Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Levy's legacy of fighting corruption
By Editor
Wed 16 Oct. 2013, 14:00 CAT

The public spirit of Levy Mwanawasa, his honesty and hatred for corruption need to be preserved and inculcated in our people. And for trying to do this, those behind the Levy Mwanawasa Foundation that is trying to perpetuate and inculcate in our people Levy's public spirit and ideals deserve credit and support.

Levy stood for something noble, something just, something fair and something humane. And as Robert Kennedy once observed, "Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hopeā€¦". Clearly, a leader is a dealer in hope. And it gives us great confidence in the future that that tiny ripple of hope sent by Levy has reached and has been embraced by this government, the government of Michael Sata.

The object of government is the welfare of the people. The material progress and prosperity of a nation are desirable chiefly insofar as they lead to the moral and material welfare of all citizens. The work going on here should never be allowed to profit only a small group of corrupt elements. It must be made to benefit all. And to benefit all, no form of corruption or abuse of public office should be tolerated. There should be zero tolerance of corruption. And all our leaders, political or otherwise, all our people should, like Michael, be allergic to corruption.
And being allergic to corruption means that in the first place, they should never engage in corrupt activities. And second, it means that they should never tolerate corruption whenever it rears its ugly head in any part or in any activity of our country and its government. This is what Levy stood for. This is what Levy fought for. And this is what Michael has pledged to continue.

Just in proportion as the average man and woman are honest, are incorruptible and are capable of sound judgement and high ideals, we may count on our fight against corruption as successful.
We can never establish in our homeland a more just, fair and humane society without eradicating corruption. Corruption destroys everything. It destroys our politics. It destroys our government. It destroys our traditional institutions. It even destroys our religious institutions. In a word, corruption destroys everything of value to us.

Therefore, the work that the Levy Mwanawasa Foundation is embarking on is one which should be embarked on with a sense of urgency and resolution. We must have a genuine and permanent moral awakening, without which no wisdom of constitution, legislation or administration really means anything.

No matter what kind of constitution, good laws and the right kind of administration put in place, if we don't have honest, decent, principled and incorruptible leaders in government and other institutions of our society, we will never go forward as a nation. That is imperative; but it must be an addition, and not a substitution for, all the good qualities that make up good leaders and good citizens in general.

In the last analysis, the most important elements must be the sum of all those qualities which, in aggregate, we speak of as character. If one doesn't have it, then no law that the wit of lawmakers, members of parliament, legal draftsmen can devise, no administration of the law by the boldest and strongest of methods, will avail to help us.

We must have the right kind of character - character that makes a man, first of all, a good man in the home, a good father, a good husband, a good grandfather - that makes a man a good neighbour. We must have that, and, then, in addition, we must have the kind of constitution, laws and the kind of administration of the law which will give those qualities in our people the best possible chance for development.

Every human being's life in this world is inevitably mixed with every other life and, no matter what constitutions we come up with or laws we pass, no matter what precautions we take, unless the people we meet are kindly and decent, humane and incorruptible, there is very little that will be achieved. Integrity comes from human beings, rather than from laws and institutions.
The prime problem of our country, of our nation is to get the right type of good citizenship, leadership, and, to get it, we must have progress, and our leaders, our public men and women must be genuinely progressive.

Levy's life in leadership was not an easy one. Levy was not one of our most popular politicians when he started off. Levy was not patronising. He was not the kind of politician that dished out money to people, to cadres and supporters. Levy was not an entertainer of favour-seekers. Levy used to be even irritated by politicians and other favour-seekers who were following him wherever he went. He would sometimes ask them: "Why are you following me wherever I am going?"

Civil servants didn't like Levy because he was against some corrupt practices that had become a culture of civil service life and work. MMD cadres didn't like Levy because he had stopped the dishing out of money that was started by Frederick Chiluba. In Chiluba's time, those who went to his office came out with money. Where was Chiluba getting that money to dish out to cadres, supporters and other favour-seekers, to use in patronising people? It was all stolen and abused public funds. Dr Kenneth Kaunda didn't have that type of money and didn't dish out money to people in that way.

We saw a return to the Chiluba ways when Rupiah Banda became president of the Republic and leader of the MMD.

In a society that is corrupt, corrupt people can sometimes become very popular. In a corrupt society where people live by corruption, seeking favours and patronising those in power and those with deep pockets, honest people are not the most popular. Those who dish out money in their offices, those who dispense all sorts of favours and patronage become more popular and in that way, corruption, abuse is perpetuated.

The highest proof of virtue is to possess boundless power without abusing it. And it doesn't matter what the source of that power is - it can be money or indeed political power. What matters is that, that power must never be abused.

A leader leads by example; and Levy led by example. When he said he was fighting corruption, Levy was not in any way getting himself involved in corrupt schemes. There is no money or wealth Levy left that cannot be accounted for in an honest way. His family, his children do not have the resources that Rupiah's children, family managed to amass in just three years of being in power.
Power is the ability to do good things for others and not to abuse others through all sorts of corrupt and patronising schemes.

The time, as Martin Luther King Jr once said, is always right to do what is right. And there is no power on earth that can neutralise the influence of a high, simple, and useful life. Example is not the main thing in influencing others, it is the only thing.

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