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Editorial comment of Thursday 09/03/2017: Integrity

Professor Herman Manyora of Kenya says: “Generally speaking, if you are rich in this country you must be a thief. The environment in this country is such that you cannot make genuine money from a business. You cannot be a billionaire in this country unless you have stolen from the public. I remember sometime back, I remember there was a time when Nyachae was trying to explain to the people of Kenya how he became rich. He said he started with a Posho Mill. After that, he said he set up a bakery, a small bakery and…he was telling us that he was making bread…the long ones. Then I asked myself…you could make yourself…you could become a billionaire through making those long breads? Even if they are very long. Look here, the nature of business in this country, the amount of interest charged on loans, the procurement and tendering procedures in this country are such that anybody really who has made money, he would have made it from government and he would not have done genuine business. So, we are being ruled by a class of people who are basically thieves. We are hoping that one day…that one day, Kenyans will get a leadership that is true, a leadership of people who will work for the people. There isn’t a single government enterprise in this country that is people-centred, every enterprise we go into doesn’t have people anywhere in the configuration.”

Truly, we are being ruled by a class of people who are basically thieves. What pertains in Kenya is exactly what is going on in Zambia. People are making a lot of money for simply being in government or being associated with those in government. They are in government not to serve anyone but to enrich themselves. Look at how Edgar Lungu has become rich in the very short period he has been President! Look at how rich those around him have become in this same short period! What has made this possible? Why were they struggling financially and otherwise before getting into government? What are their salaries from government? Can one become that rich on those salaries? The answer is a categorical no. If they have not become rich as a result of their salaries, where has that wealth come from? It is from abuse of public office, bribes, corruption, stealing. Where else can that type of money come from? Gifts from well-wishers! Where were those well-wishers before they got into government? Why wasn’t Edgar a recipient of such huge cash gifts before he became President? These are not gifts; they are bribes. But bribes for what? They are bribes for government business. They are simply selling government business to the highest bidders. They are making money from selling the government’s fiscal policy. None of them can today be able to account for the wealth they have accumulated in this very short period from earned income. All they have is from unearned income. And unearned income is prima facie evidence of corruption.

It is said that the supreme quality for leadership is unquestionable integrity. How many of those in government today, including Edgar himself, can pass the integrity test? Without a leadership with integrity, no real success is possible for the nation in any area of human endeavour.

Forget about the lies, pretence; we are being governed by crooks who say one thing but do the opposite. And as Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Where does Edgar stand on this score?

Albert Einstein once said, “Whoever is careless in the truth in small matters cannot be trusted in important matters.” Edgar has been tested in small things and he has failed miserably. For many years, Edgar could not practice law because he had misappropriated his client’s money. And today, we have placed the whole national treasury, economy at his disposal and we expect him not to enrich himself! They say if you don’t stand for something, you fall for anything. There are many verses of the Bible that teach us about the need for and importance of integrity:

 

Proverbs 11:3: The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.
Proverbs 28:6: Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse.
1 Peter 3:16: Keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
Proverbs 12:22: The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
Proverbs 21:3: To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
2 Corinthians 8:21: For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.
John 14:6: Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Proverbs 4:25-27: Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
Hebrews 13:18: Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.
Luke 6:31: Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Psalm 41:11-12: I know that you are pleased with me, for my enemy does not triumph over me. Because of my integrity, you uphold me and set me in your presence forever.
Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.
Isaiah 26:7: The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.
All through scripture we can see the importance of integrity.

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