wrongs done and take steps to correct or make restitution for those wrongs.

But we have seen from our experiences with Frederick Chiluba and now with Rupiah Banda that things don't happen that way; our leaders don't have that type or level of integrity to admit their wrongdoing, apologise and make restitution for those wrongdoings.

Chiluba was given enough opportunity to return a part of what he had stolen and be forgiven. He did not do so. Instead, he pretended to be innocent when everyone could see that he had stolen. Even when the London High Court found him and his tandem of thieves wanting and asked him and his friends to pay back more than US$46 million they had stolen from the Zambian people, Chiluba still pretended to be innocent. We see the same pattern today with Rupiah.

Rupiah knows very well that he and his children stole public funds and abused public resources and evidence is there to prove their crimes. His son flees the country. And Rupiah himself goes round pretending to be a democrat who is being victimised by the tyrannical regime of Michael Sata. This was the same approach Chiluba took, pretending to be a victim of Levy Mwanawasa's political victimisation and intolerance. But in his heart of hearts, Chiluba knew he was a thief.

These are the levels of integrity we have in our leaders. But we know that even at the heart of any assessment of biblical qualifications for leadership lies the concept of integrity - that uncompromising adherence to a code of moral, artistic, or other values that reveals itself in sincerity, honesty and candour and avoids deception or artificiality.

The God-given capacity to lead has two parts: giftedness and character. Integrity is at the heart of character. Integrity is a vital price of leadership for anyone who is serious about establishing a leadership style and legacy that will impact the world in a positive manner - to be above reproach.
If a mistake is made, if a wrong is committed, if an injustice is carried out, then integrity demands that a leader take ownership for it and make it right.

In this generation where everyone is a victim and wrongs done, crimes committed seem to be no one's fault, there is a desperate need for men and women of integrity to lead the way; men and women who can hold on to their values and make decisions that are consistent with who they are and what they believe; men and women who don't sell-out or cut corners hoping no one is watching. This is so because that is not the way to become to remain a leader.

If there is in their hearts a vestige of love for their country, love for their people, love for justice, we don't think Rupiah and his friends who include Hakainde Hichilema, Nevers Mumba and Sakwiba Sikota would behave in the way they are behaving. Look at the way they are attacking, denouncing, maligning, slandering an innocent man, Michael, for trying to do the right thing and bring Rupiah to account for his corruption, abuses!

The endless stream of lies and slanders, poured forth in their crude, odious, repulsive language, may only be compared to the endless stream of abuses against the people they have endlessly engaged in. To have believed them for a single moment would have sufficed to fill a man or woman of conscience with remorse and shame for the rest of his or her life. They have even hired mercenary lawyers who ambulance-chase every corrupt politician who is being prosecuted and has stolen a lot of money to be their clients. For what and why? We shall not mince our words about these mercenaries.

They are not even attempting to cover appearances. They don't seem to bother in the least to conceal what they are doing. They think they are deceiving the people with their lies, their propaganda, their malice and they are ending up deceiving themselves. They used to think power lies with them and not with the people.

Dante divided his Inferno into nine circles. He put the criminals in the seventh, the thieves in the eighth and the traitors in the ninth. Difficult dilemma the devils will be faced with, when they try to find an adequate spot for this man's soul - if this man has a soul. The man who stole from the poor Zambian people to enrich himself, his sons and his friends doesn't even have a heart.

In every society there are men and women of base instincts who go about in the guise of human beings when they are nothing but crooks, monsters only more or less restrained by discipline and social habit. If they are offered a drink from a river of blood, they will not be satisfied until they drink the river dry.

It is therefore not difficult to understand why Hakainde is defending Rupiah's corruption. It is simply because abusing a position of trust to enrich oneself is not something that Hakainde finds wrong. Look at what Hakainde did himself when he was entrusted with the responsibility of liquidator!

Today, at their hands, the best and noblest Zambians are being maligned, scandalised, are being painted black so that at the end of the day there is no distinction between them and these decent and noble Zambians. They have hired mercenaries like Robert Amsterdam to do their propaganda work, to defame and malign those who are trying to make them account.

A person who defends a man who has robbed his poor country and poor people is not an honourable man, a man of integrity. This is what those who are defending Rupia are - men without integrity. And the church should speak out against such men as long as they exist.

In the nation there must be a certain degree of honour and integrity just as there must be a certain amount of light. When there are many men and women without honour and integrity, there are always others who bear in themselves the integrity of many men and women. These are the men and women who rebel with great force against those who steal the people's resources, that is to say, against those who steal the people's honour itself. In those men and women, thousands more are contained, an entire people is contained, human dignity is contained.

It is understandable that honest men and women should be maligned in a Republic where the president is a criminal and a thief like Rupiah was.
Whatever they thought was the morality of defending Rupiah's corruption - and about that there is no doubt - there is no doubt about its imbecility. There is no slightest shadow of doubt that Hakainde and his friends in defending Rupiah's corruption they have chosen political methods which are bound to destroy their political standing forever.

People resent most bitterly their unconcern for the lives of innocent poor men and women of this country and their defence of a man who has stolen from these poor people. They have betrayed the people; they have betrayed the poor. And it is said that he who betrays the poor, betrays Christ.

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