Professor Mwiine Lubemba.
TODAY you can defect from one political party to the next and back again at a whim. You do not have to familiarise or agree with your new party’s manifesto, you simply dress up in their party Chitenge colours and hooray! …you are a bonafide member ready to start casting stones at your former political party and colleagues you feasted with.
Our politics no longer have social, cultural, economic or moral ideologies to abide to.
You find brothers and sisters belong either to the PF or UPND. They cast stones to satisfy their elitists’ egos.
But how can you explain political gangsterism which at first sight seemed an innocent telephone conversation between the UPND president Mr. Hakainde Hichilema and the Truck Drivers Association of Zambia President Mr. Clement Chansa two years ago on November 21, 2019?
The two called and promised each other favours that can only be achieved using taxpayer’s money once they win. They formed a telephone alliance not based on any ideological beliefs but merely to kick out the PF government in this year’s election so they can also start to eat.
I hear you say…, Professor Lubemba… these are pretty heavy charges… you better be prepared to back them up with evidence! I will… but with a few questions for you to answer beginning with the PF.
Do you remember Mr Michael Sata promised to give us more money in our pockets that Mr Rupiah Banda and Mr Levy Mwanawasa greedily refused to give us?
Do you remember we were promised more jobs and end youth unemployment?
Do you remember promises of fewer taxes to industries and all of us?
Do you remember men and women dressed in MMD Chitenge but voted for the PF in anticipation for money but so far only a few have been given and the rest are still waiting patiently for their turn once the PF win on August 12, 2021?
How about if I proved to you that if we allow Mr Hichilema to get into State House, we will get nothing because he has promised similar grandiose favours to another group of people who will help him remove the PF in this year’s election?
Would you say that is different from what the PF promised us and a fairer political strategy to let the UPND get into State House at our expense and that of everyone else’s who is waiting for PF favours? Of course, only a foolish voter will abandon a front row seat to start at the bottom of the UPND list.
Or do you believe it’s moral and just for Mr Hichilema to selectively promise free college tuition to truck drivers’ children leaving out our children, grandchildren and any other citizen in need of an education?
The online Mwebantunews story on November 21, 2019…. “HH DESPERATE, PHONES TRUCK DRIVERS.” …“Help me Remove PF, Hichilema Cries to Truck Drivers.” Do you wonder why Petrol Tanker Drivers went on strike early this year? There is an excerpt of this discussion here.
…..“I’ll put up a team to collaborate with you so that you can help me remove the PF government.”
…..“I’ll speak for you; I’ll pay for you. I’ll personally take your children to school and colleges.”
……“I’ll send details of the programme designed to remove the PF on WhatsApp to you.”
……‘’Send these voice notes against the PF government. Tell the drivers we have spoken. Organise, let us remove them. I stand with you.”
Seriously, how can two private citizens who do not own the national purse promise each other special favours and privileges without regard to who will pick up the tab?
What does this tell us about ideological differences between the PF and UPND?
So …why have we allowed politicians with same political ideology and moral principles to prevail if their aim is to win elections at all costs even conniving with the loudest rowdy and sometimes vulgar politicians and street gangs of disgruntled unemployed youths who help them win an election in exchange for more money, more jobs, free college education for their children and perhaps (like Dr Chiluba) even an office at State House?
Whether we have the stomach to own up to it or not, we have become an immoral society of people left with little more than the pretence of morality. The PF and UPND attack on our fragile democracy is not new, it is just the tiny tip of the iceberg in our nation’s moral decline.
A new reader on this page might ask, Lubemba…, “that is totally unfounded heavy charge. You’d better back it up with evidence.” I will again justify with questions like before for you to answer.
The desire to promote the welfare of others by the generous donation of money to good causes exhibited by people who have acquired a considerable fortune is called philanthropy.
Mr. Hichilema pledged generous donations to truck drivers and their children. Do you believe he will achieve these promises from his monthly wages as President? If not, where do you think he will get the money to fulfil his pledges during his term in office?
Or do you believe it is morally just for one Zambian to be forcibly used to serve the purposes of another? And if that Zambian does not peaceably submit to such use, do you accept that there should be the initiation of force against him?
Neither question is complex and can be answered by either a Yes or No. For me, the answer is No to both questions. I bet that nearly every politician, pastor and even NGO could not give a simple Yes or No response.
A simple no answer, translated into public policy, would slash the current national budget by no less than two thirds. After all, our national spending since 1973 UNIP’s failed socialist’s benevolence has continued taking the earnings of one Zambian to give to another in form of exorbitant public service emoluments now exceeding 54 percent of the budget, plus MMD also introduced FISP subsidies which nevertheless benefit public servants already on public payroll, business tenders that benefit insiders and the elites first, a bit to education, medical care, welfare and food coupons.
Keep in mind that our parliament at Manda Hill has no resources of its own. Plus, there is no Santa Claus or tooth fairy that gives parliament resources.
Thus, the only way that the PF or UPND (once elected) can give one Zambian one Kwacha is through intimidation and coercion of their MPs to confiscate that one-kwacha from some other Zambian.
Any such action of using our parliament should offend any sense of moral decency. If you are a Christian, you should be against the notion of one Zambian living at the expense of some other Zambian.
When God gave Moses the Eighth Commandment – “Thou shalt not steal,” – I am sure He did not mean thou shalt not steal unless you marshal a majority vote in parliament.
By the way, I do not take this position because I do not believe in helping our fellow man. I believe that helping those in need by reaching into one’s own pocket to do so is praiseworthy philanthropy and laudable.
But helping one’s fellow man in need by reaching into somebody else’s pockets is not philanthropy and to do so is worthy of condemnation.
Every Zambian must own up to the fact that laws and regulations made by our parliament alone cannot produce a civilised society. Morality is society’s first line of defence against uncouth cadre behaviour we see today. Regulations, religious teachings in our Christian nation, is one way of inculcating morality but have been under siege from political cadres promised favours for votes.
Traditional moral absolutes in our country have been abandoned as guiding principles. We no longer hold people accountable for their behaviour and we easily accept excuses that encourage hooliganism and vulgar language as long as it is not directed at us.
The moral issues affecting truck drivers that Mr Hichilema pledged to solve once elected, the unacceptable youth unemployment rates inherited from UNIP and the MMD era that the PF pledged to solve in 2011 for votes, plus the aggression created by ferrying cadres to political rallies for cash or beer, mayhem and other forms of anti-social behaviour, will continue until we regain our moral footing.
Unfortunately, our constitution was drafted only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to a government of any other people. I am too afraid that a historian writing another half a century from now, will note that the liberty Zambians fought for in 1964 was simply a historical curiosity.
Then, after more than five and half decades, it all returned to mankind’s normal historical state of affairs…. arbitrary abuse and control or national resources by the powerful political elites for their absolute benefit.
Just a thought,