Sunday, December 01, 2013

There is too much dishonesty in our politics
By Editor
Wed 23 Oct. 2013, 14:00 CAT

A government starts with a political party. And a good government depends on a good political party. If the political party that forms government is not a good one, it will be very difficult to get a good government out of it.

Therefore, the need for good party leadership cannot be overemphasised if we have to harbour any hope of a good government, a government that can move things forward and improve the lot of our people.

No honest government can come out of a corrupt political party. A government's conduct is a reflection of the conduct of the political party that has sponsored it. If a political party that has sponsored a government is one which is dominated by corrupt elements, that government is likely to be a corrupt one. And if that government happens to be led by an incorruptible president, that president will be under a lot of pressure from corrupt elements to act in a manner that makes his government reflect the dominant character, the corrupt character of the party.

Therefore, the politics of the ruling party have a large bearing on how the government it has sponsored conducts its affairs. Moreover, the party that sponsors a government always feels and behaves in a way that tries to assert that fact - the fact that it is their government, the party and its government.

It is therefore crass dishonesty for anyone to try and claim that the infighting that has been going on in the ruling Patriotic Front has no effects on the operations of government. It does. And this is a fact.
The corruption that is today manifesting in some of the leaders and cadres of the Patriotic Front has an effect on the operations of government. Today we have leaders and cadres in the Patriotic Front who think and sincerely believe it is their time to eat, government contracts for roads and other infrastructure development and supplies to government should go to them. They sincerely believe this. And some of them don't think there is anything wrong with this. They may oppose this type of behaviour in public purely for public relations purposes but privately, they are encouraging it, abetting it and participating in it.

To a large extent, the squabbles that are going on in the Patriotic Front today are a product of this. Some leaders and cadres of the party believe it is time to eat but there isn't much for them to share. The leadership of Michael Sata is different from that of Rupiah Banda or Frederick Chiluba, which openly believed in giving government contracts to party leaders and cadres, and had no problem with this type of corruption.

Levy Mwanawasa didn't believe in this type of behaviour and he had a lot of problems with some of the MMD leaders and cadres. And if Michael continues on this path of being allergic to corruption, he is bound to end up the same way - the Levy way. Today, the anger, the frustration of not being able to corruptly get government business is being targeted at Wynter Kabimba. But tomorrow, it will be at Michael himself.

With or without Wynter, if corruption is allowed to take root in the Patriotic Front and be the way of doing politics and business, this problem will not end - the bickering in the Patriotic Front will continue to be the order of the day. And those who are allies today in the fight against Wynter will tomorrow be fighting each other, long after Wynter has been politically annihilated.

Clearly, the cause of all these problems in the Patriotic Front is dishonesty. People are not honest about their lack of commitment, and their disagreement with the direction, practices and norms Michael is imposing on them. Michael hates corruption, but how many of his fellow Patriotic Front leaders and cadres equally hate corruption and can be said to be allergic to it?

They fear Michael. They know his political capacity. And none of them can dare challenge him today on these issues. And because of this, they go for soft targets that share Michael's outlook on this score.

There has to be honesty on these issues. There is too much hypocrisy and lying. Honesty is needed in the leadership, cadreship and general membership of the Patriotic Front. It is said that practiced consistently, political honesty is a road that leads a man's mind and will to do good for one's country and one's people. For if someone a long time ago said that all roads led to Rome, today it can be stated that all roads of honest politics lead to a more just, fair and humane society.

In all honesty, there is no substitute for honest leadership if we are to take our country to prosperity through selfless service for others.
We must search for honest solutions to our problems rather than through connivance, cheating, secret deals, dark-corner meetings, because before we realise it, such practices will corrupt us, contaminate us and our consciousness.

Virtue must be nourished but vice springs up like weeds and grows by itself. We must bear that in mind. If we do otherwise, while nourishing virtue, we are simultaneously paving way for vice.

There is need for our political leaders to teach themselves and their cadres the importance of incorruptibility as the essence of self-respect.

Of all the properties which belong to honourable politicians, not one is as highly prized as that of honesty and integrity. It is said that leadership is the capacity and will to bring together men and women for a common purpose and the integrity of character which inspires confidence.

Integrity is the most indispensable and treasured quality of leadership. And one who aspires to be a good leader must always keep his word. You cannot be a good leader if to this one, you say this, and to that one, you say something else. A liar, a hypocrite, a double-tongued person, a man or woman of double standards can never provide good leadership. If you keep your word as a leader, you will be respected. It is important for a leader to always act in a manner consistent with his innermost beliefs and convictions. If a leader says he hates corruption, injustice, his actions must be consistent with that. It doesn't make sense for one who hates corruption to be the greatest entertainer of corrupt elements. Whatever one believes with emotion becomes one's reality. There is need for a leader to be in every respect clear about self and what one stands for. And truthfulness to all one is dealing with is the main element of character. Trying to dribble people is not leadership; it is deception and not leadership. You don't lead people by deceiving them, by cheating them. That's not leadership but criminal behaviour.

With more honesty and integrity, more will be achieved and fewer mistakes will be made. Leaders who are not honest can never be reliable. If one is not honest, they can steal and engage in all sorts of corrupt activities.

And if one can steal, they can also kill. And if one can kill, then there is no crime they cannot commit.

It is therefore important that only those who exhibit honest characteristics and integrity at all times should be given our votes and support.

Effective leadership is not about making good speeches and oratory, or being liked and popular; leadership is defined by results not attributes.

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