A Commentary on Struggle, Equity and Justice
By Ngande Mwanajiti
ARTHUR Simuchoba – a former Editor-in-Chief of the mighty Times of Zambia News Paper, Executive Editor of the Post Newspaper, Editor of the Monitor Newspaper and Editor of Executive Issues, and other publications, is no more.
Talk about struggle, equity and justice; these are terms which describe the gallant departed soldier, well. His pen, was clearly mightier than the sword and sharper than a razor.
Quiet, but highly analytical, and with an admirable helicopter view. One only made sense of what he was thinking, in his actions and the product of his hand – the words he wrote. Exceedingly informed and able to chat a pattern of what could come, all purely from his intellectual prowess.
At his funeral, I saw some of the fine young men we worked with. I can confirm that Dickson Jere, was more than a workmate, but a true friend to Arthur. At Church, I also met, Alphonsius Hamachila, Mervin Syafunko, Whitney Mulobela, Phillip Chirwa, Kunda Mwila, Henry Kabwe, Moses Walubita and many other professionals he mentored; too numerous to mention.
To my brilliant young colleagues, still on tour of duty, reality has shaken us, but, that is the way of nature. Key lessons: Humility, process and delivery accountability!
We associated with Arthur, not because we wanted to but I came to know from one of my reliable staff that had campaigned for Arthur (to get back his job) that we needed to “walk the talk” and do something for the man we had campaigned for. All Post workers then, can attest that things were really, really tough and rough.
Since Arthur was a victim of supporting Zambia, by standing for truth (He would advise, “Let’s just give him a chance. He is still young. He will learn) and/but probably misclassified as an “Enemy of the State.” I think that knowing him was immaterial, but what he stood for. He was a true comrade in need, and a true comrade representing struggle, equity and justice, away from left-wing child infantile disorders (associated with many candidates).
Working with Arthur, and understanding that he was only human, was therefore a natural fit. Please take time and read Proverbs 19 – the day we buried him. So before you unleash your venom on whomever, think of the anguish, agony and pain you may inflict on other innocent souls. (By the way; this observation does not include legal and legitimate sanctions! It addresses inequity and agitation) As a general proposition, standing for truth has its own consequences. On the whole, the truth shall set you free. This does not mean and has never meant that by telling and standing for truth, one chooses a life of hardship. No and Never! I do not think that the world would be a happy place if Journalists (not fake news peddlers or propagandists) and business, all chose to bend the truth and cheat. You see, Journalists, in more ways than one, make the world move. Can you imagine what the world would be if Journalists moved the world on fake news? As a hint, you can tell a professional from a bogus one when both are put on a scale of “truth and honest.”
Then you get this relatively recent “composition” of independent media. Independent from what and whom? (Long and intense debate). Is this not a fiction of a fertile mind or a convenient option for twisting the truth?
What is gained in bending, and twisting news? (I am still waiting for someone to own up regarding the purported sale of Zambian State companies to the Chinese government)
Telling the truth and standing for the truth is important because, if you are a believer, in the WORD, or Holy Bible, it commands us to tell no lies but truth.
Zambia is a Christian Nation. As a Christian Nation, we are expected to live a life that reflects what our Lord Jesus Christ preached. A preface to the book of Ecclesiastes notes “Empty, futile, hollow, nothing – the words have a ring of disappointment and disillusionment.
Yet, this is the life experience of many. Grasping the sweet things – possessions, experience, power and pleasure – they find nothing inside. Life is empty, meaningless – and they sink into despair”(NLT-SB)
Super Ken, (President Kaunda) would say, Love your neighbour as you love yourself.
The legal battlefield is implanted with the Neighbour Principle. Who is your neighbour? We have the powerful characteristic of the “Duty of Care.” What duty of care do you have as a citizen, as a professional and/or decision maker? Any serious official is seized with a duty of care towards the next person. As for Constitutional Office holders, their duty of care extends to dealing with all and sundry, with little emphasis or reference to the fine print(s) of description.
As a consequence therefore, once issues of corruption, bribery and subversion find their way through systems that actualise fairness, justice and equity, then we have a serious societal problem. Destroying institutions/Systems!
Those citizens who have not adulterated their conscientiousness, will stand up and do nothing but the right thing. If however, you elect to kill or butcher your conscientiousness, unfairness will be like drinking water or your favourite drink.
Dishonest conduct and lying, will be part of your new culture and lingua franca. Do not forget that nothing but change, is permanent and therefore a factor of our existence, irrespective of one’s standing in society. Ultimately, we come to the inescapable conclusion that all that happens in our land, requires the presence and support of governmental institutions and systems. The core of our existence as a country, is operated by government systems, managed by our Civil Servants.
Evolution of societies will clearly show, how the government machinery has overtime hived off some of its functions to quasi-governmental bodies and the private sector, for effective and better service delivery. It is the government machinery at play. (Just look at how Anglo American and the Roan Select Trust, cooperated with the colonial government, to build Kariba Dam).
So, without doubt, the dawn of forgery, or mwembeshi (exam cheating) poses a major threat to our institutions. There are some citizens who have elected to go the forgery or mwembeshi way, in order to get a job in some of these institutions.
This is one of the truths we talk about. Respected as it is, the profession of Journalism and many others, including Engineering, Law and Medicine, have been invaded by all manner of quacks.
There are many people in key positions with no sound and relevant professional backgrounds, who in my view, have contributed to disseminating fake news and complicating governance.
It is the refusal to respect professionalism and merit that promotes anarchy. Do not go far. Look at what happens, when politicians, call for a Press conference/briefing: Journalists have to “fight” for space, while supporters take centre stage.
This is how some “smart” pedestrians or those with likable faces or good voices, have found themselves in the mainstream media. Result: disaster! There is a cure though. Just go for training! School never ends.
These are issues of self-regulation in the media, which should be addressed squarely, without waiting for outside interference. No matter how you look and justify intrusion, it becomes interference, which is an anti-climax! I will take a small bite to briefly propound on struggle, equity and justice.
You see, in life, struggle, is inevitable. In life you must have a goal that you aspire for. It is an ideal. You must follow that ideal till the end – as our iconic Nelson Mandela did, together with other freedom fighters.
To know your own self and your purpose in life, is also a struggle. So, when you find a purpose in life, struggling to achieve that purpose, is a real struggle. (No offence, can visit a purpose, because we are guided by the rule of law).
Zambia needs to broaden and widen its financial management. It is a “struggle” that is worth all the effort, because it addresses wasteful expenditure, financial leakages, development challenges and the efficient running of government. Equity; is a fundamental aspect of fairness. For fairness to occupy its central role in a civilised society, even handedness is critical. This unfortunately, captures perceptions as well!
The Wikipedia simple definition of Justice refers to a concept on ethics and law wherein; people behave in a way that is fair, equal and balanced. Effectively, this puts us on a scale of integrity/equity, fairness and justice. I am not too sure that the various stakeholders, who include those wearing a sheep’s skin, would register a good score in as far as their participation in civic matters, is concerned.
This in my view is the crux of the matter. I have looked at all the four stanzas of our National Anthem and they are very relevant. I commend President Edgar Lungu for directing that all should sing the National Anthem in full. The National Anthem, as it were, captures the spirit of the freedom fighters and is a heritage of/to our Zambia.
As I end, let me state that violence and violent acts, are disguised prayers to the devil. It is an act of desperation. It offends civility, promotes stagnation and hurts our Nation.
See you next week.
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