In this fight to take Zambia back and redefine our values, Zambians must be concerned about the morality of its appointed or elected office holders. We must be concerned that the legislature and the judiciary can sabotage the drive for change and the successful prosecution of those who shared Zambia’s money. As a pluralist society, that is steeped in religious divisions, ethnic considerations and get rich quick and at all cost mentality, one is better equipped with a skeptical impulse arising from the pervasive moral disagreement fed by lost values and underlying divisions.
Since the introduction of democratic multi-party governance in 1991, the appropriate set of moral standards governing the conduct of political behavior and respect for public treasury have been violated by powerful political interests in the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) and PF with two dedicated goals: winning elections and making illicit money. Of the last twenty five years, the Chiluba’s, Mwanawasa’s, Banda’s, Sata’s and Lungus’s years were the most fertile period for thieves and plunderers, with profound negative effects on political and public morality.
With revelations coming out every day to highlight the Copper Mines auctioning looting of Zambia that saw the economy crater, the major actors and the MMD and private citizens are still in denial over this corruption scandal. What moral justification do the vulgar thieves of Chiluba’s administration have, when they denied any role to moral factors of political corruption ? What right do they have after putting the entire country in a painful cul-de-sac?
Honestly, the scale, content and context of the money that was shared without recourse to how it affects the country confounds every rational mind. It raises serious doubts about our ability to evolve standards of decency that is capable of creating streams of progress that are the prerequisites for a nation state to develop. Undoubtedly, our political culture has been never really great. We are a compromised lot who are gifted at electing unregistered sex offenders, pedophiles, rogues, murderers, drug traffickers, wife batterers, and common thugs. One of the country’s worse affliction is the wild support and pathetic alignment of the robbed with the robbers. The robbed who have refused to see the immorality of their thieving sons and daughters.
One of the tragic narratives in a heist of this magnitude, the character being taken for a frightful ride by politicians. That character is you! That is us, all of us – the voters. What happened to our sense of right and wrong? What happened to the societal mores of honesty, good character, law and order, good governance, the need to elevate the collective good above individual greed, when, all we are confronted with every minute is the evil of self, the dishonest, the lawless and disorderly, wreckers of good governance, the corrupt and the greedy, mostly from MMD which had twenty unbroken years of national governance . What does this say about the political morality of a country when all that matters is stealing, unreasonable acquisition and more stealing? It is as though people have already decided to bankrupt this country, kill it and be its undertaker. They seem to have also deaden their conscience and embraced unreason.
When outright stealing, graft, bribery and corruption defines the ambition and political culture that drives people elected or appointed into office, we are in a deeper hole that previously thought. That is why Zambia has become a criminal enterprise where racketeers take their cuts, political parties organize nothing more than a charade, and the vast majority of the country is happily engaged in a monumental exercise of self-delusion of waiting for God to take control of governance, instead of changing their own destinies.
The Zambia legislature is a den of thieves and the judiciary are traders. The conservative American jurist, Antonin Scalia wrote that “in a democratic society, legislatures, not courts, are constituted to respond to the will and consequently the moral values of the people.” Unfortunately for Zambia, we have a morally dislocated legislature that does not recognize nor understand the primacy of their legislative role as a vehicle designed to confine the scope of judicial inquiry as narrowly as they could. We have a legislature that does not represent the will of the voter once elected. We have a legislature with a sense of entitlement and an eye to get more perks than work. Crooks and thugs.
In Zambia’s democracy, the court does not defer to the will of the people about the white collar crimes of the political elite or crimes involving the moneyed elite and influence peddlers. What Zambia has is a judiciary that does not police the boundaries between the power of government and the natural rights of the individual.
Unfortunately, we have a judiciary that sees corruption as a measure of contemporary values and one that is blessed with a deep-seated moral skepticism that is inconsistent with our traditional values, the constitution and liberal democratic values. The judicial process has become tainted with personal immorality without any regard for how our political values and the justice system should shape and define the institution and administration of justice. The moral dilemma within the judicial rank denies the possibility of objective judgment in the face of moral controversy.
When politicians stink up the country with seismic level stealing, when the legislature breathes the air of avarice and impunity, it breeds in the citizens the suspicion of the democratic legitimacy of an unelected judiciary, that is completely oblivious of deference and restraint in its role. Increasingly, the courts have embraced the crudest form of skepticism built on the denial of objective morality. We are seeing judges who rule without authority to the truth, judges who rule as if moral truth does not exist or is, unknowable or cannot be objectively justified. In Zambia’s democracy, the court does not defer to the will of the people about the white collar crimes of the political elite or crimes involving the moneyed elite and influence peddlers. What Zambia has is a judiciary that does not police the boundaries between the power of government and the natural rights of the individual.
The decadent justice system showcases Zambia’s poor morality and the persistence of moral diversity within the three tiers of government. The nation’s governed space is a testament to a general lack of consistency and a lack of truth. This testament, makes Zambia a joke and a sad spectacle for the black race.
There is a moral problem, if reasonable people cannot agree on what justice is, what stealing is and what punishment should be. When there is moral diversity, it is easy to deny an objective account of what is just and what is good. The tragedy of Zambia’s political morality is the most fearsome common multiple of the lack of convergence between moral truth and moral opinion among those entrusted with upholding the law.
By Honourable Brown C.K. Kapika
President for Adedo – Zamucano Political Party – Zambia
President for ‘Partij voor de Burgerlijke-en Mensenrechten’ Political Party – Netherlands