Thursday, April 25, 2013

Opposition doesn't engender confidence

By Editor
Wed 24 Apr. 2013, 14:00 CAT

The opposition should take the observations made by Charles Milupi seriously and in a positive manner. Charles says the opposition political parties have slim chances of forming government unless they reform. We agree.

Truly there is need, as Charles suggests, for the opposition to audit their actions if they are to remain relevant to the country's politics.

Politics is a very serious and important undertaking. We should all be aware that politics is an area of great importance for promoting justice, peace, development and community among all. Politics should be regarded as a vocation, a way of building up society for the common good.

And what our people are seeking is genuine democracy in which the leaders are servants of the electorate and not its abusers, manipulators, robbers. 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 love their country more than themselves. Therefore, those who enter politics should play their roles with care. Those who seek to represent the people as politicians should fight injustice and abuse; should devote themselves to the welfare of all. Their responsibilities as politicians will be exercised legitimately if they are committed to the common good of society.

And as for those who vote when election time comes, they should only vote for honest, hardworking and selfless leaders. They should vote wisely and only for people known for their honesty, ability and concern for the welfare of all. Politics should be honest and responsible because it is an effective way of serving others and working for the integral development of one's country.

We know that some people find it strange to talk of honest politics since to them, politics is mostly perceived as a dirty game because of opportunistic and dishonest politicians.

The behaviour of our opposition leaders does not engender confidence. Look at an opposition leader like Hakainde Hichilema and ask yourself: what does he stand for? What does he believe in? What is it that he's looking for in politics?

Here is a leader who not very long ago was accusing Rupiah Banda, his sons and other associates of corruption. Not very long ago, Hakainde was denouncing Rupiah and the MMD over corruption. But today, they are bedfellows and all between them is okay. Even the corruption that Hakainde used to accuse Rupiah and the MMD of is no longer an issue for him. What has cleansed Rupiah and the MMD of corruption in the eyes of Hakainde? Clearly, Hakainde stands for nothing. What matters to Hakainde is whether you support him or not. If you support Hakainde, you can be anything, you can do anything, he will have no problems with you. Look at William Banda! How can a serious politician, a politician of honour and integrity, take William for a political advisor and right hand man? How can a politician of honour and integrity defend the corruption of a man and a political party which not very long ago he was accusing of corruption? Was Hakainde lying to the Zambian people when he was accusing Rupiah of corruption? Hakainde has never explained to the Zambian people how he has cleansed Rupiah of corruption. Was Hakainde talking about things he didn't know? Was he making wild and false allegations against Rupiah?

William's political violence is well known and documented. Hakainde has no problem with William's background. Why? Probably he is looking for violent people because they fit well in his political strategy and tactics. How else can one explain all these things, all these negations? Well, Alexander Hamilton once said, "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything."

It seems for Hakainde, anything about those he considers to be political opponents goes. If Rupiah is seen to be his political opponent, anything bad or negative about Rupiah goes. It's simply a question of painting a political opponent black without justification. Look at Hakainde's behaviour today towards Michael Sata! Anything against Sata goes. Hakainde doesn't even hesitate to weigh the truthfulness of what he is saying about someone he detests. As Charles says, for some of these people, there are no principles to advance or defend. They swing to any side or to anything regardless of whether it is in line or not with their principles. The truth is that they have no principles to promote or defend and that's why they have no difficulties swinging from one end of the pendulum to the other in no time. What principles is Hakainde advancing or defending? Why is Hakainde in politics? Hakainde is in politics for vanity, to simply satisfy an ambition. Hakainde is not in politics for the good of the country or anybody else; he is in politics to become President and satisfy his ego with that. That's all that matters to Hakainde. And these are the things that today set Hakainde and Charles apart. They are both opposition leaders but Hakainde has chosen to defend corruption and Charles has decided not to defend that which is clearly rotten and immoral. Of course, Charles will soon be smeared with the filth of being bought by those in power. But Hakainde himself had gone into an alliance with Rupiah and the MMD when they were in power. Hakainde and Rupiah worked together in the 2011 elections to ensure that Michael doesn't win.

If Hakainde and those in the opposition working with him had any sense of dignity in themselves, they would feel very ashamed as a result of what Charles is saying about their conduct. They are actually a disgrace to the politics of this country and an embarrassment to those who previously supported them thinking they meant well when they were nothing but defenders of corruption and evil.

As Charles correctly observes, it will not be possible for the opposition to win an election without having to clearly define their principles and enable the Zambian people to know exactly where they stand on the most important issues of our time. Fighting corruption is a very important issue of our time. But Hakainde and his colleagues in the so-called opposition think the issue of corruption is nothing but a political tool to use against those whom one is opposed to. For those one supports, it is not an issue.

This is a vision Hakainde and his opposition colleagues are offering Zambia. But we know that to be successful, leaders must invoke an alchemy of great vision. The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet. Politics is a very important undertaking. And we believe that a bit of the reason for politics is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark. Omar Nelson Bradley once said: "We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship."

Effective leadership is putting first things first. Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. And it is said that if you must be without one, be without strategy, and not character. We hope Hakainde and his friends understand what we are trying to say. Reason and judgment are the qualities of a leader. The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don't know what to do. The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going. People do not follow uncommitted leaders. And as Charles says, "If you are known as a party that will fight corruption, you must be seen in all your actions" to be fighting corruption.

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